Valuing seasonal climate forecasts in the northern Australia beef industry

Article


Cobon, D. H., Darbyshire, R., Crean, J., Kodur, S., Simpson, M. and Jarvis, C.. 2020. "Valuing seasonal climate forecasts in the northern Australia beef industry." Weather, Climate and Society. 12 (1), pp. 3-14. https://doi.org/10.1175/WCAS-D-19-0018.1
Article Title

Valuing seasonal climate forecasts in the northern Australia beef industry

ERA Journal ID122991
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsCobon, D. H. (Author), Darbyshire, R. (Author), Crean, J. (Author), Kodur, S. (Author), Simpson, M. (Author) and Jarvis, C. (Author)
Journal TitleWeather, Climate and Society
Journal Citation12 (1), pp. 3-14
Number of Pages12
Year2020
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN1948-8327
1948-8335
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1175/WCAS-D-19-0018.1
Abstract

Seasonal climate forecasts (SCFs) provide opportunities for pastoralists to align production decisions to climatic conditions, as SCFs offer economic value by increasing certainty about future climatic states at decision-making time. Insufficient evidence about the economic value of SCFs was identified as a major factor limiting adoption of SCFs in Australia and abroad. This study examines the value of SCFs to beef production system management in northern Australia by adopting a theoretical probabilistic climate forecast system. Stocking rate decisions in October, before the onset of the wet season, were identified by industry as a key climate sensitive decision. The analysis considered SCF value across economic drivers (steer price in October) and environmental drivers (October pasture availability). A range in forecast value was found (0-$14/head) dependent on pasture availability, beef price and SCF skill. Skilful forecasts of future climate conditions offered little value with medium or high pasture availability, as in these circumstances, pastures were rarely over-utilised. In contrast, low pasture availability provided conditions for alternative optimal stocking rates and for SCFs to be valuable. Optimal stocking rates under low pasture availability varied the most with climate state (i.e. wet or dry), indicating that producers have more to gain from a skilful SCF at these times. Although the level of pasture availability in October was the major determinant of stocking rate decisions, beef price settings were also found to be important. This analysis provides insights into the potential value of SCFs to extensive beef enterprises and can be used by pastoralists to evaluate the cost-benefit of using a SCF in annual management.

Keywordscattle production, pasture growth, GRASP model
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020380101. Agricultural economics
410406. Natural resource management
490304. Optimisation
Public Notes

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. Published version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

Byline AffiliationsCentre for Applied Climate Sciences
Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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Cobon, David H., Stone, Grant S., Carter, John O., Scanlan, Joe C., Toombs, Nathan R., Zhang, Xike, Willcocks, Jacqui and McKeon, Greg M.. 2009. "The climate change risk management matrix for the grazing industry of northern Australia." The Rangeland Journal. 31 (1), pp. 31-49. https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ08069
Forecasting rainfall based on the Southern Oscillation Index phases at longer lead-times in Australia
Cobon, David H. and Toombs, Nathan R.. 2013. "Forecasting rainfall based on the Southern Oscillation Index phases at longer lead-times in Australia." The Rangeland Journal. 35 (4), pp. 373-383. https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ12105
Summative evaluation of climate application activities with pastoralists in western Queensland
Cobon, D. H., Bell, K. L., Park, J. N. and Keogh, D. U.. 2008. "Summative evaluation of climate application activities with pastoralists in western Queensland." The Rangeland Journal. 30 (3), pp. 361-374. https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ06030