The earth's climate is constantly changing. Natural climate variability is a fact of life for Australian farmers. It can mean great differences in rainfall from one season to the next and differences in perceptions of 'normal rainfall' between generations.
Climate change will potentially impact specific agricultural industries in Australia and there are large regional differences in vulnerability.
Climate change threats
Some of the more broad-ranging threats include:
- Increased risks to productivity due to an increase in extreme events.
- Decline in pasture quality and growth.
- Reduced stream flow and quality of water supply across southern Australia.
- Some crop yields benefiting from warmer conditions and higher carbon dioxide levels but vulnerable to reduced rainfall.
- Greater exposure of stock and crops to heat-related stress and disease.
- Southern migration of some pests.
- Likely increase in the distribution and abundance of some exotic weeds.
MLA is assisting producers adapt to climate change and manage climate variability through research and development initiatives, as well the development of a range of practical resources, tools and fact sheets that explain the issue and help producers manage risks and new opportunities.
Agriculture will also be affected by greenhouse gas mitigation policies as governments respond to the threat of climate change. MLA is coordinating a national collaborative research program to develop practical options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while increasing productivity so that individual producers and the industry can meet the challenges of new climate change policies.
Climate Champion program
MLA supports the Climate Champion program, run as part of the Managing Climate Variability R&D Program to support and promote producer involvement in climate change management reserach and on-farm activities.
There are four MLA sponsored Climate Champions:
Tools for producers
Tools to assist livestock producers to adapt to the impacts of climate variability and climate change on production include:
The following information was produced as part of the communicating climate change project funded by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in collaboration with MLA, Land and Water Australia, the Bureau of Rural Sciences, the Bureau of Meteorology and Birchip Cropping Group.
Climate drivers and future climate
Climate change and water resources
Climate change and commodities
Additional fact sheets
Publications and papers