Seasonal forecasting – grain growers using tools to their advantage

Author: | Date: 17 Mar 2020

image of Bronwyn and Geoff Hunt
Bronwyn and Geoff Hunt from Normanville in Victoria are among the growers featured in case studies in the new publication, A guide for farmers in using seasonal forecasts in south eastern Australia. Photo: Clarisa Collis, © GRDC

Year to year climate variability is a major source of risk to the profitability of our grain growers.

Yet, effective use of seasonal climate forecasts can assist growers in potentially reducing the financial impact of that risk, especially in years that sit outside the ‘average’.

To support growers in their efforts to better understand and utilise the seasonal forecast information available, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) in conjunction with Agriculture Victoria has published A guide for farmers in using seasonal forecasts in south eastern Australia.

“Many growers and their advisers are aware of seasonal climate forecasts but are unsure how to best use the information in decision making,” says GRDC Grower Relations Manager – South, Randall Wilksch.

“We want to address this challenge by encouraging the most effective use of the latest climate information to improve profit and risk management for our grain growers,” he says.

The guide provides examples of where and when seasonal forecasts can be particularly useful to growers. The guide also includes case studies of growers, who detail their experiences and the tactics they have employed to reduce the impact of climate variability.

Among the growers featured are the Keam family at Lah in Victoria’s Wimmera region; Wayne and Therese Thomas at Youanmite in northern Victoria; the Baldock family at Kimba on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula; and Tony and Michele Andrews at Nalyappa on SA’s Yorke Peninsula.

Other case studies involved the Hunt and Fenton families at Normanville in Victoria’s Mallee; the Carn family at Quorn and Umberatana Station in SA’s Far North; the Modra family at Port Lincoln on Eyre Peninsula; and Barry and Kristina Mudge at Port Germein in the Far North of SA.

The information presented in the guide draws on the knowledge and experiences of not only grain growers, but also advisers and researchers around how and when seasonal forecasts can aid in farm enterprise decision making.

The guide has been generated out of the GRDC’s ‘Using seasonal forecast information and tools to manage risk and increase profitability in the south region’ investment.

This project is being led by Graeme Anderson and Dale Grey from Agriculture Victoria who also lead the extension of the successful ‘The Break’ suite of communication products across the southern region.

More guidance on interpreting weather forecasts can be found in a GRDC Paddock Practices

Contact Details

For Interviews

Randall Wilksch, GRDC
0437 769 098


Sharon Watt, GRDC
0409 675 100

GRDC Project code: 9176117