Forewarned is Forearmed (FWFA)
Equipping farmers and agricultural value chains to proactively manage the impacts of extreme climate events


Australian farmers and agribusiness operate in one of the most variable climates of any country in the world, with extreme events and climate variability the largest drivers of fluctuations in annual agricultural income and production.

This five year (2017-2022) national project will undertake research and forecast product development to deliver a state-of-the-art forecasting service for extreme climate events. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) will conduct research to deliver forecasts of the likelihood of climate extremes on multi-week and seasonal timescales – beyond the traditional seven-day weather forecast. It will provide farmers with the first ever forecasts of extreme climate events weeks to seasons ahead.

Project outline

The project will include research, product development and extension teams, representing a range of industries, working directly with farmers and farm consultants, to interface the forecasts with agricultural decisions, develop risk management strategies to proactively prepare for these events, as well as extending project outputs to farmers and advisors.

This project will deliver direct value to farmers through improving the forecast of extremes (e.g. extreme high or low rainfall, heat, cold and frost) equipping farmers with the information and tools to be forewarned and proactively prepared. It will provide farmers with the first ever forecasts of extreme climate events weeks to seasons ahead, with the aim of decreasing their impacts on farm and industry profit.

The University of Melbourne (UOM) will conduct research to deliver an extreme event risk management framework for the dairy and southern red-meat industries. This will be achieved through a structured process of consultation with an industry-specific reference group, who will:

    a) identify the extreme event risks of consequence to their industry,
    b) identify a number of appropriate response scenarios to each identified extreme event and
    c) provide feedback to the BOM on the products produced.
The response scenarios will be subject to whole farm biophysical and economic analysis before incorporation into a final risk management framework for each industry.

The schematic below summarises the full project structure. The UOM research delivery is focused on Modules 3 and 4.

FWFA Webinar Series

Overview of the Managing Climate Variability R&D Program and Extreme Events Forecasting

Doug McNicholl, Sustainability Manager from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) provides an overview of the long-standing cross-sectoral MCV Program and introduces the Forewarned is Forearmed (FWFA) Rural R&D for Profit Project in this live webinar recording of 25/6/2020.


FWFA Project Work Packages 1 and 2 -The Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Drs Debbie Hudson and Harry Hendon from the Bureau of Meteorology update progress across Work Packages 1-User needs and forecast development and 2-Extreme forecasts development and delivery in this live webinar recording of 17/2/2020.

Related resources

BoM FWFA Project page
Heat stress impacts and responses in livestock production Meyer, R.S., Graham, A-M, Eckard R.J. (2018) Heat stress impacts and responses in livestock production. Reducing Heat Stress, AGBU Breeding Focus 2018 (Chapter 4).
Heat Stress and Milk Production: a literature review and analysis of eastern Australian Data Webinar AgVIc (DJPR) Use password to access: Heatstress19.
Impacts of heatwaves on dairy production Meyer, R.S.- Current work
Impacts of heatwaves on pastures Meyer, R.S.- Current work

This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program in partnership with rural Research and Development Corporations, commercial companies, state departments and universities. Meat &Livestock Australia (MLA) is responsible for the overall management of the project.