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<p class=Econormal><b><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman";font-weight:bold'>Embargoed
until Wednesday March 4 2009, 11am<o:p></o:p></span></font></b></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>Farmers in many cropping
regions of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Australia</st1:country-region></st1:place>
are recognising </span></font><font face="Times New Roman"><span
style='font-family:"Times New Roman"'>the importance of forecasting to improve
decision-making for farming in the dry.<o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>And if these farmers can
survive the droughts experienced in the past decade using forecasting as one of
a suite of tools that improve the management of climate variability,
there&#8217;s hope for the future.<o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>These are the
conclusions being presented today at the ABARE Outlook conference in <st1:City
w:st="on">Canberra</st1:City> in the Farming in the Dry session, sponsored by <st1:place
w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Land</st1:City> <st1:State w:st="on">&amp;</st1:State>
 <st1:State w:st="on">Water</st1:State> <st1:country-region w:st="on">Australia</st1:country-region></st1:place>.
<o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>Speakers in the session
at 11.30am include farmer, Ian McClelland and South Australian Research and
Development Institute scientist, Dr Peter Hayman. Both have been involved with
the Managing Climate Variability program over the past decade.<o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>Managing Climate
Variability is investing heavily in improving monthly, seasonal, annual and
longer term forecasts based on a better understanding of what drives our
climate. <o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>Both Dr Hayman and Mr McClelland
believe farmers&#8217; resilience and adaptability to climate variability and
change depends on R&amp;D that will help farmers to better make decisions and
manage their risks. <o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>&#8220;Providing farmers
with more accurate and timely forecasts will be particularly important for
helping farmers to be more flexible in their approach to farming,&#8221; says
Dr Hayman.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>&#8220;Farmers need the
ability to better identify and analyse likely climate risks that will impact on
their costs and profits.&#8221;<o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>&#8220;Our research
success will mean the agricultural sector can make better decisions on dryland
production mixes and practices by linking their on-farm decisions to risk
analysis and predictions for key attributes such as plant-available water,
frost frequency, heat events and forage availability,&#8221; says Colin
Creighton, coordinator of Managing Climate Variability. <o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>&#8220;We&#8217;ve
experienced a sustained dry period over the last 12 years with our growing
season rainfall at 28 per cent below average,&#8221; says Ian McClelland, also
Chairman of the Birchip Cropping Group in north western <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State
 w:st="on">Victoria</st1:State></st1:place>. <o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>&#8220;But many of our
farmers have been able to respond to this unrelenting dry period by
implementing no till cropping, changing their enterprises from grain crops to
hay production, and by using conservation farming techniques.&#8221;<o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>Dr Hayman says that
while climate change projections for rainfall are less confident than they are
for temperature, there is a worrying consistency amongst the models for drying
in southern regions. <o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>&#8220;Although at times
it feels like we will never get a good season again, the most likely future is
to expect an increased ratio of poor seasons to good seasons. We need to have
farming systems that can cope with runs of dry seasons and respond to the less
frequent, but very important good seasons and do this in an environment of
higher input costs.&#8221; <o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>Managing Climate
Variability is a collaborative research and development program between the
Grains, Rural Industries and Sugar Research and Development Corporations, the
Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Dairy
Australia, Meat &amp; Livestock Australia and <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City
 w:st="on">Land</st1:City> <st1:State w:st="on">&amp;</st1:State> <st1:State
 w:st="on">Water</st1:State> <st1:country-region w:st="on">Australia</st1:country-region></st1:place>.<o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><b><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman";font-weight:bold'>For
interview:<o:p></o:p></span></font></b></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>Ian McClelland, phone:
0428 772 217&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; awmcclelland@bigpond.com<o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>Dr Peter Hayman, phone: </span></font><font
face="Times New Roman"><span style='font-family:"Times New Roman"'>08 83039424,
0401 996 448&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <a href="mailto:hayman.peter@saugov.sa.gov.au"><font
color=black><span style='color:windowtext;text-decoration:none'>hayman.peter@saugov.sa.gov.au</span></font></a><o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>Colin Creighton, phone:
0418 225 894&nbsp;&nbsp; colinmwnrm@bigpond.com<o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><b><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman";font-weight:bold'>Further
information:<o:p></o:p></span></font></b></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>Presentation abstract
from Ian McClelland: <a href="http://products.lwa.gov.au/products/pn22298">http://products.lwa.gov.au/products/pn22298</a><o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>Report by Peter Hayman
et al: <a href="http://www.sardi.sa.gov.au/climate/publications">http://www.sardi.sa.gov.au/climate/publications</a>
(report under recent project reports)<o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>Managing Climate
Variability R&amp;D Strategy: <a
href="http://products.lwa.gov.au/products/pn22281">http://products.lwa.gov.au/products/pn22281</a><o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=Econormal><b><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman";font-weight:bold'>For
media assistance:<o:p></o:p></span></font></b></p>

<p class=Econormal><font size=2 face="Times New Roman"><span lang=EN-AU
style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman"'>Jenni Metcalfe, phone
0408 551 866&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; jenni@econnect.com.au<o:p></o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></font></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Jenni Metcalfe</span></font><o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Director</span></font><o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Econnect Communication</span></font><o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><st1:address w:st="on"><st1:Street w:st="on"><font size=2
  face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial'>PO Box</span></font></st1:Street><font
 size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial'> 734</span></font></st1:address><o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><st1:place w:st="on"><font size=2 face=Arial><span
 style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial'>South Brisbane</span></font></st1:place><font
size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial'> Q 4101</span></font><o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Arial'>Ph. 07 3846 7111; 0408 551 866</span></font><o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><font size=2 face=Arial><span style='font-size:10.0pt;
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