Climate Change, Wheat Yields and Farm Profitability in North Western Victoria: Projections and Adaptation Challenges

Researcher

Summary

The project utilised actual farm level data and an innovative methodological approach to shed light on the impact of unfolding climate change scenarios that highlights the role of farmers’ adaptation behaviour in determining the specific outcomes. The research utilised actual historic (1993-2018) data on farm-level yield and weather (temperature and rainfall) for 37 farms within the Wimmera & Mallee regions. The analysis of this historical farm data indicated that exposure to freezing temperatures (≤0°C) during vegetative and the reproductive phases, and exposure to extreme temperature during grain filling phase (>32°C) had deeper negative effects on yields. The reproductive season is the most sensitive to temperature extremes. Overall, our results highlighted how wheat yields depend not only on changes in the annual temperature and rainfall patterns but also on their changes within the year, over the different phases of the crop growing cycle. These findings, according to feedback we received, are consistent with farmers’ experiences and agronomists’ expectations.

A detailed report was provided recently to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), State Government of Victoria, that sponsored the project. Technical papers and policy briefs are on the way.

Read the report