In a study by Asseng et al. (2012) based in the wheat industry region of WA, it was shown that POAMA had 70% skill at predicting above/below median rainfall. It showed that adjusting starting nitrogen based on this forecast could increase a farmer’s gross margin by 71% on a typical farm on clay soil.
It is reasonable to ask whether this excellent result can be repeated in different regions and for different industries. This project set out to answer this question for three case studies: cotton in New South Wales, wheat in New South Wales and grazing in Northern Australia. The results will help establish how valuable POAMA seasonal climate forecasts might be more broadly used across climate-sensitive industries in Australia.
This project is a first step that could lead to substantially-increased use of seasonal forecasts, and significant long-term increases in farm income, with the potential to offset some negative effects from climate change and to improve environmental outcomes.
The objectives included:
- To determine the value of POAMA multi-week and seasonal forecasts in informing key management decisions in the cotton and wheat industries in eastern Australia, and the extensive rangelands grazing industry in northern Australia.
- To communicate the use of seasonal forecasts in terms of probabilities, risk and payoff times to ensure a realistic level of expectation of long-term value.
For the cotton and wheat industries in eastern Australia, and the extensive grazing industry in northern Australia, there will be an established and realistic level of confidence and knowledge in the use and value of incorporating seasonal forecasts based on POAMA in decision making.
There will also be enhanced ability to include probabilistic seasonal forecast information in business practices to increase long-term (5-20 years) value and inform risk management.