Championing climate management

25 November 2016

Twenty agricultural enterprise operators from around Australia, representing most major agricultural commodities, currently take part in the Climate Champion program. This program is part of the broader Managing Climate Variability (MCV) program.

The Climate Champions have opportunities to:

  • talk with researchers about the tools and information they need to help them manage climate risk
  • trial early research products and practices, and possibly influence the research
  • influence how research findings are communicated to producers
  • help producers in their region and industry learn how to deal with the variable and changing climate.

Here we talk to MLA-funded Climate Champion and beef producer Gillian Sanbrook, 'Bibbaringa', Wymah Valley, NSW, about her approach to managing climate risk in her enterprise.

What have you learnt from being a Climate Champion?

I have learnt a lot about weather forecasting in Australia and correlations between Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology forecasting and other international forecasts. I also learnt there is a lot of innovation in the farming community to adapt to climate variability. At the same time, there are still a lot of landholders living in hope of rain and ‘normal’ climatic conditions returning.

What is the one tip/tool you would like to share with fellow producers?

Use forecasting in your decision making and to act quickly. Sometimes you make a bad call but at least you have a plan. Farming is a high risk business and any tools that can reduce the financial, environmental and social risk are worthy of consideration. There are still a lot of livestock and crops being managed on hope. I think the tools are there to make a more calculated decision.

Try out these tools for yourself

  • MCV has supported the Water and The Land section on the BOM website, which provides a range of forecasting tools for agriculture
  • MCV also supported the CliMate app, which is a package of climate analysis tools designed for decision makers whose business relies on the weather
  • the monsoon forecasting service is another agricultural-focused tool, especially for northern producers.

What’s next?

MLA has taken on the role of running phase five of the MCV program. Program partners include MLA, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and Sugar Research Australia.

MCV has focused on delivering science and information for the agricultural industry, with feedback from producers through their industry groups, and via the Climate Champions program.

Getting involved

Producers can contribute to the MCV program by developing a community of practice to directly explain what their forecasting needs are to climate scientists and advisors. Contact Pru Cook E: pru.cook@bcg.org.au

Case studies and workshops designed to assist red meat producers manage the climate and weather are currently being developed as part of MCV program. Northern beef producers can contact David Cobon on E: david.cobon@usq.edu.au Southern beef and sheep producers can contact Rebecca Darbyshire E: rebecca.darbyshire@dpi.nsw.gov.au .

 

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