Strategic Partnerships

Northern Australia Climate Program

Integrating and embedding climate forecast information into Northern Australia grazing industry networks to improve producer resilience to drought and climate variability.

The project will focus on improving the knowledge and skills of producers across the grazing industry to support proactive management of climate variability which minimises exposure to environmental, profitability and productivity losses due to drought or drier than normal wet seasons, and maximises opportunities presented in above average seasons.

Providing a climate program that is enabled by a vertically integrated institutional arrangement providing interaction between leading climate scientists, climate forecasters, climate applications specialists, climate advisers, extension and adoption practitioners, producers and policy makers will enable a transition from simply providing climate information (currently in place) to providing a climate service. This is expected to significantly improve understanding, trust and use of climate information in decision making. Local advisers and extension and adoption practitioners, will be trained and supported by the climate experts, and industry consultation identifying the need for regionally relevant and specific products will be fed back to USQ, BoM and UKMO. This will give producers, advisers and extension and adoption practitioners, an effective voice in the design, production, and evaluation of climate products and services. These products and climate services will be delivered at a local scale to be relevant to on-property decision-making. Case studies with producers, which will include changes in productivity and profitability, will foster dialogue and bring together climate and agricultural expertise. These could include post-drought assessments, innovative management for reducing drought vulnerability, use of critical indicators and triggers for drought planning and the use of forecasts in better decision making. The highly regarded managing for climate variability (MCV) workshops can effectively be run as a follow up to, or in conjunction with, Grazing BMP, Business Mentoring and GLM EDGE and also be incorporated, where appropriate, into PGS coaching groups. The one day MCV workshop gives participants the skills to complete their own forecasts which can assist in management practices such as pasture budgeting. The face-to-face dialogue between producers, advisers, extension and adoption practitioners and climate experts is an effective way to communicate historic and predicted seasonal climate information and the more technical, and often poorly understood, terms such as probabilities.