Transcript for new climate and water tools for Victorian farmers

Heather Field:

Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's webinar, which is on new climate and water tools for Victorian farmers. My name is Heather Field, and I'm a climate change service development officer with Agriculture Victoria. We'll be facilitating today's webinar. Before our presenters begin, just a few housekeeping items. This webinar is being recorded and will be made available after today. You are muted just to stop background noise. If you do have a question, please use the chat function, which is explained on your screen, and we'll make some time at the end of our presentation today for questions. We will have a quick survey following the webinar, and it'll take just a minute to complete. We greatly appreciate your assistance in completing that. Before we commence, I'd just like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands and water on which we are all meeting, and pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.

Heather Field:

I'm tuning in from Ballarat, which is the lands of the Towards people. I'd like to acknowledge all the lands on which everyone is tuning in from today. I'm very pleased today to welcome our presenters, all from Agriculture Victoria's climate team. We're here to share some of the new products and services we deliver to support farmer decision making in a changing climate. We've got Graeme Anderson, climate specialist, Nerissa Lovric, who's a land management extension officer, Jemma Pearl, who's a project officer in grains seasonal risk, and Dale Grey, who's a seasonal risk agronomist I also will be presenting briefly today First up, we've got Graeme Anderson. Graeme Anderson is well known to most of you joining today. He's a climate specialist with Agriculture Victoria and leads the climate team who deliver a range of climate and forecasting projects, [inaudible 00:05:37] focus on putting climate science and information in the hands of Victorian farmers. I'll change the slide and I'll hand over to you, Graeme.

Graeme Anderson:

Thank you, Heather, and welcome everyone today for this quick catch up of different products and tools which have been added to our service offering in the last 12 months. Just a bit of a chance, as you know, everyone's busy, and occasionally there's new products released. If you don't see it advertised, then today's just a bit of a chance to reflect what we've got on our website. Sorry, Heather.

Heather Field:

I'm just seeing if I can just change that slide. It's just not changing for me. There we go.

Graeme Anderson:

It's all right. Very good. Thank you. Yeah. Like all organizations, there's a lot of pages on our website, lots of great stuff, but we are just fine tuning today and sharing a few of the new products that have been added. Next slide. Thanks, Heather. Across Agriculture Victoria, there's a range of climate related programs that are being delivered. Today, we're featuring some of our dry land services, climate products, which some of you would've perhaps seen before, but there's also been a bunch of new ones just added in the last 12 months. It all fits in, because we've got a wider role of supporting all of our industries, and we pop up all over the state delivering climate presentations that are customized. Whether it's just on forecast, seasonal variability, soil, moisture probes, the broader climate webinar series that we have, there's been exciting developments of extra products like podcasts and e-learns, which we'll run through today.

Graeme Anderson:

Also, farmers will be able to see there's farm business resilience workshops, which are on offer across the state as part of the Future Drought Fund. We'd like to also thank all of the partnership projects we work with through the likes of industry RDCs, GRDC, the Bureau of Meteorology, the Southern Farming Systems, BCG, University of Melbourne, a lot of other partnership projects. Today is not covering all of the various climate projects we've got, but just some of the more recent one we've added. Thanks, Heather. If you head to our website, agriculture.vic.gov.au, what you'll see is right at the top tab, there is a climate and weather tab. To get to our climate products, that's the one to hit. Hit that button, and then suddenly you start to open up the whole range of different pages and products which we'll be showing today. Thanks, Heather.

Graeme Anderson:

One of them is the climate updates and newsletters and webinars. There's quite a few of these which are free to subscribe to, such as today's climate webinar series. We have them every month or two. They showcase some great work or research that's happening in climate related areas. Heather does a great job organizing that, but also you can see there's a bunch of other newsletters there, like The Break newsletter, Milking the Weather, the Soil Moisture Monitoring Pasture Probe work, the new podcasts are located there, and also the climate and weather courses. A lot of the products that you'll see today, there's a list available. You head in to the Ag Vic website, hit climate and weather, and then they're there in the climate updates newsletters and webinars.

Graeme Anderson:

Thanks, Heather. The Break, most of you would know The Break. Dale Gray's on today, does a great job of that. There's a number of different products. It's been going for 14, 15 years, well received. It's free to subscribe to, so you can just hit the button and make sure you add your email address there. It'll pop up and you'll get the monthly update. That has YouTube updates of seasonal conditions across Victoria. Plus also, one thing that's pretty important, Dale does a scan of 12 different global forecast models so that you can get bit of a broader perspective of how many of those global forecast models I think in the next three months might be a bit wetter or a bit dryer than average. So, it's good, free to subscribe to. Next one thanks, Heather.

Graeme Anderson:

Also, Dale Boyd, there's two Dales in the team, and Dale Boyd does the soil moisture monitoring. They're one meter deep soil moisture probes. There's been a bunch of them put across the cropping landscapes, and they tell a really valuable picture about what sort of moisture is sitting there under the surface. We've learned a lot about how moisture travels in and out of our soils. It might look green on top, but some seasons, sometimes, rain events haven't really penetrated any deeper than 40 or 50 centimeters, and other seasons, some are rainfall and things like that, have meant that we can start off with a full profile, and that's really valuable stuff. Grains farmers have done a great job really looking at that, because it really changes what moisture you've got to play with for the whole year.

Graeme Anderson:

But there's regular newsletters on that. Again, it's free to subscribe to, and you'll get monthly updates on those probes. There's also been some added into pasture situations as well. And the webinar series, you can just subscribe to that as well whenever you want to hear notification of what webinars are on, are coming, or also access to just the recorded ones. I know a lot of people are busy, can't watch it at the time, but if you subscribe, then at least those recordings will be sent so you can watch that at a time that's convenient. Thanks, Heather.

Graeme Anderson:

This one's just a new animation, which is really based around the most recent climate change projections for Victoria. It's just a little three minute summary of all that we know about Victoria's climate and weather patterns, what's normal, what isn't, and what might be next. It includes our drivers of variability, but also what's changing due to climate change and what might we expect in the coming decades. It's only three minutes long. It's scientifically accurate, but its purpose was really done as a discussion starter. It's to be used in discussions with farmers and agricultural forums, just to say, "Here's a quick snapshot of the science," and then you can move into a discussion session of, "Well, what have you noticed, what parts of this ring true for your part of the world, and what are the things we can do to adapt some of these?" We'll probably have a bit of a look at that at the end of the webinar, we might hit play on that and people can get a look at that. Thanks, Heather.

Graeme Anderson:

There's all sorts of other products there too. Some will be familiar with the climate dogs. There's climate analogs, which is just looking at potential what slightly warmer dryer climates look like under future projections, and climate posters, which show the last 110 years of rainfall and temperature variability. They're all there, and if anyone wants to know anymore about them or how to get perhaps some hard copies of some of those, just get in touch with us. Thanks. Okay. Very good. Well, that's probably enough of that quick overview from me. I think one of the new products I'd just like to hand over to Heather.

Graeme Anderson:

Now, Heather, I'll just introduce Heather, because she's a climate change service development officer with Agriculture Victoria based in Ballarat. She leads development of products and services that help develop farm and service sector capability on climate risk and climate change adaptation and carbon and emissions. Heather not only runs our great climate webinar series, but also has developed products. We've got a making sense of carbon and emissions on farms booklets, but the most recent work she's done, she's pulled together this terrific little ebook, which runs through a lot of the climate resources for the Mallee region of Victoria. Over to you, Heather.

Heather Field:

Great. Thanks, Graeme. Yeah. I'm very excited to just share this new product with you all today. It's titled the past, present and future climate e-book for the Victorian Mallee, and it's a pilot product which we're currently sharing with networks in the Mallee, and circulating it to farmers to assist them in their future decision making. It's an ebook that gathers together key tools and resources on historical rainfall, temperature data, but also the future trends and projections. Upfront, I just want to firstly acknowledge the collaboration and contributions made in pulling this new product together. The ebook has climate data and analysis relevant to the Mallee region from the bureau, from CSIRO and DELWP, and also staff from across research and extension in Agriculture Victoria. We've received feedback also from farmers and agronomists in the Mallee to ensure that the information is accurate and easy to follow.

Heather Field:

The Regional Weather and Climate Guide and the Mallee Climate Projections, 2019, which you can see there on the screen have been used and referenced throughout the ebook. We've built on the information within these two documents to help better tell a story and help dry land farmers in the Mallee with their decision making and their adaptation. To note, the ebook is focused on land farming in the Mallee, and not irrigated horticulture, [inaudible 00:15:35] a lot of the information within the ebook is still relevant to irrigated horticulture. The production of this ebook aligns to both the Victorian Climate Change Strategy and the Agriculture Strategy, which both are looking at assisting farm businesses to make more informed decisions to prepare and become more resilient in a changing climate.

Heather Field:

What does the new product include? I've just listed there on the screen some of the different topics that we cover off in the ebook, anywhere from looking at the past and recent rainfall and temperature trends, a little bit there on seasonal forecasts and how to use those, and some tools and resources. Then we move into what we call the future or the projected changes in rainfall and temperature and season length. We've attempted to pull together some climate impacts and resources near the end of the ebook. What I might do, I might share the actual ebook. That's probably the best way to have a look at it. We'll be popping the link in the chat box to the actual ebook. It's quite simple just to start by clicking on the start button, and down the side, on the left hand side, we've got a number of chapters.

Heather Field:

We've got a bit of an introduction section on general climate, and then we move into a range of information on the past, climate variability in the Mallee. Then we move into the future projection information for the Mallee, and then into decision making and adaptation for dryland farming. I'll just share a few of the pages. I'll go to our historical rainfall. You'll see that we've got some general information on that. For example, we've shown here that there's an annual rainfall that's decreased by about 7% in the Mallee, and we've got a number of different graphs that we share throughout the ebook. I'll just highlight this one here. We've got it for Mildura and for Birchip, and we can see here that the rainfall has been decreasing in autumn and spring months.

Heather Field:

In Birchip, you can see that by the change in the blue bars through to the orange bars. We've tried to keep it fairly interactive so that you can flick through and find the information that you want. I'll show a little bit about the historical temperatures. We've gathered some information, for instance, for Kerang, and we've got mean, maximum and minimum temperatures shown here from the Bureau's webpage. If you have a look there at the temperatures, you can get a bit of a feel of how the temperature has increased in the Mallee, and particularly here in this example for Kerang. We've got information about that we've had more hot days and more consecutive days above 38 degrees in the Mallee. I'll show you a nice little image here for our extremes. We've got, well, that one there, hat's showing more hot days above 38 degrees. For instance, this one, we've had spring frosts have been more common and occurring later in the season for Mildura. You can see that there.

Heather Field:

A lot of this information can be pulled out and used in presentations that you're giving, or if you are a farmer, helping to guide you through what some of the historical information's been showing. If I move back here, we've also included some tools. This is quite a popular tool here, the CliMate tool. That gives some good information on how the season's progressing in this example, so you can have a pop in your particular location and then have a bit of an image of how the season is progressing compared to the long term average. Well worth a bit of a look at that one.

Heather Field:

Then we move into the projected climate, projected changes in rainfall, and we've been able to work with a climate analyst in the CSIRO to pull this image here together for both medium and high emissions. This is showing that annual rainfall totals are likely to decline over time, and particularly under a higher emission scenario, which is this image here. We've noticed that this greatest drying for the Mallee is in spring. We've also got a similar image in the ebook for temperatures. This one's showing under a high emissions scenario that maximum temperatures in the Mallee are expected to show a media increase of about 1.3 degrees in 2030s. Then you can see that that increases across 2050 through to 2090. Just some good information that we've pulled out of the climate projections document and made it relevant for the Mallee.

Heather Field:

Last little bit I'll show you is this one here, which is a new bit of work that we did working with CSIRO to look at projected changes in season length. This is a new bit of data analysis. We were able to look at the growing degree days, which are a measure of accumulated temperature over time. Greater degree days during the growing season means that the annual spring type plants will grow and come to reproductive maturity faster. We've got that for a medium emission scenario there and for a high emission scenario, and with the help of Dale Grey, we were able to say for the worst case scenario, which is this high emission scenario, that we're predicting 31 less growing days by 2050. In fact, Mildura's climate to be more like Menindee's in New South Wales.

Heather Field:

Just the last little bit I'll show you before I finish up is we've had a little bit of a go at looking at the impacts of the climate in the Mallee and some useful resources. This was probably the hardest part of the ebook to write, but potentially the most important. We've attempted to include a couple of sections on climate impacts for cropping, and also for livestock enterprises, and some useful resources here that you can link off to. It's well worth a look. So, to finish up, the ebook is one of many climate change adaptation tools that have been developed for primary production, to build resilience to the changing climate. You can see there on your screen how to access the ebook. Would love you to go in and have a bit of a play.

Heather Field:

At this point in time, it is only for the Mallee. This was a Mallee pilot product. We chose the Mallee for our pilot because it has had three out of the last five seasons have been in dry conditions. We've also identified that it has got some climate risks, so we thought it was worthy of our attention to begin with. Yeah, please go in, have a look. There is a form for feedback, or you can contact me directly if you've got any feedback. Now that we've talked about the climate ebook, I'm really happy to have Jemma tune in. Jemma is a seasonal risk project officer at Agriculture Victoria in Bendigo, and she spends her time creating and presenting all things seasonal risk information. She's here to share quite a number of tools and products and services that we deliver from the climate team. Over to you. Thanks, Jemma.

Jemma Pearl:

Thanks, Heather. I'll apologize in advance if I lose my voice. Bi crackly at the moment. Yeah. I'm really excited I get to share with you what I've been working on the last two years. A lot of my content that I've been putting together is really available in your own time in a few different formats, so I'll be taking you through some of that. Starting off really with our podcast series. Now, we launched My Rain Gauge is Busted nearly two years ago now, and I'm also happy to say that we've just launched season two as of this week. I guess what we all love about podcasts, for those of you who have already ventured into the podcast world, is that they are readily available, and we can listen to them anywhere at any time, be that you're driving, I know a lot of people like to use them while they're cleaning their house, many different ways.

Jemma Pearl:

I guess for those of us who have maybe poor internet connection in certain areas, you can also download them while you're close to of the router box, and then as a further you get away, you're still going to have that content. In 2019, actually, the ABC did a really good investigation into their podcast, Sweet, and it really showed that people liked podcasts because it was a good way of informing themselves, a great way of learning new things. You could be multi tasking, as I mentioned before, and you can get them wherever and whenever you want. That was part of our reasoning behind joining the bandwagon that is podcasts. My Rain Gauge is Busted, as I mentioned, is now in season two.

Jemma Pearl:

You'll hear many of us on the podcast, including both Dale Grey and Graeme Anderson on this presentation, and our colleague, Dale Boyd. But we have been really lucky in gaining some really cool guests to join us. This is just a sample on your screen here. We talk about all things, from El Ninos to La Ninas, climate science, how the models work, why a model might not be particularly one that you need to look at, and it's the suite of models, talking about decision and making and all things in between. I do encourage you to go check that out. As I said, there is some new content on its way out as we speak. As I should say, as any great podcaster does, search for us wherever you get your podcast, and please follow and share with your friends and family.

Jemma Pearl:

As Heather swap screens for me, I can also show another cool little thing we've been working on. Now, this is part of the Ag Vic Talk podcast series. Two different podcasts here, so I hope I'm not confusing everyone, but there's the Ag Vic Talk and the My Rain Gauge is Busted. We're about to launch season three of Ag Vic Talk, and it's kind of a cool little new concept for this season, is we're taking a virtual climate bus tour. Now, as much as we all would love to be going out on bus tours at the moment and hanging out with other farmers and other service providers, we've had to do a virtual version this time. The 10 part series will take us across the state looking and talking to different farmers and experts on what they're doing to prepare for a warmer and more variable climate.

Jemma Pearl:

That's another season to keep an eye out for. Again, find it wherever you get your podcasts, or you can get it on the website. As I've seen, Graeme has just shared the links in the chat, so check it out there. One other thing that we've been working on quite closely here at Ag Vic over the last two years, especially given our need for online content, is the Agriculture Victoria learning management system, or LMS for short. Now, the easiest way to understand what an LMS is, is I guess for those of you who may have family members at university or have been through university in the last 10 years, all those online courses that you did, all the online modules, they sit in a learning management system. Agriculture Victoria now has its own learning management system that's available to external people, and we've been slowly over the last two years building the content on that LMS.

Jemma Pearl:

There's 30 plus LMSs. Oh, sorry, e-learning content on there now, and bearing in range of things, as you can see, by the six tiles that we've got on the screen. This is on the Ag Vic website, and you can click in this section, as you can see down that URL there, support-and-resources/elearning. In those different topic tiles, you'll have multiple different options, and they will take you to the e-learn platform. Now, I'm going to cover on a couple of the ones that we've specifically developed, and then I'll also let Nerissa talk about the ones that she's been working on. I guess, given we've been working on the Fast Break content for quite some years now, and we've had a bit of a changeover of people listening and reading, you may have been a Fast Break subscriber for a very long time, or you may be a new subscriber. I don't know about everybody else, but when I first read the Fast Break, had no idea how to decide for Dale's amazing table with his 12 models in it.

Jemma Pearl:

We've created an e-learn to make it easier for everybody who's new, or if you need a refresher or a reminder of all those great things that Dale puts in that table. There is now the How to Read the Fast Break Table e-learn. You can access that on the LMS, or you can access that through the email, the Fast Break email when it comes out. Another one that we, I guess, find that people sometimes struggle with is the sea surface temperature maps that are also in the Fast Break. There's now also the e-learn to help you understand what Dale means when he's talking about the different boxes in the Pacific ocean and the India ocean, and the different colorings and the different scales in which we look at the La Nina and El Nino and the Indian ocean dipole.

Jemma Pearl:

Some great content that our dairy team put together about understand what is a weather forecast, and the difference between weather and a seasonal forecast, and some great links in there to where you can find that information. One very, I guess, relevant to right now, the autumn predictability barrier. Anybody out there thinking, "Why do the skill of the models at its lowest at this time of year? Why can't it be better?" The Autumn Predictability Barrier is the e-learn for you to better understand what's going on with the models at this time of the year. I guess adding onto the great work that Heather's done, there is now also an e-learn purely on the Vic climate projections data, and being able to understand and describe what is happening there. On that note, given that we're also talking e-learns, I would like to hand over to Nerissa, who is a land management extension officer also with Agriculture Victoria, but based out of our Warnambool office. Nerissa has a background in soil and water management, and now focuses on the topics of farm business resilience and climate risk and adaption.

Nerissa Lovric:

Thanks, Jenna. Excellent. Okay, well, I'm just going to take you on a quick tour of a couple of quizzes that we've been developing over the last two years. As Jemma was saying, they are now found on the Ag Vic learning management system. The quizzes focus on two areas. One is farm water management, and the other one is emergency preparedness. They're designed for farm managers. That's the target audience. They're focused on farm scale adaptions. The whole idea is that you go through a set of questions looking at what you have in place already, practices that help prepare you for future climate risks, and at the end, you get a score, and also you can save your questions, the responses to the questions, and it can become an improvement plan for how you might improve your systems in the future.

Nerissa Lovric:

This is just showing the QR codes. Oh, sorry, Heather, can we go back one? For how to access the quizzes. But they are also located on the Ag Vic website. So, yes, the links are in the chat there. Just a tip, when you first go into the Ag Vic LMS page, these QR codes, for example, will take you to a sign in screen. If you haven't registered before, you need to click on signup. Don't worry, we're not going to spam you with emails or anything. It just allows you, once you have a login, then you can go in and repeat the quiz. You can access all the other modules as well. It's just a quick process of signing up, and then my top tip is to write down your username and password. Yeah, keep this really simple. It doesn't necessarily remember it the first time, so you have to validate your email, and then it'll come up with this, and you have to have those two things ready to go. But once you've got that, it's all smooth sailing.

Nerissa Lovric:

So next slide please, Heather. Another tip is, once you are in the LMS, a way of navigating, it'll come up with the quiz if you click on the direct link, but also, you can go to the goal center. If you've completed the quiz before, for example, it will be under completed modules. So, you'll need to click on that tab. But, yeah, it just keeps a record of everything you've got in progress. Next one, please, Heather. Just a bit more background on the farm water quiz. It's designed for livestock enterprises that have farm dams and a reticulated farm water system. The questions have been put together by Ag Vic experts in the field of farm water management, and they were really looking at, okay, the climate projections for the future, but also ease of maintenance and optimal performance for farm water systems too. They were drawing on their wealth of experience and also their observations of what steps farmers have already been putting in place to improve the resilience of their systems for the future. Next one, Heather.

Nerissa Lovric:

A lot of work went into developing the questions, and this is how you navigate through the quiz. This is how it comes up once you press launch. You get two options, sometimes three. It's either yes, no, or maybe. Sometimes there might be an option where you can click partially completed or partially implemented might be the answer to that question. There's a light bulb system, the earth symbol, that comes up on some slides too. That gives you more tips on answering that question. Next one, Heather. But you need to keep pressing on one of those answers to get through to the end of the quiz. There's no other way. There's no forward arrow. It's either yes, no, or maybe. Then you get to the end and it shows you a score. That gives you the ability to see the strengths of what you've already got in place and areas for improvement.

Nerissa Lovric:

You can print and save that and write on an actual plan. I'll show you what that plan looks like. Or if you go to the next slide, Heather, you can click on review, and then once again, it comes up on the individual questions that you can click on, and it'll show you more links on that question. You can also add notes that will appear on your plan if you go to save. Next one there, Heather. This is what the report looks like. It comes up in a PDF when you click on print and save. That has a record of all your answers for the quiz. You can also type in those boxes. They're fillable fields. So, you can add notes about whether it was a very relevant point for your system, or what you plan to do to improve upon it. You only get one go at filling in the fields, though, and then you need to print it out. Once you save it, then the fields aren't fillable anymore.

Nerissa Lovric:

This is the second quiz. This is just a quick tour of these, but this one, the emergency preparedness quiz is the same format as the other one. This one has 16 questions. This one was developed by Ag Vic staff, again, that have a lot of experience in working in emergency response and recovery. Yeah, a lot of work went into identifying these important actions that can be done to help you better prepare for a range of emergencies. The very first question, you get to select which emergencies are most relevant to your farm. Next slide, Heather. Yeah, just really encouraging you to have a go at this one and just keep progressing through. There may be things in there that aren't relevant, but there just may be things that you haven't thought of doing, ideas that just might help you better prepare.

Nerissa Lovric:

Yeah, there's a wide range of things, from tagging, micro chipping, pets, insurance. Yeah. The whole idea is, as Graeme was saying earlier, they're discussion starters and a chance you can then go and seek more information. There's a lot of links at the end of the quiz under resources as well. Yeah, we really encourage you to get with us if you have any questions. Any trouble accessing the quizzes, just let us know and we'll help you out with that. Yeah, I'd just like to thank everyone in Ag Vic that has contributed to the development of these quizzes, and also the funding from the Victorian government Smarter, Safer Farms initiative, and the Victorian Government Land Health program. Thank you. Now I'd like to introduce my colleague, Dale Grey. Dale is a seasonal risk agronomist based at Bendigo, specializing in climate variability and change, with specific focus on the grain industry. I'll hand over to Dale to talk about forecast for profit and local climate tool. Thank you.

Dale Grey:

Thanks very much, Nerissa. This is a piece of work we did a couple of years ago, and with the generous funding of the Grains Research and Development Corporation, was really a website that we could bring together a number of different climate related things. In particular, we were removing a lot of Excel spreadsheets sitting on mine and other people's desks around the country, where they're doing some really cool things with climate, and we thought that other people would benefit from being able to do that too. The website is Forecast 4 Profit, with the number four. It has a number of links to our newsletters that we had there that Graeme said before, but it has a number of these tabs up above. I'm just going to go through those now. Next slide, please, Heather. There we go.

Dale Grey:

The local climate tool is probably the bit of work I'm most excited about. What it allows people to do is to go into all of these locations that are lit up there in the top left corner, including South Australia, Tasmania, and a bit of Southern New South Wales. You can click on that location and you can grill the rainfall data at that location using many different ways. In particular, you can look at how ENSO, El Nino and La Nina, and the positive and negative IOD have affected the rainfall at that particular location. You can dial up any month period that you're looking at to look at that. That's really, really cool. There's all matter of graphs and ways of presenting that kind of data. Next, please, Heather.

Dale Grey:

This is just one graph that was brought to us by our South Australian colleagues, which we thought was really cool. It just colors up the various climate drivers with the rainfall. We're just here looking at annual rainfall at Omeo since 1900. You've got the long term average up there with the gray line, but we've got, for instance, all our double El Nino positive IOD events lit up here in red. You can fairly quickly see that there's only a couple of those that have ever got above the average line, and a vast number of other ones that are much, much dryer. The other thing you can do is you can see this graph stacked from lowest to highest. That's a really cool way of showing how these various climate drivers have affected rainfall in the past. Next, please, Heather.

Dale Grey:

We did a number of case studies with people around Southern Australia, and we also did a number of small two page synopses, different climate things. We've parceled them together in a booklet, our guide for farmers using seasonal forecast. Now, we colloquially in the team call this the dunny read or the dunny guide. We think every toilet in Southern Australia should have one in the magazine rack, because each article is about the length you'd need. It's just filled really useful information. We have digital copies. I think we do have a few hard copies left, but it's generally a digital product. But it includes some really interesting case studies with farmers as well, in terms of how they're using seasonal forecasts too. Next, Heather.

Dale Grey:

Part of our work that we did with GRDC was working with Peter Hayman and Barry Mudge from South Australia. Barry's a farmer and Peter's a climate specialist with SARDI. Looking at this rapid climate decision analysis tool, which is a really innovative way of looking at something you're going to do on the farm, and working out whether it's a climate sensitive decision or not. So, whether the climate actually affects what you would do, or whether in fact it's just smart business practice, and it wouldn't matter what the climate was, it's a good thing to do. It's somewhat heavy on the economics. It's not heavy, but it does require a bit of economic thinking in terms of doing some gross margin type analysis. But it's a clever way that Peter and Barry have done that to show how the climate affects that decision. That's possibly not for everyone, but it's a really useful and interesting way of looking at that conundrum of whether you should be making a decision, and what it should be when you think the climate is going to affect the result. Next, please.

Dale Grey:

We have a whole heap of links here, links and tools. Basically, this includes basically every web link that's on my computer that I use for most of my talks and most of Graeme's and Jemma's and my talks too, and also what we use for constructing the Fast Break. It includes links to all the various models. That's really just a one stop shop there of data links. I think the last page I have, thanks, Heather, is something we did, which was pretty fun. These are little quizzes. We took some of our best and finest little gags off our Very Fast Break YouTubes and diced them up, so they only go for 30 seconds a lot. Then there's a bit of a quiz at the end of that you can test your knowledge of what you've seen.

Dale Grey:

Yeah, if you have about a spare half an hour or something to look at a few of those, one would hope you'd get a bit of a laugh. But then you'll also find them pretty educational as well. We thought they were worthy of trotting out into perpetuity rather than leaving them in our filing cabinet. I think that's it from me, I think it is. The next slide, it is. I'll return it back to our host at the central commentary position with Heather.

Heather Field:

Fantastic. Thanks, Dale. Good way to finish off our little de gustation there of products and services that we've been working on in the background over the last few years. I'd just like to, before we move into questions, and if you do have a question, please pop it in the chat box, and we'll put that to the most appropriate presenter. While those questions do come in, I just want to thank Graeme, Nerissa, Jemma, and Dale for their presentations and the great run through of those products and services today. We did have a question quite early on when Graeme was presenting from Maria, and I think it was in regards to do you need to have an account for the soil moisture monitoring dashboard? Do you want to answer that one, Graeme?

Graeme Anderson:

Yeah, no, basically, it's publicly available, the site, and the links are there on our website. If you want to receive the updates of the newsletters, then you can just subscribe there, enter your email address and it'll get popped up whenever there's a new soil moisture newsletter put out. The good thing about that, I know a lot of people have heard about the soil moisture probes, but the expert bit of work that Boyd does is just talks about recent events and also what's happening in each paddock. Even it's really fascinating to see the difference of some paddocks, just depending on how big last year's crop was, or the difference between a big barley or wheat crop compared to lentils, and what leftover moisture is still in the soil profile, or whether it's all been used up. The commentary that comes with each soil probe and paddock is really a key tool to actually understanding what probes can and can't do. Please head to that website there, Heather. It's all there.

Heather Field:

Excellent. Everyone will notice, we have been popping in all the various websites for the products we've been talking about today, so they'll be also included in the recording when we send that out if you don't happen to capture those today.

Graeme Anderson:

Also, if I can just add, I know some people have said that they've subscribed and occasionally people drop off the list. If you've had a change of email address in the past year or two, you might find that suddenly you don't get the Break that you used to get, or the soil moisture updates or the webinar updates. So, please, there's a regular list every time we send them out of return to sender addresses. So, if you think you haven't had it pop into your email box for a while, just jump back on and enter in your email and we're off and running.

Heather Field:

Thanks, Graeme. We've got a question from Julie around the ebook, and if there's a plan to expand the ebook pilot beyond the Mallee. At this stage, Julie, there isn't a plan to do that. But having said that, we do hope that others will take on that initiative and have a bit of a go themselves at pulling some of that climate information for the various regions into usable formats for farmers to use. If anything changes, yeah, we do hope that we can have some time available to do something similar for the other regions. But, yeah, value any feedback on this one for any potential, any further ones for other regions. We have a question from Rob for you, Dale. Is the Climate Outlook Autumn Prediction Barrier reduced this year because of the persisting La Nina, and does this mean we can be more confident about the climate outlook at the moment compared to other years?

Dale Grey:

That's a very specific question, not necessarily pertaining to my talk, but anyway. Yeah, at the moment, we have a La Nina in the process of probable breakdown, which normally happens at this year, which is what gives us the uncertainty that the Pacific ocean in particular will revert to neutral, and it might or might not do something this coming year. I think where we have where the Autumn Predictability Barrier is better for us is when we are having the formation of a climate driver at this time of the year that's potentially going to last going forward. Whereas at the moment, we've got one which in theory is going to die, and the predictability barrier is still there as to, well, what is going to happen for winter this year?

Dale Grey:

Yeah, there's only one model at the moment that predicts that La Nina is going to persist and keep going. The rest of them are predicting that it's going to die away to neutrality. Then we've got the mystery of the Indian ocean at the moment, so who knows what it's going to get up to? Although, most models are predicting it to go negative IOD and a wetter outcome, but it's just a terrible time of the year to be predicting that historically, because anything could happen.

Heather Field:

Great. Thanks, Dale. Thanks, Rob, for that question. We currently don't have any other questions, but I will open it up to our panel of presenters if they've got anything they would like to add.

Graeme Anderson:

Yeah. I just thank the panel for, there's some great products there. There's a lot of other different products that staff at Ag Vic have on there too, with the irrigation teams and all of our other industry teams with this. This is just a snapshot, so please get in touch if you're looking for any guidance there, and well done to Nerissa. Those quizzes, they're fantastic. I think there's a lot of good design that's gone into those quizzes, the farm water quiz. Everyone likes to do a bit of a self-assessment to see what sort of score we get, and I like the way it's got some great tips learned from other farms about, well, how do you go from a score of three to five or higher? That's really good. The skill of creating good podcasts, Jemma, well done on pulling them together. We've got a great list there.

Graeme Anderson:

For those that are spending a fair bit of time out and around the paddocks, then put a few on. We're really keen to hear of topics or ideas from others of what people want to find out more about, because at least in the podcast format, you can get into a good 20 minute discussion. The world's our oyster there, and looking forward to that virtual climate bus tour podcast. That's really fascinating to hear different farmers and how they've learned about what other farmers are doing, farming in different climates, but still doing a really successful job, that basically the story of climate doesn't determine whether you have a successful farm business or not, but just different people in different climates just do things differently to make it all work. I can't wait for that series to hit my email box. Thanks, Jemma.

Heather Field:

Thanks, Graeme. While we wait just to see if there's any last few questions, we might show our climate 101 animation, which goes for about three minutes. We hopefully have got good audio at your end. We will pop that up on the screen, because it's well worth a bit of a look. I'll just get that set up for us.

Dale Grey:

Premier launch here, isn't it, Graeme?

Graeme Anderson:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, you could listen to Dale or myself or Jemma, we could talk about this for an hour, but we've decided to compress it into three minutes so that you can spend the rest of the hour talking about, well, what do we do about it? It's just a tool to help trigger that discussion.

Heather Field:

All right, enjoy.

Speaker 9:

Unless you came down in the last shower, you'll know there are three types of annual rainfall in Victoria: too little, too much, and everything in between. Been that way since records began. Other types of variants are more recent. In the past, a front off Perth during the cooler months would pretty much guarantee rain across Victoria a few days later, but doesn't anymore. The state's autumn and cool season rainfall has also become less reliable. Will these changes change, or are they here to stay? Here's what we know. The fundamentals still apply. Our rain still starts out as moisture from the oceans. Dry years, that moisture's in short supply. Wet years, the supply is too plentiful.

Speaker 9:

For moisture to become rainfall, we still rely on the same triggers too, the week to week battle between the high pressure systems and cold fronts. But here's the thing. For the last 60 years, scientists have been observing those triggers. Their measurements show Victoria's cold fronts are increasingly shifting south, impacting our cooler season rainfall, and that our high pressure systems continue to strengthen impacting autumn and winter rainfall scientists have also observed that temperatures across our state are rising, especially in spring.

Speaker 9:

And that the last decade was our warmest in a hundred years. The outlook is for this trend to continue. There'll be seasonal and annual variations of course, but basically each new decade is likely to be warmer than the last, to understand how this might affect rainfall. Scientists develop not one but dozens of different climate models. Their analysis shows different parts of Australia will be impacted in various ways. Basically though, as greenhouse emissions trap more heat and things get warmer. Our climate zones seasonality and weather patterns will slip southwards. That means less effective rainfall. On average, in Southern parts of Australia, a warmer world is also likely to compound Victor's traditional rainfall variability. That means more years when there's less rain than in the past punctuated by periods when there's too much when it does rain, it's also likely to come in shorter, bigger bursts because a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, a warmer world won't eliminate extreme cold though. So we'll still have to deal with the risk of frost and cold outbreaks. Increasingly variable seasons will present today's farmers with future challenges, no doubt. And collectively we have new technologies and solutions that we'll need to get on with as we manage the risks of a changing climate and successfully grow the future of Victorian agriculture,

Speaker 9:

Unless you came down in the last shower, you'll know there are three types of annual rainfall in Victoria.

Heather Field:

Okay. Okay. So hopefully you all got that one nearly twice. Yeah. Great little animation and yeah. Really sums up all the, all the various work we are trying to get across in a very simple, but also humorous way.

Graeme Anderson:

Very good. Well, thanks Heather. And anyone can get in touch with us, drop a message in the box or feel free to contact us if we've got any queries. There's also some hard copies of some of the products around too, so don't be afraid to get in touch with Heather there. We've got the Break email popped in there. Thanks for that, Jemma.

Heather Field:

Thanks, Graeme. Yeah, thanks everyone for tuning in today. We had some good interest, with about 120 people register, and we had about 60 online live today. As I did mention, we will have the recording circulated to all those who did register today, so if you want to go back and have another look at the presentations today and also access some of the links to those products and services. Just a reminder that we do have a survey just that pops up on your screen as you exit, and we really do appreciate you completing that, just so we can continue to run these webinars and improve them. Just would to thank again our presenters today, and thank you for your feedback that's popping into the chat box as we speak. Have a great afternoon, everyone.

Dale Grey:

All the best for the season, people. All the best.

Nerissa Lovric:

Thanks, everyone. Good luck.

Return to Climate webinar page.

Page last updated: 10 Oct 2022