Australian farmers bring climate research to the paddock

Leading grain farmers are guiding climate researchers as part of Australia’s Climate Champion initiative.

Australian farmers bring climate research to the paddock
Farmer Simon Wallwork has worked with climate scientists on his farm. Credit: GRDC
They hope the results will help farmers to adapt to Australia’s increasingly challenging and variable climate.

Scientists supported by the Managing Climate Variability program asked the farmers about what they needed to know about climate in their areas—what forecasts and predictions would be most helpful and how they should be presented.

They have also worked with the farmers to:

  • prioritise five region-specific climate products for farmers based on 100 years of Bureau of Meteorology regional weather data (Dr Anthony Kiem);
  • find out how farmers like to access climate tools so they can be repackaged into easy-to-use internet- and smartphone-based applications (Dr David Freebairn); and
  • find out what types of rainfall, frost, spring heat, and temperature forecasting are most useful to farmers.

And the farmers have also been working with researchers on how to improve the resilience of grain growing in low rainfall areas.

“Working with scientists has given me a better understanding of how to make comparisons of different farming techniques in the field,” says Climate Champion farmer Simon Wallwork from Western Australia. “We try to take the science and convert it into practical farming applications.

“It’s really important that farmers provide feedback to scientists about the big ticket items that will make a difference. That’s why the initiative has been so good; our access to the science and the ability to provide feedback—it’s a perfect situation,” he says.

Photo: Farmer Simon Wallwork is turning climate science into practical applications.
Credit: GRDC

Grains Research & Development Corporation, Kylie Paulsen, K.Paulsen@grdc.com.au, http://bit.ly/nBMnPD; www.grdc.com.au