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.

Videos and webinars

Access to videos and webinar recordings featuring PICCC projects, researchers, partners and staff are via the links below.

The Forewarned is Forearmed (FWFA) 2020 Project Webinar Series

Forewarned is forearmed: Project update, CoP, extension and partner panel.

Kate Finger (BCG), Dale Grey and Graeme Anderson (AgVic) and Russell Pattinson (National Coordinator FWFA) provide an overview of the project's Work Package 4 activities: CoP and extension with an update of the overall FWFA project from Russell Pattinson. Following the short presentations, the Q&A panel includes discussion with FWFA Partners from Work Packages 1&2, Dr's Debbie Hudson and Harry Hendon (BoM) and Work Package 3, Dr Peter Hayman (SARDI) and Prof Richard Eckard (UoM) in this live webinar recording of 10/12/2020.

Managing extreme events in the southern Australian grazing industries.

Richard Eckard, Professor of Livestock Systems and Director of the Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre, University of Melbourne explores case study work undertaken as part of the FWFA project to consider industry reference group identified extreme event scenarios in a southern grazing system in this live webinar recording of 20/10/2020.

Understanding forecasts and on-farm management of climate and variability.

Graeme Anderson, Climate Specialist, Agriculture Victoria shares insights from his multiple engagements (via FWFA and related projects) with rural communities along the modern forecast output spectrum on understanding weather forecasts, seasonal outlooks & climate change projections in this live webinar recording of 23/9/2020.

Climate risk in the grains and wine grape industry – frameworks to support the discussion between climate science and growers?

Dr Peter Hayman Principal Scientist, Climate Applications, South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), leader of FWFA Work Package 3 Grains and Wine Grapes industries project component and Barry Mudge, farmer and private consultant from Port Germein, SA, give an overview of Decision Analysis frameworks linking improvements in forecasts to on-farm decision making. Barry Mudge provides examples of his own decision making on a grain farm and Peter Hayman discusses a crop protection example from viticulture in this live webinar recording of 20/8/2020.

Past rainfall changes over Australia and implications for agriculture

Dr Katharina Waha, Senior Research Scientist at CSIRO, leader of the MCV funded research project presents findings on past and future rainfall changes over Australia and implications for agriculture in this live webinar recording of 28/7/2020.

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.

Forewarned is Forearmed Project - Forecasting - 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.