Climate Kelpie is a website for farmers, rural advisors and natural resource managers seeking credible climate risk management tools and information to increase the understanding and uptake of climate-related tools and information that benefit agriculture.
CottonInfo’s energy and climate technical lead, Jon Welsh, introduced the new site to delegates at the 2018 Australian Cotton Conference, highlighting the importance that Climate Kelpie content has had in educating industry.
“The aim of Climate Kelpie is to help farmers better understand the mechanics of the climate and how it relates to on-farm decision making in relation to their industry, their region and the time of year,” says Mr Welsh.
“Climate Kelpie takes the leg work out of google searches, as it houses a range of farmer-focused and easy to understand climate material and cropping decision support systems that provide unique context to climate forecasts with a focus on applications to on-farm decisions,” he says.
The website refresh, supported by the Managing Climate Variability (MCV) Research and Development program, has modernised the site, including new livestock and farming decision support tools and seasonal climate forecasting information. It has also incorporated content from the MCV website, managingclimate.gov.au, meaning seasonal climate information and outcomes of MCV investments are now housed in one location.
Improving industry understanding of seasonal climate has enormous potential to improve agricultural profitability according to Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA) value chain relationship manager, Doug McNicholl, who manages the MCV program.
“In a 2014 report from The Centre for International Economics, the estimated benefit to the cropping and livestock sectors from seasonal forecasting ranged from $958 million to $1,930 million per year,” he says.
MLA are keen to assist livestock producers in their understanding of seasonal climate, with Climate Kelpie playing a key role in housing and sharing relevant information and resources.
“A number of key management decisions, such as determining stocking rates or deciding when to plant forage crops, are driven by seasonal conditions. These decisions impact the entire value chain, so it’s critical that industry is armed with the best tools and information to foster informed decision making” says Mr McNicholl.
The website can be accessed at climatekelpie.com.au and will be regularly updated with blog posts, new decision support tools and current seasonal climate information.
The MCV program is supported by Meat and Livestock Australia, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Sugar Research Australia and AgriFutures Australia.