Grains Research and Development

Date: 01.06.1997

Focus on Weather

Harvesting ahead of the storm.

Farmers and meteorologists are becoming more precise with the tools of weather forecasting. However the weather in Australia continues to move in mysterious ways. Especially in the north where 'normal years' are more nostalgia than a reality that growers can count on. Recent research is revealing new patterns and indicators to weather cycles. Knowing these patterns can help farmers minimise planting risks and make management decisions.

The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) has become accepted as an indicator of upcoming weather. It is proving useful for most of northeastern Australia but has been considered less useful for regions such as southern Victoria and parts of South Australia. However, recent refinements to northern climate analysis lay claim to predicting nation-wide climate probabilities, as the story below shows. In this issue of Ground Cover we bring you the

latest in this research, for the north as well as for the southern and western grains regions. We show how these data are related to yield probabilities and how they can assist growers with management decisions. And we bring you the current best available general climate forecasts (but don't hold us to them).

Read on, Ground Cover readers.