LLS and BOM join forces to help farmers cope with the weather

The Bureau of Meteorology is keen to better engage with producers to provide more meaningful information.
The Bureau of Meteorology is keen to better engage with producers to provide more meaningful information.

Have you noticed how 'good rain' is always a week away, but lately never seems to eventuate?

Local Land Services is bringing Bureau of Meteorology experts to Tenterfield to discuss the variability of Australian weather and climate, certainly one of the most challenging aspects in agriculture. It is often said that Australian farmers operate in one of the riskiest environments in the world.

The Northern Tablelands LLS three-hour workshop, held in conjunction with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology Agriculture Program, will focus on weather trends and forecasting with information on Tenterfield and surrounds.

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Sandy Hodgens from the LLS Sustainable Agriculture Team is confident the workshops will prove extremely beneficial on a number of levels.

"These workshops are designed to provide landholders the opportunity to make more informed decisions which will impact on the productivity of their enterprise," Sandy said.

The BOM's General Manager, Agriculture, Luke Shelley, will be the workshop's key presenter.

"I will be providing an overview of the products available on the bureau's website," he said.

"This will include understanding soil moisture in a regional context, how to access weather forecasting for your local area and how to better use this information."

Luke will be presenting local statistics specific to the region covering the past 30-60 years, including frost occurrences, analysis of temperatures and comparative statistics for rainfall.

"More broadly, I will also touch on the links between the facts and figures presented and climate change projections," he said.

"The aim of the workshops is to provide relevant information that will allow for better decision making and risk management in business. It is also about exploring what people need so that we can provide better support."

Luke will be encouraging input and feedback from participants. Extensive travel throughout northern NSW and Queensland in the past three months has provided him with the opportunity to gather valuable opinions and concerns.

"The feedback we have received is that people need information that is more relevant to their local area, in order to make better decisions for their business. This is a gap that we are looking to fill and are optimistic that we will be able to meet this need by partnering with Local Land Services.

"I have also understood that presenting averages, such as average rainfall or average changes, is not necessarily meaningful. We understand the need to improve the links back to the industries and producers who are making significant decisions for their livelihood."

Luke said he recognises that having the most accurate information to ensure these links are effective is even more important in the current climatic conditions, and believes that better preparation and understanding of the environment is vital.

"In this way, the focus of the workshops is also about building meaningful relationships and engaging with participants, with the opportunity to work more closely with them in order to support them."

The workshop is on Wednesday June 5 at the Tenterfield Golf Club from 7.30-10.30am. To register your interest contact Sandy Hodgens on 0428 744 287 or email sandy.hodgens@lls.nsw.gov.au.

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