CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Report – adapting farming to climate change

Bringing together the latest science from research groups around Australia, the report includes chapters on each of Australia’s major agricultural sectors, with a focus on steps that can be taken to adjust to the ongoing changes in our climate.

Speaking to the Farm Writers Association of NSW in Sydney today, co-editor of the report, CSIRO scientist Dr Mark Howden, said it was time for agriculture to start focussing on proactive solutions.

“Adapting to climate change will involve everything from changes in crop varieties, through to improved seasonal forecasting, up to revised national policies and programs,” he said.

“For many agricultural businesses incremental changes may be enough, but some regions and industries will need to be open to more transformative changes.”

Prepared for Land and Water Australia (LWA) the report - ‘An overview of climate change adaptation in the Australian agricultural sector – impacts, options and priorities’ - updates and expands the previous national synthesis done by CSIRO in 2003.

“We’ve applied the latest climate change projections to build a picture of the challenges that will affect all types of agriculture in all corners of the nation,” Dr Howden said.

The report also emphasises the importance of building adaptive capacity among farm managers, agri-businesses and industry groups.

“The past climate is no longer a good guide to the future climate, so having the skills and resources to respond flexibly will be essential,” Dr Howden said.

The report is being released as part of a series of talks being presented by the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists and CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth today and tomorrow, with support from the Agricultural Research WA, Climate Adaptation Program.

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