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Climate savvy grazing (Developing improved grazing and related practices to assist beef production enterprises across northern Australia to adapt to a changing and more variable climate)

Phelps, David (2014) Climate savvy grazing (Developing improved grazing and related practices to assist beef production enterprises across northern Australia to adapt to a changing and more variable climate). Project Report. Meat & Livestock Australia Limited.

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Abstract

There is uncertainty over the potential changes to rainfall across northern Australia under climate change. Since rainfall is a key driver of pasture growth, cattle numbers and the resulting animal productivity and beef business profitability, the ability to anticipate possible management strategies within such uncertainty is crucial. The Climate Savvy Grazing project used existing research, expert knowledge and computer modelling to explore the best-bet management strategies within best, median and worse-case future climate scenarios. All three scenarios indicated changes to the environment and resources upon which the grazing industry of northern Australia depends.
Well-adapted management strategies under a changing climate are very similar to best practice within current climatic conditions. Maintaining good land condition builds resource resilience, maximises opportunities under higher rainfall years and reduces the risk of degradation during drought and failed wet seasons. Matching stocking rate to the safe long-term carrying capacity of the land is essential; reducing stock numbers in response to poor seasons and conservatively increasing stock numbers in response to better seasons generally improves profitability and maintains land in good condition. Spelling over the summer growing season will improve land condition under a changing climate as it does under current conditions.
Six regions were included within the project. Of these, the Victoria River District in the Northern Territory, Gulf country of Queensland and the Kimberley region of Western Australia had projections of similar or higher than current rainfall and the potential for carrying capacity to increase. The Alice Springs, Maranoa-Balonne and Fitzroy regions had projections of generally drying conditions and the greatest risk of reduced pasture growth and carrying capacity.
Encouraging producers to consider and act on the risks, opportunities and management options inherent in climate change was a key goal of the project. More than 60,000 beef producers, advisors and stakeholders are now more aware of the management strategies which build resource resilience, and that resilience helps buffer against the effects of variable and changing climatic conditions. Over 700 producers have stated they have improved confidence, skills and knowledge to attempt new practices to build resilience. During the course of the project, more than 165 beef producers reported they have implemented changes to build resource and business resilience.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Business groups:Animal Science
Keywords:Final Report
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Animal culture > Cattle
Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Deposited On:11 Feb 2016 04:10
Last Modified:11 Feb 2016 04:10

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