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4.2 Farmer Training

4.2.1 Climate workshops

Climate Training Workshops for Producers in NSW

A Climate Project under the Drought Regional Initiative Program in NSW commenced in April 1997 with its major objective of running climate training workshops for producers. During the first one and a half years of the project, 126 training workshops have been held in various regions of the State involving about 2000 participants, mainly NSW producers. The aim of the workshops is to train the growers i) to interpret the synoptic charts, cloud pictures and rainfall probability analysis, ii) to examine the outlook for the current season in the light of risks it poses and opportunities it offers, iii) to discuss management options and decisions for now and as the season unfolds, and iv) have an opportunity to raise issues that tie in climate and drought.

Climate application modules for use in training workshops have been developed in consultation with the Bureau of Meteorology. The modules provide information about basic weather systems and the advances that are occurring in weather forecasting, interpretation of different weather systems as they affect various agricultural systems in the State, and practical examples of how seasonal climate information can be used by the producers and other users.

Evaluation of the climate participants indicates that producers find the training very useful and that there is a significant need for further workshops. For further information contact Mr Paul Carberry, Climate Workshop Coordinator, New South Wales Agriculture, PO Box 116, Coonabarabran, NSW 2357; Ph: (02) 6842 1377; Fax: (02) 6842 2190; paul.carberry@agric.nsw.gov.au

A New South Wales Agriculture Climatology Advisory Unit is being established at the Tamworth Crop Improvement Centre to help the farming community better understand and manage the effect of climate on agricultural production. This Statewide service will work closely with experts in Queensland and other parts of Australia plus other NSW Agriculture research and extension staff.

Climate Training Workshops for Producers in Queensland

QCCA provides workshops for producers covering basic climate science, weather and seasonal climate forecasting. Advanced climate application workshops for industry are being developed and tested. Workshops are also being conducted to assess the benefits and value of seasonal forecasts in the grazing and water industries, as part of the Droughtplan and Streamflow projects (refer Compendium on current and recent research on drought in Australia). These workshops are based on the PMP formula, and are targeted to specific group needs to increase their level of drought-preparedness, self-reliance and long-term viability. For further information contact Mr Colin Paull, Queensland Centre for Climate Applications, 80 Meiers Road, Indooroopilly, Qld 4068; Ph: (07) 3896 9587; Fax: (07) 3896 9843; Colin.Paull@dnr.qld.gov.au

4.2.2 Publications, including videos, for farmers

Property Management Planning plays a major part in the efficient use of the land. Whole property management involves planning for all aspects of the entire property - land, vegetation, livestock and finances. It must be backed up with suitable information and guidelines on the management of each aspect.

QDPI have therefore published a series of Graziers' Guides (Ian Partridge of QCCA, Toowoomba) including Managing southern speargrass, Managing northern speargrass, Managing mitchell grass, Managing mulga grasslands, and Managing native pastures. More are in preparation. These guides focus on the management of the native pasture resource with particular attention to the avoidance of overgrazing. Strategies involving the use of seasonal forecasts for assessing stocking rates in the coming season, or for decisions on whether to burn grasslands in the spring, are discussed.

The Bureau of Meteorology produced a video (as part of a climate kit, including a workbook) entitled Farming a sunburnt country. The video and kit was commissioned by DPIE (now AFFA) and introduced the concept of El Niņo and decision making based on Australian climate patterns and seasonal forecasts. QDPI, in collaboration with the Bureau of Meteorology, also produced a booklet entitled Will it rain? by Ian Partridge which describes features of the Australia climate and El Niņo - rainfall relationships; it is distributed with the Australian Rainman software package, or purchased separately.

The South Australian Film Corporation, in collaboration with PISA, has produced a video entitled Making plans, an effective way to plan your property's future. This was aimed at encouraging producer involvement in PMP.

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