The Northern Australia Climate Program (NACP), a partnership between the University of Southern Queensland, Queensland Government and Meat and Livestock Australia Donor Company, is tasked with communicating climate science and forecasts to the red meat industry across northern Australia.
Dr Chelsea Jarvis, a climatologist from the University’s Centre for Applied Climate Sciences, helped deliver a NACP workshop in Malanda recently that provided producers with more clarity on how to use climate forecasts to determine when it was likely – or not – to rain.
“One of the main recommendations from the workshop is to pay more attention to forecasts for dry conditions rather than wet conditions,” Dr Jarvis said.
“If you plan for dry conditions and it rains, you’re happy. However, if you plan for rain and don’t get it, you can end up with little pasture and too many cattle.
“Producers only have a limited amount of time to spend looking at forecasts, so learning which forecasts to prioritise can be a good solution.”
Workshop participant Anita Stoddart is a cattle producer with properties on the Tablelands and also near Croydon.
“We can have the best wet season ever, but if it stops raining in March you can have problems getting your cattle through to the following wet season,” she said.
“Learning about where to find and how to correctly interpret a seasonal forecast helps me know when I can expect the rains to stop.
“This not only can reduce my stress, but also improves my production outcomes.”
Millaa Millaa producer Brigitte Dale agreed.
“The event workshop helped me gain knowledge about weather and climate that I have always wanted to learn.”
The workshop also included presentations from Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Senior Beef Extension Officer Bernie English (based in Mareeba) and David Grant from the Bureau of Meteorology’s Extreme Weather Prediction team.
NACP provides free workshops and one-on-one talks for red meat producers in northern Australia. It will also be featured at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries booth at Beef Week 2021, held in Rockhampton from 3-8 May 2021.
To learn more, including details on NACP events or local climate and weather, visit NACP or contact Dr Chelsea Jarvis via Chelsea.Jarvis@usq.edu.au.
Dr Chelsea Jarvis speaks with Millaa Millaa producer Brigitte Dale at an NACP workshop in Malanda.