We will undertake case studies that demonstrate the value of seasonal forecasts by region and commodity (Project 1a) and determine the relative ‘power’ (usefulness) of the General Circulation Models (GCMs) by region, commodity and key decision point (Project 1b).

Project 1a—Case studies

The aim
The aim of the case studies is to identify the unrealised potential in current seasonal forecast information, and apply that information—in a structured and rigorous way—to farm business decision-making.

What it will deliver
The results of this work will equip farmers to translate imperfect information from climate forecasts into practical risk management, allowing losses to be reduced in poor seasons and gains to be made in good seasons.

The outputs of this project will include:

  1. an audit of existing knowledge (and knowledge gaps) relevant to defining the climate information needs of target agricultural sectors
  2. establishment of a ‘climate practitioners’ group
  3. a map of the full set of decision-making requirements relevant for seasonal climate forecasting information for industry sectors
  4. a framework that defines the value of seasonal forecasts by developing a saleable, transparent, consistently applied approach
  5. a series of case studies that will contribute information to Projects 1b, 2 and 3.

Project overview
Seasonal climate forecasts are underutilised in farm business management. Improving the communication, understanding and capacity to use seasonal climate forecasts will have immediate benefits in risk management and empower farmers to make better use of future advances from climate science.

Insufficient evidence about the value of climate forecasts has also long been considered to be a major factor limiting adoption in Australia and other countries. The focus of the case studies is to provide robust assessments of forecast value by looking at decision-making environments across a range of agricultural industries and locations. This project will integrate existing biophysical models for each industry with economic modelling to assess where, when and how climate forecasts offer value.

Project 1b—General Circulation Model (GCM) analysis

The aim
The analysis aims to identify the seasonal forecast models that are of most use (provide the greatest skill) to different industries in a given region at a particular time.

What it will deliver
The project will deliver:

  1. identified decision points for each of the targeted industries and the relative ‘power’ of each of the GCMs to provide relevant climate forecast information
  2. management guidelines on how to use the information generated, which will then inform Projects 1a and 2
  3. engagement with Project 3, to ensure the information needs of farmers are understood.

Project overview
There are presently a number of GCMs producing seasonal climate forecasts that farmers can access. However, there has been little work to identify which model produces the best forecast for a particular industry sector within a region at a particular time of the year. Drawing on the outputs of Project 1a, this project will focus on the spatial and temporal requirements of forecasts relevant to the target sectors and access the skill of GCMs to provide forecasts to meet these requirements.

Other projects within the Rural R&D For Profit program

Project 2: Using the forecast
Project 3: Enhancing the ACCESS-S forecasting model