How do probabilistic seasonal climate forecasts compare with other innovations that Australian farmers are encouraged to adopt?

Peter Hayman, Jason Crean, John Mullen, Kevin Parton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Seasonal climate forecasts (SCFs) from public institutions have been issued to Australian farmers since the late 1980s. Surveys suggest that 30'50% of farmers take seasonal climate forecasts into account when making farm management decisions. Even for the farmers who have adopted SCFs, integrating them into decisions on the farm seems to be a greater challenge than first thought.We use adoption theory to consider SCFs as an innovation presented to farmers. We consider the problem that SCFs is seeking to solve, the nature of the innovation, and how SCFs compare with other innovations that Australian farmers are encouraged to adopt. We conclude that there are unique challenges presented by the problem of managing climate uncertainty. Demonstrating the relative advantage of a probabilistic SCF is difficult because it is an information-based public good, relatively complex, difficult to trial, and only partially compatible with existing practices. In their favour, SCFs are free or relatively low cost and the information can be applied across different paddocks and different enterprises. We compare and contrast SCFs with other innovations that Australian farmers have been encouraged to adopt over their working life time, such as grain-price forecasts, new wheat varieties, the increased use of nitrogen fertiliser, no-tillage, and precision agriculture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)975-984
Number of pages10
JournalCrop and Pasture Science
Volume58
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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