PRIMARY producers are already adjusting their methods to cope with hotter and drier climates, writes SNOW BARLOW
Three years ago, the majority of Victorian farmers were seriously concerned about climate change, but it seems like many have changed their minds.
A 2011 Department of Primary Industries survey found that only a third were still worried.
You'd think that this meant that farmers were unprepared for climate change. In fact, a climate change in primary industries conference in Melbourne last week revealed that most producers were already adapting.
Most dairy producers surveyed by the DPI were investing to manage a hotter and drier climate.
And more than two-thirds of grain farmers had adopted no-till farming to keep more moisture in their soil.
Just 10 years ago, waterlogging was the issue on Peter Holding's farm in Harden, NSW. Then the rainfall dropped away, and Peter found himself fighting through eight years of drought.
Using climate modelling to predict soil moisture and yield, he's got the business to the point where he's projecting a profitable crop this year despite growing season rainfall dropping to drought levels.
On the NSW south coast, the projection is for higher temperatures and higher seasonal rainfall. Lynne Strong, a dairy farmer at Jamberoo, has concreted the laneways to reduce mud and created more shade for the cows.
Regardless of your views on climate change, you'll be better off if you take actions to adapt.
Money will be what motivates the farming community, and the sooner we realise how profitable it can be to adapt, the sooner we'll be ready to handle the weather as it gets really weird.
- Prof Snow Barlow is the executive director of the Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries