Forewarned is forearmed (FWFA): equipping farmers and agricultural value chains to proactively manage the impacts of extreme climate events


Australian farmers and agribusiness operate in one of the most variable climates of any country in the world, with extreme events and climate variability the largest drivers of fluctuations in annual agricultural income and production.

This national project will undertake research and forecast product development to deliver a state-of-the-art forecasting service for extreme climate events. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) will conduct research to deliver forecasts of the likelihood of climate extremes on multi-week and seasonal timescales – beyond the traditional seven-day weather forecast. It will provide farmers with the first ever forecasts of extreme climate events weeks to seasons ahead.

Project outline

The project will include research, product development and extension teams, representing a range of industries, working directly with farmers and farm consultants, to interface the forecasts with agricultural decisions, develop risk management strategies to proactively prepare for these events, as well as extending project outputs to farmers and advisors.

This project will deliver direct value to farmers through improving the forecast of extremes (e.g. extreme high or low rainfall, heat, cold and frost) equipping farmers with the information and tools to be forewarned and proactively prepared. It will provide farmers with the first ever forecasts of extreme climate events weeks to seasons ahead, with the aim of decreasing their impacts on farm and industry profit.

The University of Melbourne (UOM) will conduct research to deliver an extreme event risk management framework for the dairy and southern red-meat industries. This will be achieved through a structured process of consultation with an industry-specific reference group, who will: a) identify the extreme event risks of consequence to their industry, b) identify a number of appropriate response scenarios to each identified extreme event and c) provide feedback to the BOM on the products produced. The response scenarios will be subject to whole farm biophysical and economic analysis before incorporation into a final risk management framework for each industry.

The full project structure is summarised below. The UOM research focused on Modules 3 and 4.