On-farm climate support

30 August 2018

Producers across northern Australia will be supported to better manage climate risk and improve business resilience with the new Climate Mates service.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development Mark Furner said Climate Mates were part-time project officers delivering new and improved climate information and forecasts focusing on pastoral and risk management across Queensland, Northern Territory and WA.

“The devastating impacts of this current drought show the importance of improving climate forecasts so that we can better predict, prepare for, and be resilient in the face of climate impacts when they hit,” the Minister said.

“A better understanding of climate variability helps build resilience during drought and other climate change events.”

Mark said the Climate Mates would be mentored by an experienced team of climate risk management researchers from the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) and grazing industry extension officers to help them develop and deliver a climate service based on the main climate drivers in their region.

“Climate Mates will be based in central Queensland, north Queensland, south-west Queensland, north-west Queensland, Barkly Tableland, and Victoria River/east Kimberley,” he said.

Northern Australian Climate Program

This program is part of the $8 million Northern Australian Climate Program (NACP), which helps the grazing industry better manage drought and climate risks through a range of research, development and extension activities.

NACP is a partnership between the Queensland Government, MLA Donor Company (MDC), and USQ, with extra on-ground support from the Northern Territory and Western Australian governments and Rangelands NRM.

“NACP is one of nine current projects under the $21M Drought and Climate Adaptation Program (DCAP) that brings together the best climate scientists, climate advisers, and cutting-edge researchers in the state, nationally and globally to help Queensland primary producers better manage drought and climate impacts,” the Minister said.

MLA R&D Program Manager Doug McNicholl said that the practical management options delivered by the NCAP project would help boost sustainability of grazing businesses in Northern Australia.

“Research within NACP includes attempting to improve seasonal forecasts, predictions of multi-year droughts and wet season onset, and quantifying the development of fast developing, or ‘flash’ droughts,” Doug said.

“Extension programs such as Climate Mates are critical to driving engagement with producers so that they can better understand how to use these new tools and also to provide feedback to MLA on areas for improvement.”

USQ Professor Roger Stone said the climate service would assist producers to improve climate variability knowledge and build skills to help them manage in both the good and poor years.

“Climate Mates are regionally located across northern Australia and will be able to engage directly with producers and offer climate information and forecasts specifically tailored to their region,” Roger said.

“The Climate Mates are an integral part of NACP, liaising with local producers, testing new products and also to gathering feedback from producers and industry to inform further research and development.”

Visit www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.

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