Aussie farmers to get world-leading seasonal forecasts

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Friday, 05 February, 2016

Aussie farmers to get world-leading seasonal forecasts

The Bureau of Meteorology is making strong progress with its $3.3 million project to provide better seasonal forecasts for farmers.

The project forms part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources' efforts to improve agricultural competitiveness.

It aims to give farmers more accurate, localised and frequent forecasting information to help farmers better manage risk and make informed business decisions.

"This is one of the first projects to leverage off the power of the bureau's new supercomputer, which was funded by the Australian government in 2015. The supercomputer is on track to be operational from later this year and will have 20 times the current power,” said Environment Minister Greg Hunt.

"The supercomputer allows higher resolution and the models will be more frequent and more sophisticated. Ultimately, this means more accurate forecasting."

With the upgrade, the new seasonal forecasting service will improve the modelling resolution from 250 km down to just 60 km. Updates will also be delivered weekly instead of monthly.

Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce said the potential value of improving seasonal forecasts to the agricultural sector is estimated at over $1 billion per year.

"It is expected that improvements in outlook accuracy from the project will give our farmers access to the world's best seasonal outlooks for Australia," he said.

The development of this new model involves extensive consultation with farmers and other stakeholders to ensure that the service will give farmers the information they need in a format that is clear, concise and easy to access.

Implementation of the new model and design and testing of the online user interface will commence this year, and be conducted in stages. The new service is expected to be fully operational by the 2018–19 financial year.

Image courtesy of Bs0u10e0 under CC

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