Betting on Rain! Managing Seasonal Risk in Western NSW

R B Hacker, Y Alemseged, P M Carberry, R H Browne & W J Smith - NSW Department of Primary Industries

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

At the end of the day, all good management involves good planning, decision making and a healthy dose of good luck.  Understanding drivers of our weather patterns may help with this process - good luck!


What is the problem?

Farmers and graziers in western NSW face special challenges in managing their businesses and their land for long-term viability. Not the least of these is posed by the extreme variability and non-seasonal distribution of rainfall. In such an uncertain environment decision making can be particularly difficult and the management of seasonal risk is a key to both business success and astute environmental stewardship.

This guide will provide practical assistance with this important task.

What did the research involve?

Betting on Rain draws together basic information on weather and climate systems, and recent research on the development and application of seasonal risk assessment tools, in the specific context of western NSW.

The guide provides both informative insights into the factors that determine regional weather patterns and practical tools that will allow landholders to utilise what predictability does exist to improve management decision

The research team worked with a network of over 300 landholders across western NSW. Their feedback has helped shape this booklet and I expect that they and others will find it a valuable addition to the earlier rangeland  publications in the glove box guide series.

What were the key findings?

Climate science can not yet provide answers to all the questions that landholders ask about future seasonal conditions. But it can make a practical contribution when the available tools are understood and properly applied.

This publication will make a substantial contribution to that process. It should reward frequent reference whenever
landholders grapple with the climatic uncertainties that confront primary production and land management in western NSW.

Final comment

In conclusion, the guide states that the interaction with the landholder network, both through project newsletters and face to face workshops, was invaluable in identifying those management decisions that are most dependent on seasonal outlooks, as well as the background information on climate and weather systems which would be of practical value to managers.

2006 - Australia - R B Hacker, Y Alemseged, P M Carberry, R H Browne & W J Smith - NSW Department of Primary Industries
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