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.
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...
Improving water use efficiency was the main driver in the shift to controlled-traffic farming (CTF) for the Hill family from Holt Rock, Western Australia.
The family established their permanent nine-metre tramlines with 3m wheel-track spacing in 2007.
When Lloyd Burrell watched heavy rain flooding down his controlled-traffic tramlines three years ago, he knew something had to change.
Lloyd and his wife Cheryl had seen erosion before on their Mount Madden property in Western Australia's eastern wheatbelt, but the tramlines had made it much worse.
GRDC's GroundCover™ 'Controlled-traffic farming' Supplement has hit mailboxes and contains wide-ranging tips and tools for using these systems
To reduce the risk of erosion, Western Australian grower Lloyd Burrell now renovates his wheel tracks every three years or so - depending on how long it takes the soil to compact. He is one of the growers featured in GRDC's GroundCover™ Supplement focused on controlled-traffic farming (CTF) for March-April 2020. PHOTO Natalie Lee
The uptake of controlled-traffic farming (CTF) has spread across Australia and - while it is still more common in Queensland and in high-rainfall grain growing areas...
THE CLIMATE KELPIE BLOG: SAM goes up, SAM goes down— southern Australia’s climate gets turned all around
While the climate drivers El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole are fast becoming household names, the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is lesser-known, but can still have a substantial, short-term impacts on southern Australia’s climate.
“From late October to late December 2019, a negative SAM contributed to the lack of rainfall over parts of eastern Australia and the higher than average temperatures in the south and east” said Jonathan Pollock, Climatologist at the Bure...
When farmers get together, you can guarantee the conversation will turn to rainfall at some stage.
Rain is probably the most important factor in agricultural production, so understanding how particular climate drivers, such as El Niño or the Indian Ocean Dipole, impact on local seasons can help farmers to make more informed decisions to manage climate risk.
Now there’s a new tool that allows farmers to quickly visualise the impact of these climate drivers on local rainfall and plan for what m...
THE CLIMATE KELPIE BLOG: Another dry monsoon prompts research into changing summer rainfall patterns
Summer cropping and other farming businesses that rely on summer rainfall have been left pondering the return of once-reliable wet-season storms after several extremely hot and dry monsoon seasons throughout the mid-latitudes.
The Cotton Research and Development Corporation, through its participation with the Managing Climate Variability (MCV) program has been instrumental in the design and commissioning of a CSIRO study to investigate what’s changed in recent years and what’s driving summer-...
Susan Carn has made it her business to understand the climate drivers that impact on her family’s sheep grazing business based around their home at Quorn in the Flinders Ranges. So much so, that for a while she was on the speaking circuit helping other farmers to learn more about this complex challenge.
The family manage about 12,000 hectares around Quorn, the Horseshoe Range, the Willochra Plain and north towards Hawker. They have intentionally sought to spread their business over a broad ge...