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A participatory whole farm modelling approach to understand impacts and increase preparedness to climate change in Australia

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Rodriguez, D., Cox, H., deVoil, P. and Power, B. (2013) A participatory whole farm modelling approach to understand impacts and increase preparedness to climate change in Australia. Agricultural Systems . ISSN 0308-521X

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2013.04.003

Publisher URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X13000516


This study presents the use of a whole farm model in a participatory modelling research approach to examine the sensitivity of four contrasting case study farms to a likely climate change scenario. The newly generated information was used to support discussions with the participating farmers in the search for options to design more profitable and sustainable farming systems in Queensland Australia. The four case studies contrasted in key systems characteristics: opportunism in decision making, i.e. flexible versus rigid crop rotations; function, i.e. production of livestock or crops; and level of intensification, i.e. dryland versus irrigated agriculture. Tested tactical and strategic changes under a baseline and climate change scenario (CCS) involved changes in the allocation of land between cropping and grazing enterprises, alternative allocations of limited irrigation water across cropping enterprises, and different management rules for planting wheat and sorghum in rainfed cropping. The results show that expected impacts from a likely climate change scenario were evident in the following increasing order: the irrigated cropping farm case study, the cropping and grazing farm, the more opportunistic rainfed cropping farm and the least opportunistic rainfed cropping farm. We concluded that in most cases the participating farmers were operating close to the efficiency frontier (i.e. in the relationship between profits and risks). This indicated that options to adapt to climate change might need to evolve from investments in the development of more innovative cropping and grazing systems and/or transformational changes on existing farming systems. We expect that even though assimilating expected changes in climate seems to be rather intangible and premature for these farmers, as innovations are developed, adaptation is likely to follow quickly. The multiple interactions among farm management components in complex and dynamic farm businesses operating in a variable and changing climate, make the use of whole farm participatory modelling approaches valuable tools to quantify benefits and trade-offs from alternative farming systems designs in the search for improved profitability and resilience.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Keywords:APSIM APSFarm Economics Efficiency frontiers Participatory modelling
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Special aspects of agriculture as a whole > Sustainable agriculture
Live Archive:17 Sep 2013 02:22
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:49

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