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Climate risk - options for managing frost risk in the eastern wheatbelt

Abrecht, D. Dr; Ph: (08) 9368 3499; Mobile 0417 934 648; Fax: (08) 9368 2165; dabrecht@agric.wa.gov.au

Research Organisation: Agriculture Western Australia, Dryland Research Institute, Merredin, WA 6415

Sponsor: GRDC, Grains Research and Development Corporation

Objectives:

  • To improve the management of frost risk for grain producers in the eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia
  • To improve the management of frost risk for grain producers throughout the cropping zone of Australia.

Methodology: Analyse frost data to provide risk information, a handbook, and a frost decision support system, that graingrowers can use.

Progress:

This project has provided essential resources for the grains industry both in WA and in Victoria and South Australia as it has dealt with the severe frosts of Sept and Oct. The key resource has been Craig White who has been effective in networking, coordination and packaging information.

The GRDC has agreed to enhance the current project (DAW 493) with a further program Response to severe frost event in WA grainbelt. This will add to the overall outputs from this project:

  • The project has provided a valuable resource in supporting AgWA's efforts in servicing the grain industry following this year's severe frost events;
  • the publications and tools developed by this project have or will include:
  • . Dealing with Frost, a handbook for growers
  • . Frost identification brochures and eventually a booklet / pocket guide / ute guide;
  • . flowering / frost decision support system
  • . frost management handbook including procedures for assessing local and regional frost risk and management procedures for frost prone areas.

The materials developed as a result of this project will be a lasting resource for the WA grain industry. Craig White's presence will enable AgWA to capture and analyse a serious frost event and the consequent case studies should be powerful management tools. The impact will be in providing farmers with an understanding of the significance of frost in their risk management and providing them with the tools / information to be creative in managing this risk.

A challenge for future R&D effort in this area is to develop and implement tools that enable key management decisions to account for seasonal forecasts of frost risk. APSIM or WHEATMAN, for example, may have the potential to contribute; additional research may be required to develop and apply these to WA conditions.

Keywords: frost damage, grain yields, crop forecasts

Period: starting date 1997-07; completion date: 1999-06

Status: ongoing

Publications: None as yet

 

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