Future Ready Dairy Systems

Dairy Australia

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Tasmanian Dairying in a Changing Climate

Objective of the event

Dairy Industry presentation of findings from the Climate Futures for Tasmania research. Learn about the world first climate modelling that has been done for Tasmanian dairy regions and what it means for water availability, pasture growth, milk production and future investment.

Key Messages

The Climate Futures for Tasmania research has used a unique downscaling approach to look at climate change trends on a localised 10 km grid scale over Tasmania, out to 2100.

Farmers have always dealt with climate variations. What will change over time is the mean around which the variations will occur. Temperatures will increase across the State, with the greatest increases likely in the Central North.

Rainfall distribution will vary regionally and seasonally from historical trends. There is a steadily emerging pattern of increased rainfall over the coastal regions, and reduced rainfall over central Tasmania and in the north west of Tasmania. The North East is likely to see increasing rainfall, particularly in summer and autumn. The Far North West is likely to see decreasing rainfall in summer and autumn, but wetter winters. Decreased rainfall in the Central Highlands may reduce inflows to some agricultural storages such as the Meander Dam, but this is likely to be compensated by reasonable rainfall further down the catchments.

Pasture growth modelling has highlighted that the current forage base of the Tasmanian dairy region is quite resilient. Climate change adaptations are likely to be within system adaptations with the industry continuing to focus on pasture consumption per ha as a key determinant of business success.

Reflections on the Event

A small but very interested group listened to the team from Climate Futures for Tasmania present their climate science research. The general feeling of the discussion was that there is something of a “silver lining” for the Tasmanian dairy industry, admidst all the complex issues of climate change. This was reflected in recent milk production figures across Australia, where Tasmania is the only state where production has consistently increased (Fonterra production figures were presented by Phillip Darton, Optimisation Manager).

Quotes and Feedback from Attendees

Some comments from participants include:

“Excellent forum. The first time I have been able better understand the future effects climate change may have on a more localised area”

“On a personal note, I hope the politicians are taking note!”

“We want to keep informed of new information coming out”

“We want more information on actual change”

“We want to keep informed of new information coming out”

Date:

02 Dec,2010

Event Type:

Professional Development Workshop/Seminar

Location:

Launceston

Coordinator:

Rachel Brown