Farmers already preparing for likely supercharged El Niño conditions

Farmers for Climate Action

With a possible El Niño on the cards, Farmers for Climate Action is urging farmers to get on the front foot.

Farmers for Climate Action spokesperson Peter Holding, who farms at Harden NSW, said many farmers were concerned about the possibility of warmer, drier conditions and increased weather variability for eastern Australia this spring and summer.

“The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) hasn’t called it yet, but it says there’s a 70% chance we’ll have an El Niño this year. It’s also worried dry conditions could be compounded by a positive Indian Ocean Dipole.”

Farmers for Climate Action, an organisation representing 8000 farmers, is hosting a webinar “El Niño explained” next week, bringing together a range of speakers, including from the BoM and Birchip Cropping Group.

Mr Holding said the webinar was aimed at supporting farmers to better understand what is coming, and also what they can do on farm to prepare.

“Although some farmers have had good conditions recently, we know things can change in a few months. This is a great opportunity to get your head around what’s coming and how you might think about responding.”

Mr Holding said that Australian farmers are great at adapting, but that ultimately we need to address the driving cause of climate change – emissions.

“Farmers are always looking three steps ahead to the next event but there are limits to their adaptation. While we adapt and mitigate on-farm, we need to know the rest of the economy is doing its bit to reduce emissions and tackle climate change, which is causing more frequent and severe weather events.”

Grazier Bruce Currie near Jericho in Queensland’s central-west, said prolonged hot, dry conditions would hit some farmers, but also rural communities. “Farmers aren’t, can’t and won’t wait for a formal El Niño declaration.” Mr Currie explained.

“Once a climate change-fuelled El Niño hits that lasts longer and is more severe, [it] means farmers have to de-stock earlier and for longer.”

Guest speakers at Farmers for Climate Action’s ‘El Niño explained’ webinar:

Catherine Ganter, Senior Climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, Graeme Hand a Holistic Management Certified Educator and Fiona Best, CEO of Birchip Cropping Group.

Thursday, 20 July at 12pm (AEST)

/Public Release.