What might the weather be like in 20, 40 or 60 years’ time, and what impacts might that have on pasture and livestock production, and thus on farm profitability?
The last decade was exceptionally dry, but what might happen to livestock production and profit if, over the next two decades, temperatures increase by 1 or 2°C, and rainfall decreases by 10 to 15 per cent as is forecast by some models?
Until now, these questions could not be tackled on a regional basis.
The majority of future climate predictions suggest that much of southern Australia will become more difficult to farm in the future, with potentially more droughts and higher temperatures. Australian farmers will need consistently better information on climatic conditions and the impact on plant and animal growth to enable them to successfully negotiate these challenges.
The Southern Livestock Adaptation 2030 (SLA2030) project brought researchers, extension experts and producers together to look at a range of future climate scenarios and the potential impact on farm productivity and profitability.
Given that farmers want to know what might happen in their own backyard, the project sought to refine the often broad-brush climate forecasts by examining the impacts at a local and farm enterprise level.
The project worked with producers in 46 regional locations across southern Australia. A similar number of locations were modelled in the research phase of the project
For ‘climate change’ to have direct relevance to farmers, forecast changes in rainfall and temperature need to be converted into answers (at a local level) for “what impact will it have on my pasture production; on my livestock production; on my profitability; and what can I do about it” (Phil Graham, NSW DPI).
The research looked at cattle and sheep enterprises at most locations.
- Examine what has happened in the past, and what might happen in the future at specific locations across southern Australia
- View research findings
- Download the SLA2030 Project Summary
Other useful web sites
- Bureau of Meteorology agriculture and natural resource management – BoM’s main site for agriculture and climate
- Primary Industries Climate Challenge Centre – provides a summary of the University of Melbourne and TIA research program in SLA2030
- DAFF’s Climate Change Research Program – provides an overview of DAFF’s Climate Change Research Program (CCRP) of which SLA2030 was one project
- Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries (CCRSPI) – the Australian primary industries climate change research strategy
- Managing Climate Variability – practical tools to incorporate climate information into farm business decisions
- CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship – provides an overview of CSIRO’s climate change flagship, especially adaptation in agriculture
- Climate Kelpie – site for Australian farmers and their advisors – tools and information about climate to help decision making