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Back to Research & Development

Climate variability


MLA invests in research and development (R&D) to help red meat producers and processing companies adapt and respond to Australia’s increasingly variable climate, while maintaining a productive and profitable industry

Climate is the single largest driver of production variability in agriculture and accounts almost two-thirds of annual global crop yield variability. With increasing seasonal variability, it is integral for producers to adapt management practices to reflect the climate.

Core activities 

Over two decades, the Managing Climate Variability Program (MCV) has been the lead R&D program in Australia for providing climate knowledge to primary producers and natural resource managers. MCV is a partnership of Grain Research and Development CorporationAgriFutures AustraliaSugar Research Australia and Cotton Research and Development Corporation and is currently managed by MLA.

The primary R&D investments into responding to climate variability include:

  • updating the seasonal forecasting model, ACCESS-S
  • improving the forecast of extreme climate events through the ‘Forewarned is forearmed: managing the impacts of extreme climate events’ project
  • maintaining Climate Dogs and CliMate apps and website to enhance producer decision making
  • exploring adaptation options that will raise profitability of farm systems under a range of climate challenges, including increasing profitability and resilience, minimising greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the risk of pests and diseases
  • economic modelling of different producer management options to identify the ‘best fit’ for individual enterprises
  • identifying grazing management and other related practices that assist beef enterprises in northern Australia build resilience and adapt to a changing and more variable climate
  • improving predictions of seasonal and multi-year forecasting, as well as working towards a better understanding of the economic value of forecasting in the grazing industry
  • evaluating climate risk management tools, knowledge and communication options for agriculture.

Benefits to industry

  • Equipping producers with the information and tools to be forewarned and proactively prepare for extreme and seasonal weather events helps decrease the impact of climate variability on productivity and profitability.
  • Investing in R&D that helps the red meat producers and processors respond to climate variability creates a sustainable, profitable industry with an enhanced capacity to adapt to changes in their working environment and improve resource management.