Farming Forecaster Tasmania – Supporting Farmers for Drought Resilience
The ‘Co-developing and improving digital tools for increased drought resilience with, and for Tasmanian farmers’ project aims to support drought-affected farmers with tools to improve drought resilience.
The increasing occurrence of drought in parts of Tasmanian including the midlands, Derwent catchment and Tasmania’s east coast has significantly reduced seasonal ground cover. Without adaptive measures, these declines will lead to increased soil erosion and soil carbon loss, and a decline in viability of dryland grazing systems. This project aims to help address some of these issues by supporting farmers with more responsive planning tools to improve dryland pasture management decision-making.
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The project is working with farming groups on the east coast and Midlands to look at ways to improve drought-resilience by;
- Working with commercial farmers at demonstration sites in the Midlands and east coast for pasture renovation and establishing winter forage crops
- Hosting themed field days
- A pilot to deliver the decision-support tool Farming Forecaster.
- Establishing dryland soil moisture probe sites and a Tasmanian platform on the Farming Forecaster website
- Providing forecasting workshops and training in the use drought-resilience tools, including training in Farming Forecaster.
PROJECT PILLARS DROUGHT RESILIENCE
One of the most crucial decisions for livestock producers is determining how much grass they can grow in a season and then applying the appropriate stocking rate. Getting this right is key to effective ground cover management, which in turn protects the soil and supports improved drought resilience. Tools and strategies that assist farmers to make more informed decisions relating to stock and feed in a changing climate are essential to ensure the viability of our agricultural systems into the future. There are currently a range of grazing support tools available to producers with varying capabilities and functions, one of which is Farming Forecaster.
Farming Forecaster is a publicly available decision support tool for graziers. It was developed by multiple farming systems in NSW in close conjunction with CSIRO. This risk management tool provides a road map for pasture growth and livestock performance and comprises two key components. The first is soil moisture probes and rain gauge sites, situated in dryland pastures on participating farms, providing real time data on soil moisture, soil temperature and rainfall. The second is a pasture forecast showing likely pasture growth trends and availability for the next 3-4 months for each location. This information is generated by the decision-support tool GrassGro – a farm simulation model for pasture growth. Weather information is also provided and all key data is displayed in an easy to interpret format at https://farmingforecaster.com.au/
Farming Forecaster Sites
- We are undertaking the State-wide roll out of up to thirty new Farming Forecaster sites, which includes soil moisture probe sites, in all major drought-prone areas of Tasmania. This will allow for access to a wide-range of growing conditions to assist both farmers and advisors
We are working to improve the accuracy of the forecast in Farming Forecaster by undertaking planned innovations to the model that informs the pasture forecast, bringing more Tasmanian data on pasture species and local growing conditions into the platform.
We are developing case studies that assist farmers in making informed stocking decisions around feeding, selling and agisting to improve drought resilience.
Establishing a network of up to 30 Farming Forecaster sites
Developing 4 case studies on drought preparedness
Delivering a 2 year Farming Forecaster training program
Supporting farming discussion group sessions
This project is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
10 May, 2023 2 Min Read
Revisiting the east coast pasture trials
During an April field day at Milton on the east coast, we revisited our three pasture trials to see how different treatments and species have performed over several seasons. The...Read More
27 September, 2022 5 Min Read
Farming Forecaster, effective ground cover management on a landscape-scale
BACKGROUND Dryland pastures comprise the majority of agricultural land use by area in southern Tasmania and support a significant amount of the state’s wool production. Incorporating some of Tasmania’s driest...Read More
30 June, 2022 2 Min Read
Wrapping up the east coast legume trial
NRM South, in partnership with the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), have been running a perennial legume trial at Milton, Cranbrook since 2017. The aim of the trial was to...Read More
18 March, 2022 2 Min Read
Farming Forecaster showcased at recent workshops
Farming Forecaster, the innovative and powerful feed budgeting and stock management tool that has seen a growing popularity amongst the NSW farming community, is now available to Tasmanian graziers. At...Read More
7 March, 2022 2 Min Read
Funding boost for drought resilience
NRM South is thrilled to announce that our $1.445M Drought Resilience Innovation Grant application has been successful. Our “Co-developing and improving digital tools for increased drought resilience with, and for,...Read More
22 February, 2022 2 Min Read
A field day in the Fingal: Talking pasture renovation trials and livestock health
In mid-February we ran a field day in the Fingal Valley, sharing what we’ve learned so far from our strip tillage demonstration site at Speyside. Hosted alongside NRM North, TIA...Read More
15 February, 2022 2 Min Read
MEDIA RELEASE: ‘Farming Forecaster’ for Tasmanian graziers.
Tasmanian graziers will now have access to a new online decision-making tool that has been developed by CSIRO in conjunction with producers, being used with great success across NSW. This...Read More
28 January, 2022 2 Min Read
Regenerative agriculture for drought resilience
A regenerative grazing project at Okehampton (Cape Herbert Pty Ltd), a sheep grazing property near Triabunna on Tasmania’s east coast, is using cutting edge technology and pasture management to optimise...Read More
20 December, 2021 2 Min Read
Tasmanian Farming Forecaster pilot coming soon
Over November, our Regional Agricultural Landcare Facilitator, Tim Ackroyd joined Peter Heading (NRM North’s Agricultural project officer) out in the field. They were gathering information for our dryland soil probe...Read More
25 October, 2021 1 Min Read
Pasture renovation trials and the launch of Farming Forecaster in Tasmania
NRM South is delivering a new drought resilience building project through the Australian Government's Future Drought Fund. This project is a collaboration between NRM South, NRM North, the Tasmanian Institute...Read More
15 December, 2020 2 Min Read
Perennial trials and tribulations
In early December, NRM South’s Regional Agricultural Landcare Facilitator – in collaboration with the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) and the East Coast Primary Producers Association - held a successful...Read More