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Unlocking the key to weather trends and forecasting

The variability of Australian weather and climate is 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.

Northern Tablelands Local Land Services, in conjunction with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology Agriculture Program, is set to host a series of workshops in early June, focussing on weather trends and forecasting.

The informative three-hour sessions, being delivered with funding through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, will include information about weather trends for Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Inverell, Guyra and Walcha, as well as the immediate outlying regions of these geographical centres.

Sandy Hodgens from the Sustainable Agriculture Team, Northern Tablelands LLS, is confident that 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,” said Sandy.

General Manager, Agriculture, Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), Luke Shelley, will be the workshop’s key presenter.

“I will be providing an overview of the products available on the Bureau’s website.  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,” said Luke.

Importantly, 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.  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”, he said.

An important element of the workshops is the input and feedback that Luke will be encouraging from participants. Extensive travel throughout northern NSW and QLD in the past three months has provided Luke 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.

“The Bureau of Meteorology is looking to build a partnership with Local Land Services in order to support and facilitate the work they do in helping communities.

“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,” explained Luke.

Luke 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,” he said.

For further information about the Weather Trends and Forecasting Workshops, or to register your interest, contact Sandy Hodgens on 0428 744 287.

Media contact: Annabelle Monie 0429 626 326