Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

Climate mates helping Northern Australian grazing industry

A new program aims to improve seasonal climate forecasting to producers across Northern Australia.

The Northern Australia Climate Program (NACP) is providing climate knowledge and information to help producers better manage climate associated risks.

An initiative of the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), the Program is funded by Meat and Livestock Australia, the Queensland Government, and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ).

Rangelands NRM is one of eight partners across Northern Australia hosting a ‘Climate Mate’.

A newly-appointed Rangelands NRM Project Officer will take on the role of one of the Climate Mates.

The Kimberley Project Officer, with on-ground support coming from the Northern Territory (NT DPIR) and Western Australia (DAFWA) will work with producers in the West Kimberley and the Pilbara to engage with producers at an individual level.

“This will improve knowledge on climate variability and better understand seasonal forecasts especially tailored to the West Kimberley and Pilbara regions,” Rangelands NRM MERI and Project Manager Kira Andrews said.

The Climate Mates will be mentored and assisted by an experienced team of climate risk management researchers from the USQ and grazing industry extension officers.

This will help them develop and deliver a climate service based on the main climate drivers in their region.

“The NACP will improve multi-week, seasonal and longer-term climate forecasting and develop tools and information systems and provide support to use these forecasts,” Kira said.

“The practical management options delivered by the project will help producers build resilience and increase business productivity, leading to more profitable and sustainable grazing businesses.”

The Climate Mate will be bringing messages such as the latest Bureau of Metrology (BOM) outlook to producers to help them make production decisions based on best available climate predictions.

“For example, BOM has just released their Climate Outlook for Dec 2018–February 2019 and are expecting ‘rainfall to be below average across much of northern Australia; strongest likelihood in the northwest with warmer than average days and nights’,” Kira said.

“Translated into producer speak, pastoralists should start preparing for a late, dry wet and its implications on join dates and supplements.”

For more information please access the BOM website or call the Rangelands NRM Kimberley Office (08 9192 5507) and they would be happy to help find answers to your climate questions.