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Embedding climate change in agriculture

Team approach drives North East climate modelling tool development

In the North East a team approach between the North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA), the local agriculture industry and local government is driving the development of a predictive mapping tool for likely climate scenarios in the region.

Bench-marked against current climatic data, the climate modelling and predictive tool will assist landholders and local government prepare practical sustainable strategies for better land management.

The project Embedding climate change in agriculture is funded through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program (NLP).

In sharing the project with stakeholders, Project Manager, Lachlan Campbell, North East CMA noted that industry and local government involvement from the start of the project had been critical in ensuring that the project added value to the agriculture industries in North East Victoria, and local government.

"A team approach from the start has really helped lead and inform this project’, said Mr Campbell. "Our collaborative approach ensures that industry provides real-time data to the project, and the results are directly applicable to their businesses".

At a recent workshop in Beechworth, industry and government came together for the presentation of a range of climate change scenarios predicted by the modeling tool, including extreme heat, rainfall and evaporation that may impact the region in the near term, 2020 – 2050. Innovative technology in the form of web-based mapping was used to share insights with the audience.

Impacts on agriculture sectors including viticulture, cherry, chestnut, forestry, dairy, grazing and cropping industries, and local government were explored, including extremes in heat and cold which have the potential to significantly impact the productivity of the industries represented.

Lachlan Campbell, Project Manager, North East CMA, said "We saw in the workshop that really hot temperatures could potentially damage fruit, while a lack of cooler days at the appropriate time could have an impact on whether fruit could set.

"We also saw modelling on how yields for certain commodities could be impacted. This has obvious implications for the sustainability of the industry as a whole."

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Author: Katie Bowker
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