New investment to help growers manage climate variability risk

Agriculture Victoria seasonal risk agronomist Dale Grey (pictured) and his colleague Graeme Anderson are leading the GRDC’s new investment aimed at providing growers with information, tools and resources to enhance their understanding of seasonal climate forecasting. Photo: Agriculture Victoria

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is further supporting grain growers in the southern cropping region in their efforts to manage the risk to their profitability due to climate variability.

The GRDC has established a two-year investment aimed at providing growers with information, tools and resources to enhance their understanding of seasonal climate forecasting and therefore improve their ability to adapt their farming systems to lessen the economic impact of unfavourable climatic conditions.

GRDC Grower Relations Manager – South, Darren Arney, says the new investment, “Using seasonal forecast information and tools to manage risk and increase profitability in the Southern Region”, recognises the importance of year-to-year climate variability as a major source of risk to grower profitability in the southern region.

“This applied research, development and extension project aims to improve the way the grains industry in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania can communicate and use imperfect – though improving – seasonal climate forecast information,” Mr Arney says.

“The project will not be developing or issuing new seasonal climate forecasts, but packaging the latest available information for growers in the southern region.

“Many growers and their advisers are aware of seasonal climate forecasts but are unsure how to best use the information in decision making.

“We want to address this challenge by encouraging the most effective use and uptake of the latest climate information to improve profit and risk management for our grain growers.”

The investment comprises three main components:

  • Extending “The Break” suite of seasonal forecast communication products (originally established for Victoria only) to cover the entire GRDC southern region. This includes State-specific monthly information products;
  • Working closely with about 20 advisers from SA, Victoria and Tasmania through workshops to explore if and how seasonal climate forecasts can be better incorporated into the management of grain-growing enterprises;
  • A publication featuring case studies to assist southern region growers and advisers in the use of seasonal forecast information to better target crop inputs, manage risk and increase profitability.

The overall investment will be led by Graeme Anderson and Dale Grey from Agriculture Victoria, who will also lead the extension of the successful “The Break” suite of communication products, including electronic newsletters, YouTube videos and webinars.

Three winter climate update webinars were recently presented by seasonal risk agronomist Dale Grey. Mr Grey updated current climatic and soil moisture conditions and outlined the oceanic and atmospheric conditions affecting SA, Victoria and Tasmania. He also discussed the current predictions and model outputs for the coming months.

The workshops for advisers will be led and conducted by Peter Hayman from the SA Research and Development Institute, a division of Primary Industries and Regions SA, in conjunction with grower and consultant Barry Mudge, and Mark Stanley of Regional Connections.

Federation University will support the project with innovative web resources and seasonal forecast information that will be packaged specifically for growers in the GRDC southern region.

Source: GRDC

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