Climate data for farmers to prepare for future droughts is now live

Two digital tools are expected to deliver farmers the best available climate data to help prepare for future drought and climate change.

The Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool (DR.SAT) and the Climate Services for Agriculture (CSA) platform are two key investments under the $5 billion Future Drought Fund.

These tools are about using technology to make climate information more accessible and useful for farmers, industry, and rural and regional communities.

The CSA platform provides farmers with historical climate data, seasonal forecasts, and future climate projections at a 5km2 resolution across the country. Climate information for cattle, wheat, sheep, almonds, apples, barley, canola, and lupins is now available.

This means that farmers can easily assess how the climate variables that matter to their business could change in future – for example, a wheat producer can see how the timing and intensity of seasonal rainfall in their region might change into the future, how that might impact the way they farm, and whether they need to consider changes.

The DR.SAT is a free tool to help farmers prepare for future drought. Farmers can explore the current and past condition of their property through satellite imagery and complete simple surveys to assess how they are tracking in terms of financial performance and personal wellbeing.

For dryland croppers and cattle graziers in four pilot regions, the tool also helps farmers understand how their land and its productive capacity might be impacted by the climate into the future. A tailored set of practical options and resources to manage these impacts are then generated for consideration.

The Federal government has pledged to continue to work with farmers in pilot regions to keep developing the tools, so they can make a real difference for Australian agriculture.”

See the tools at www.drsat.com.au (DRSAT) and climateservicesforag.indraweb.io (CSA). To get involved or find out more, visit: www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/future-drought-fund.

There are eight pilot regions in operation

  • Queensland Dry Tropics – including Townsville, Charters Towers and Bowen.
  • Condamine and the Northern Tablelands – including Toowoomba and Armidale.
  • Victorian Mallee and south-east South Australia – including Mildura, and Horsham.
  • Western Australian Wheatbelt – including Northam and Narrogin.
  • Tropical North – including Cairns, Darwin, Katherine, and Kununurra. 
  • Central West New South Wales – including Dubbo, Parkes, and West Wyalong. 
  • Riverina and Goulburn-Murray – including Shepparton and Griffith.
  • Gippsland and Northern Tasmania – including Bairnsdale, Sale, and Launceston.
  • The Australian Government is investing $32 million to continue the development of CSA to June 2023 and DR.SAT to June 2024. This funding will enable the capability of the platforms to be progressively expanded, and ultimately provide national coverage.
  • The Future Drought Fund provides $100 million each year for programs that build drought preparedness and resilience.
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