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 undertook research and forecast product development to deliver a state-of-the-art forecasting service for extreme climate events. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) delivered forecasts showing the likelihood of climate extremes on multi-week and seasonal timescales – beyond the traditional seven-day weather forecast. This project provided farmers with the first ever weeks to seasons ahead forecasts of extreme climate events.
The project work included research, product development and extension teams (representing a range of industries) collaborating directly with farmers and farm consultants, to interface the forecasts with agricultural decisions and develop risk management strategies to proactively prepare for these events, along with extending project outputs to farmers and advisors.
The FWFA project delivered direct value to farmers through improving the forecast of extremes (e.g. extreme high or low rainfall, heat, cold and frost) and equipping farmers with the information and tools to be forewarned and proactively prepared. It offered farmers 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) conducted research to deliver an extreme event risk management framework for the dairy and southern red-meat industries, achieved via a structured process of consultation with industry-specific reference groups, who:
The schematic below summarises the overall project structure. The UoM research delivery focused on Modules 3 and 4.
Click here for an overview of the five FWFA extremes forecast tools.
'Extension and Training' FWFA Work Package 4: the Agriculture Victoria team developed an eLearn with a focus on the Bureau's FWFA Climate Outlooks extreme forecast products. Access the eLearn through Agriculture Victoria's climate and weather courses here or directly here.
Click the following to download the associated .pdf document from the FWFA extension workshops held June 2023.
This project was supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 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) was responsible for the overall management of the project.