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Objective 5—Manage risk to maximise profit and minimise losses

Risk is an important part of the profit equation.

Risk management that is too conservative can limit profit in above-average production years, while approaches that are too aggressive can expose the grower to equity issues that adversely impact profit and future operations. In addition, grower attitude to risk is a key determinant of the speed and scale of the uptake of new technology.

2019–20 investment summary

RD&E

Projects

Investment

New

4

$0.5m

Ongoing

9

$0.8m

Total

11

$1.3m

Key investments 2019–20

Examples of investments in 2019–20 that met this objective include:

Using seasonal forecast information and tools to manage risk and increase profitability in the southern region—Agriculture Victoria expands the break

Seasonal forecasting products and services developed in 2019–20 include:

  • 9 video summaries produced monthly for South Australia and Victoria
  • three deep dive seasonal outlook webinars for Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria for autumn, winter, spring
  • eleven fast break multi-model seasonal forecast summary tables for Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria
  • two advisor training workshops on a framework for using forecasts to better manage risk over course of project
  • new seasonal forecasting web tool kit with El Niño–Southern Oscillation/Indian Ocean Dipole monthly rainfall charts for southern region locations.

Air inversion modelling to manage spray drift

This project, which is nearing completion, uses Mesonet towers to model air inversions. During 2019–20, models were developed and tested and an online alert system for inversions was also tested. The result provides real time information for growers to assess spray risk. The investment has proven to have a high impact where current warning systems have been in place, enabling people to mitigate spray risk by not spraying when an inversion does occur. This project has been modelled in a very high-risk area with neighbouring susceptible industries (i.e. grapes). The information is being used to model inversions for adaptation to scale, but may require further investment to scale to all highly susceptible areas.

Forewarned is forearmed

This rural research and development (R&D) for-profit funded project equips farmers and agricultural value chains to proactively manage the impacts of extreme climate events. We have partnered with six other research and development corporations (RDCs), the Bureau of Meteorology, three universities and three state departments to co-invest in activities including a new multi-week forecast product based on extreme temperatures, which is tailored to on-farm risk management. Substantial progress has been made in the four work packages that comprise the project, which are:

  • user needs and forecast system development
  • the development and delivery of extreme forecast products
  • interfacing to industry decisions
  • extension and training.

In 2019–20 this project delivered several outputs, including: technical improvements in the Bureau of Meteorology’s seasonal climate forecasting system; developed new extreme temperature forecast products; and prototyped other products based on user feedback from different agricultural sectors. A popular monthly webinar series has been launched to upskill growers, producers and advisors in applied climate science.