Australia studies resilience strategies for dairy farmers adapting to climate change

The ability of dairy farmers to adapt to a changing environment has been put to the test in a three-year Australian research project.

A Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia farm, along with a farm in Gippsland, Victoria, and a third in Tas, were used as the basis for the Dairy Business for Future Climates study, which looked at potential changes needed to farm in 2040.

DairySA’s regional natural resource management officer Monique White, Murray Bridge, SA, said the project involved farmer working groups in each region considering their options to cope with a changing climate, with these ideas then tested against international climate models for the time period.

Researchers had hoped the project would provide a direction for the industry, but the economic results showed there was not one standout system. “There was no one-size-fits-all solution,” said DairySA‘s regional natural resource management officer, Monique White. “But the breadth of expertise across the different systems does provide a resilience in the industry,” she continued.

Srathalbyn, SA, dairyfarmer Ty Maidment found his participation in research project particularly relevant as he negotiated his own changing climates. Mr. Maidment gained valuable strategic insights in his role as chair of the SA working group: “I’d moved from a grass-based high input irrigation system to a dryland system on about half the rainfall,” he said.

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See full article by Elizabeth Anderson in The Australian Dairy Farmer.

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