I am an agricultural scientist with a passion for good communication and love of new technology. Over 20 years’ experience in making the technical accurate and accessible, in print or online.
When you’re dealing with an invasive pest, finding a rain-free window of opportunity for control can be difficult enough, but what if you needed a two-week window with enough lead time to organise a spray program for over 13,000 different properties in the western suburbs of Perth?
This was the challenge facing the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) eradication program.
After months of uncertainty, La Niña conditions have fully developed and settled across the Pacific Ocean. So, what exactly is La Niña, and what does it mean for farmers across Australia?
Technically, La Niña is the positive phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). It is associated with cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
THE CLIMATE KELPIE BLOG: Strict attention to moisture conservation drives grain production in the Wimmera
Victorian grain grower Tim Rethus describes his family as ‘moisture farmers’.
“Moisture is critical for us,” he says, “Rain dictates yield, so managing seasonal variability depends on being able to conserve every bit of moisture we get.”
While many of the tools and practices they’ve adopted are commonplace, it is their one hundred percent commitment to focusing on their strengths and doing what they do well that has made the difference to their business.
Matching the nutritional needs of your livestock to the annual pasture cycle is important, particularly in northern Australia where periods of feed deficiency can persist for extended periods.
Many cattle producers use the ‘green date’ to identify the start of the growing season and help time their cattle’s production cycles to match peak feed availability.
But for producers in areas with low rainfall or highly variable rainfall, the chance of achieving their green date can be less than relia...
Every week the Bureau of Meteorology releases updated climate outlooks for the weeks, fortnights, months and seasons ahead (Figure 1). The climate outlooks show the odds of the upcoming period being wetter or drier, and warmer or cooler, than usual.
These outlooks are different to weather forecasts. While weather forecasts can tell you what the temperature will be tomorrow and how much rain to expect, climate outlooks cannot be this specific. This is because the further we look ahead, the mor...
The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a global circulation system that can bring big rains to northern Australia during the wet season, but it doesn’t always deliver.
Essentially, it is a very large-scale wave in the atmosphere that can bring a ‘pulse’ of cloud and rain. It travels from west to east circling the globe near the equator every 30 to 60 days. This can lead to a major fluctuation in tropical weather on weekly to monthly timescales.
THE CLIMATE KELPIE BLOG: ‘You got to know when to hold ‘em’ – managing livestock in extended drought
When a season fails, the decision to maintain livestock or to sell can have a big impact on cash flow, but when one ‘tough’ season turns to two or more, the consequences can become far reaching.
This is one of the most significant challenges identified by industry reference groups from the Southern Red Meat and Dairy industries as part of a Forewarned is Forearmed project to help farmers identify and proactively manage extreme climate events.
The physical risks of a warming climate − such as drought, heatwaves, flood, fire and storms − are very much front of mind for agriculture.
But, in recent years, there has been a shift in the business world that means agricultural businesses now need to consider their climate-related financial and liability risks.
The increasing frequency of natural disasters has prompted large corporations to consider their exposure to climate-related risk. And while physical risks are important to the top e...
Adaptability is essential for any successful agricultural business, but the dairy industry has been through a particularly challenging period dealing with everything from drought and changing water availability, the supermarket milk-price wars and a shifting public attitude to animal production.
Gippsland dairy farmers, Pete Neaves and Kate Mirams along with their three teenage boys, are taking every opportunity they can to meet these challenges head on.
“We’re adapting our business to hotter...
In recent years, many regions in Southern Australia that traditionally rely on winter rainfall have experienced a decline in wet-season totals.
Heatwaves have also become more frequent, and not just in summer.
While big picture climate drivers, such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation, play an important role in individual seasons, a persistent trend in the behaviour of the subtropical ridge is behind these warmer and drier conditions.
High pressure system
The subtropical ridge is a belt of hi...
Optimising profitability and sustainability in a grazing business is challenging enough under the best of circumstances, but Australia’s variable climate adds another layer of complexity that can be difficult to manage.
Both day-to-day decisions and long-term strategies need to be balanced with the agility to respond to changing conditions and the seasonal outlook. Such decision making can really benefit from a full analysis of the potential opportunities and risks that may flow as seasonal c...
Editor GRDC GroundCover Supplement - Enabling Technologies, Issue 146, May-June2020 (16 pages)
Closing the yield gap, overcoming disease and breeding better varieties - every year GRDC invests in research to solve these and other challenges.
Research is based on collecting data and identifying the trends to provide solutions, but how much data is enough, and can it ever be too much to handle?
During a recent visit to Adelaide, Professor Omer Ozturk - a leading biometrician from the US - challenged Australian researchers to cut field-trial costs in half using an innovative sampling procedure.
The GRDC’s inaugural NVT Harvest Reports are now available.
These reports have been produced to provide the latest independent varietal information on yield, quality and disease ratings from the 2019 NVT program as soon as possible after release. There are 16 harvest reports from regions around Australia. The Harvest Reports are designed to complement the GRDC-supported state-based Sowing Guides which are published prior to harvest.
The reports contain the last five years of results for every...