Australia’s agricultural sector will be able to better understand and manage short-term climate risks as well as build long-term resilience, thanks to a $19 million investment through Agricultural Innovation Australia Ltd (AIA).
Agri-Climate Outlooks is AIA’s first major initiative in the climate space. It is a four-year program with the Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) to improve and enhance seasonal outlook services provided to Australian farmers, fishers, and foresters (growers).
The Bureau has estimated the initiative could generate up to $68 million annually in potential value for agriculture.
AIA has facilitated the cross-sectoral investment into Agri-Climate Outlooks via a collaboration of eight of Australia’s Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs): Meat & Livestock Australia, Australian Eggs, Australian Wool Innovation, AgriFutures Australia, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, and Sugar Research Australia.
AIA CEO, Sam Brown, said the collaboration was ground-breaking because the RDCs were working together on a large-scale project with common goals to help growers and mixed-production enterprises mitigate the impacts of climate on their enterprises.
“Climate variability is proving to have a significant and devastating impact on agricultural and food production, as we have seen with recent floods, extreme weather events and subsequent food shortages and supply chain challenges,” Mr Brown said.
“AIA is passionate about taking a whole-of-sector approach to agricultural innovation and delivering value to investors – including the growers who invest in us via their RDCs.”
Agri-Climate Outlooks will develop decision-specific digital forecast tools and products tailored to specific commodities. The investment also supports improvements to Australia's dedicated weather forecast modelling system.
The Bureau's General Manager, Agriculture and Water Matthew Coulton said, “this initiative will involve deep engagement across the industry to identify high-impact weather- and climate-dependent decisions growers make, and then design fit-for-purpose products and services to support those decisions.
The Bureau of Meteorology will manage five Agri-Climate Outlooks workstreams, covering products, services, support and industry capability building. They are:
Establishment of a dedicated team of agri-climate specialists to provide relevant insights to support farmers, fishers and foresters (growers) with decision-making.
Upskilling and training for growers and their advisers to accurately interpret and utilise weather, climate and water products to inform agricultural decisions.
Development of easy to understand, decision-specific forecast products delivered via appropriate digital channels.
Development of methods to overlay skill on the Bureau's seasonal outlook products and promote the methods as best practice to other seasonal outlook service providers.
Improvements to Australia's high calibre sovereign seasonal forecasting, through improved accuracy of multi-week to seasonal forecasts. This will help ensure the future stability of the Australian agriculture sector and increase the potential magnitude of benefits delivered via Workstreams 1-4.
These workstreams strategically leverage previous investments made by RDCs and the Australian Government in improving climate and weather capabilities, including the Climate Services for Agriculture platform. Contact Sarah Castellanos Senior Marketing and Investor Relations Manager email@example.com 0429 988 174