[ASC-media] BETTER FORECASTING FOSTERS FARM RESILIENCE: Crop Doctor

BRENDON CANT brendon at iinet.net.au
Wed Sep 17 02:28:07 CEST 2008


      BETTER FORECASTING FOSTERS FARM RESILIENCE  17.09.08


With more than 40 per cent of Australia's wheat grown in WA, a state with
substantial seasonal variability, better seasonal forecasting in WA's
wheatbelt is the driver for a new three year research project.



The $2 million project will help growers make better management decisions by
predicting early, mid and late growing season rainfall, pasture growth and
crop yield.



Previous climate forecasts have been based on historical data and this
approach is likely to become less accurate as climate changes.



The project by CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Department of
Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) is part of the Grains Research and
Development Corporation (GRDC) supported collaborative program, Managing
Climate Variability.



According to project leader, Dr Senthold Asseng of CSIRO, forecasting tools
such as the Southern Oscillation Index work well in eastern Australia, but
global circulation models may offer better seasonal forecasting in WA.



The new approach uses computer simulated global circulation models and
incorporates changes caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases.



Seasonal forecasts will be separately analysed for WA's northern and
southern wheatbelt.



They will then look at a range of climate indicators, including, seasonal
rainfall, frost and heat stress.



Dr Asseng indicated decisions such as where and what to sow, size of
cropping area, amount of fertiliser and stocking strategies could be
improved due to seasonal forecasting.



One project aim is to provide longer lead time for decision making, so
growers will know as early as in February what's likely to occur from May
onwards.



If growers had an accurate climate forecast, it would improve on-farm
resilience and sustainability in the face of climate change and drought.

www.grdc.com.au

The Crop Doctor is GRDC Managing Director, Peter Reading, Tel 02 6166 4500
Further Information: Dr Senthold Asseng, Tel 08 9333 6615

GRDC REF: CDAugust083.doc/Blumenthal150809

Brendon Cant & Associates
Public Relations & Marketing
Suite 5
4 Gugeri St
Claremont WA 6010
Tel 08 9384 1122

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