Determining critical farm management decision points to improve agro- meteorology research and extension; an example of utilisation of seasonal climate forecasts in farm decision making

Michael C. Cashen, Rebecca Darbyshire

NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Research Institute, Wagga Wagga, Australia

Abstract

Australian farms are both exposed and sensitive to climate variability and change. There is a general perception that seasonal climate forecasts are currently underutilised in Australian farm business management, and that greater consideration of seasonal climate forecasts by the rural sector could help quantify potential risk and opportunity better to assist with more optimal resource allocation leading to greater profits. In the past, Australian farmers have been upskilled to increase their understanding of the climatic system, variability within this system and providing guidance in interpreting seasonal climate forecasts. This presumption may, unintentionally, restrict interpretation of the value of seasonal climate forecasts in experimental designs. A subtle, but meaningful, alternative is to provide prominence to decision frameworks of which seasonal climate forecasts is a potential contributor. Through the development of this methodology using a southern beef cattle case study, it is apparent that the number of key decisions points sensitive to seasonal climate forecasts are relatively few and the decision environment is complicated by a number of other drivers which have precedence over seasonal climate forecasts. This targeted and considered elicitation has provided key foundational information for biophysical and economical modelling, providing greater confidence the results of the valuing of seasonal climate forecasts will be more appropriately represented within the management decision environment

Host

The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography david_marland@hotmail.com Southern Farming Systems Agriculture Victoria

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