Now, thanks to the new Climate Mates program, a group of graziers and beef industry leaders have a better understanding of seasonal forecasts to take back and share with their associated regions.
The part-time project officers, known as Climate Mates, spent last week at USQ Toowoomba being mentored by an experienced team of USQ climate risk management researchers and grazing industry extension officers.
The Climate Mates will now return to their local communities in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia, where they will share critical knowledge, engage directly with producers and offer climate information and forecasts specifically tailored to their region.
The initiative is part of the $8 million Northern Australia Climate Program (NACP), a partnership between the Queensland Government, Meat and Livestock Australia Donor Company and USQ, which is helping the grazing industry better manage drought and climate risks through a range of research, development and extension activities.
USQ Project Lead David Cobon said the climate service would assist producers to improve climate variability knowledge and build skills to help them manage in both the good and poor years.
“The idea is that the Climate Mates can go back to their regions and help producers make better decisions about managing climate variability,” he said.
“They will be crucial in driving engagement with producers and sharing their knowledge around climate risk variability and how to better understand seasonal forecasts specifically tailored to their region.
“Not only will they be liaising with local producers, but also testing new products and gathering feedback from producers and industry to inform further research and development.”
Megan Munchenberg, the Climate Mate for North West Queensland, has over eighteen years of experience working on remote cattle stations in the Gulf of Carpentaria and is passionate about ensuring the profitability, viability and sustainability of the northern beef industry.
“It’s very easy to be overwhelmed by what’s out there but if there is a simple way of condensing down the information and sharing it with regions, then it’s a start,” she said.
“If we can share advice on how to better understand seasonal forecasts and how to use them to improve business, then it can impact a range of decisions being made, such as those related to herd management and the associated pasture responses to seasonal conditions.”
The Climate Mates will share critical knowledge, engage directly with producers and offer climate information and forecasts specifically tailored to their region.