Climate Change Adaptation Trials Promising

AUSTRALIA - A research and development project to assist Western Australian farmers adapt to climate change has received an encouraging response from growers in the Salmon Gums area, north of Esperance.
calendar icon 21 July 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Department of Agriculture and Food senior researcher Darshan Sharma said North Mallee farmers and other farmer groups were collaborating with the department in the trial work.

“These trials aim to demonstrate innovative on-farm and virtual farm approaches that can assist Western Australian wheatbelt farmers to adapt to climate change,” Dr Sharma said.

“Hopefully, the end result will be to introduce practice changes that will not only create resilience against tightening climate conditions, but will identify and develop new opportunities that climate change can bring to a region.”

The cropping trials examine a number of techniques including stubble rolling, shandying of wheat varieties and fallowing.

Dr Sharma said the crop was progressing well at on-farm demonstration sites in the Salmon Gums area seeded by North Mallee Farm Improvement Group (NMFIG).

“I visited the sites this month, and the results so far are very encouraging,” Dr Sharma said.

“The project got underway last year, and this is the first crop year. A field day at Salmon Gums is planned for 14 September, and is expected to be attended by farmers in the adjoining areas such as those from South East Premium Wheat Growers Association.”

Department development officer Geraldine Pasqual manages the state-wide project under the department’s Practice and Systems Innovation program, directed by the department’s Grains Directorate.

Dr Pasqual said besides the work by the North Mallee group, the project also has linkages with Liebe Group, the Western Australian No-Tillage Farmers Association (WANTFA), Facey Group, the Corrigin Farm Improvement Group and the Kellerberrin Demonstration Group.

“We are also collaborating with University of Western Australia at a site in Pingelly investigating green house gas emissions, with CSIRO for developing modelling tools for climate change, and with Desiree Futures, a York-based company, for modelling future scenarios,” she said.

“Each grower group is undertaking trial demonstrations in collaboration with the department. We are also doing some experiments at the Managed Environment Facility (MEF) at Merredin.”

She said the project was very much a collaborative approach with farmers and scientists from across WA.

“The project is designed to strengthen partnerships with grower groups, building on the department’s strength of two-way communications with the State’s land managers, taking the outcomes of research to them and relating back to research the questions and concerns of farmers about adapting to climate challenges,” she said.

“By working closely with growers we have been able to take on board their ideas about meeting climate change challenges, thereby increasing the practical relevance of the work.”

Dr Pasqual said the trials were being undertaken as part of the National Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative (NAMI).

“The research is being funded by the department, along with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and the Australian Government’s Climate Change Research Programme,” Dr Pasqual said.

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