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USQ research helping ensure Australian farmers can better manage extreme weather events

Man standing outside
USQ researcher and seasonal climate science expert Professor Roger Stone is leading a project that will equip farmers and agribusiness to proactively manage extreme climatic events.
Better forecasting for farmers and agribusiness will be a reality thanks to seasonal climate research being undertaken at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ).

USQ researchers are conducting a project to help farmers and agribusiness better prepare for extreme seasonal climate events and to increase productivity and profits, through proactive management practices.

Lead USQ researcher and seasonal climate science expert Professor Roger Stone said the project would equip farmers and agribusiness to proactively manage extreme climatic events.

“Seasonal climate forecasting, three to six months ahead, can already provide reasonable capability in warning farmers and agribusiness of above or below normal rainfall,” Professor Stone said.

“However, it is the extremes of seasonal climate, such as severe droughts and poor rainfall, or severe flooding and excess rainfall - especially if over-protracted time scales - that cause major hardship and loss of income to farmers and agribusiness.

“These are the patterns that will now be the focus of enhanced research and development activity than has not been the case in the past.”

USQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) Professor Mark Harvey said the work being conducted by Dr Stone and his team would help farmers and agribusiness understand how to use seasonal-forecasts of extreme climate events.

“Our climate is so variable and plays such an integral role in the farming industry, so to give farmers the tools to help assist with management practices and better preparing for extreme weather events, will prove tremendously beneficial in increasing returns and profits,” Professor Harvey said.

The project, in partnership with the Bureau of Meteorology, the University of Melbourne, state governments, other agribusiness agencies, and the Birchip Cropping Group, will work directly with farmers, agribusiness, and farm consultants to develop risk management plans for each industry.

It will be managed by Meat & Livestock Australia through $6.2 million of funding from the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, as part of its Rural Research & Development for Profit program.