Climate Change & Dairy
- The science of climate change is clear and has been recognised by governments and industries all around the world. It poses both opportunity and risks to the Australian dairy industry.
- Dairy Australia is committed to supporting the dairy industry respond to the opportunities and challenges of climate change.
- Dairy Australia's immediate research, development and extension efforts are described in the Climate Change Strategy 2020-25.
Climate change is threatening key resources that support life on earth, with the impacts of global warming already being felt. This has been recognised by governments and industries all around the world.
Australia is already the world's driest inhabited continent with the most variable climate. Climate change will exacerbate these conditions and the risks to dairy farm profitability. There is evidence that the 2040 scenarios for physical changes to climate are happening now in some dairy regions.
Adaptation is not an optional add-on for businesses and many dairy farmers are already demonstrating their ability to adapt to an increasingly uncertain climate. While at the same time demonstration of dairy's mitigation efforts is non-negotiable and is already becoming a fundamental part of business planning.
Dairy Australia's commitment to supporting the dairy industry address the challenge of climate change
Dairy Australia's Climate Commitment is to Adapt. Preserve. Embed. and Invest. in solutions for dairy farmers to continue to adapt and reduce emissions.
Responding to the risk of climate change includes both addressing exposure to climate change (acute and chronic physical impacts), as well as understanding the transitional costs (financial and legal requirements) required for a business to continue to operate in a global economy which is increasingly trending towards zero-carbon.
Dairy Australia and the wider industry will work on-farm, in manufacturing and in distribution to find and enable smart, sustainable and cost-effective solutions to meet dairy farmer's adaptation challenges as well as industry targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Dairy Australia's investments in climate change
For a list of Dairy Australia's active investments in climate change see the Climate Change Strategy - Investment Summary (2021).
Dairy Australia's climate change and energy portfolio is building on a wealth of knowledge and insights developed through previous research studies in this space. The industry is not starting from scratch in terms of responding to climate change. Dairy farmers have been adapting and implementing novel approaches to farming system challenges for decades.
For detail on each of the work areas, click through to the following pages:
Further climate change resources available to dairy farmers
Dairy climate change learning and development package
Available late 2021 via Dairy Australia's extension platform, Enlight, this L&D package will be a one-stop-shop for for dairy farmers to access comprehensive knowledge on the challenge of climate change for their business.
Dairy Australia YouTube Playlist - Climate change and dairy
Weather and climate tools for farmers
There are a number of useful tools available to help farmers better understand and forecast weather and climate at a local level. A number of relevant sites/tools for dairy farmers have been provided below.
Dairy Australia is currently working on a collaborative project to develop improved seasonal forecasting tools for farmers. The Forewarned is Forearmed project is using farmer reference groups to analyse existing weather and seasonal forecasting tools and determine the best fit-for-purpose data that can help with on-farm decision making. The project will deliver outputs by June 2021 which will be made available on this page once finalised.
For information on seasonal outlooks and conditions, visit the Bureau of Meteorology Climate Outlooks.
Climate Kelpie is for Australian farmers and their advisors. It connects them to tools and information about climate to help them make decisions about their farm business.
Regional climate guides
Australia's climate has warmed by just over one degree Celsius since 1910, leading to an increase in the frequency of extreme heat events. Australian climate change projections show how Australia's climate may change in the future. The projections indicate that continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Understanding of the climate influences across Australia is vital to down-scaling global climate change impacts for Australia and regions. See Climate Change in Australia for more information.
More detailed regional weather and climate information has been developed by the Bureau of Meteorology for all of the 56 regional catchments across Australia. These provide a summary of the latest climate information by catchment (2019) and are freely available on the Bureau of Meteorology website.
Access the Climate Guide for your region here.