Cattle producers in WA stand to benefit from international research into developing “climate-ready” beef breeds with a high heat-tolerance threshold. Led by a team from India’s Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, with some collaboration from the University of WA, the research focuses on the potential future use of dwarf genetics in breeding systems.
Farmers, insurers and researchers in Queensland, Australia have been working together on a new project to offer a more affordable alternative to multi-peril crop insurance, using index insurance to protect against natural disasters like cyclones. The project has been developed as part of the state government’s Drought and Climate Adaptation Program and aims to address the issue of low insurance take-up among farmers in Australia.
While drought policy raises many complex emotional, political and policy issues, it can be helpful to think of it as an insurance problem: how can we best help farmers manage climate risk? Drought insurance has been a long-standing goal and it’s easy to understand why. If viable, drought insurance markets could help farmers manage climate risk without the costs and potential side effects of government drought support.
Last Friday Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Australia is setting up a billion-dollar fund to "future proof" the country against droughts. Eastern Australia has been hit by a crippling drought –in some areas for several years- that has forced graziers to hand-feed, sell or even shoot their stock.
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has lent its support to a series of proposals designed to improve the uptake of farm income and crop insurance for primary producers in Australia. Rob Whelan, Chief Executive Officer of the ICA, said that access to better data, removing unfair taxes, and introducing incentives would be key factors in improving the resilience of Australian farmers during droughts or following extreme weather events such as floods or cyclones.
Drought is expected to cut eastern Australia’s crop production this year to less than half the average over the past 20 years, with New South Wales to be worst hit, the country’s agricultural commodities forecaster said. While some regions are facing the worst conditions in memory, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics said the drought-hit areas are smaller than in previous droughts.
Widespread drought had pushed thousands of Queensland farmers to the brink of survival, with nearly half suffering a dive in their income to below 50 per cent of average years as the six-year drought persists. The October survey by Queensland farm group Agforce revealed 80 per cent of farmers had pruned their sheep and cattle numbers by at least 25 per cent, with many destocking their properties and trying to exist without any income other than government emergency farm household welfare payments.
Fruit flies are one of the world’s most destructive horticultural pests and pose risks to most commercial fruit and vegetable crops. This has major implications for the sustainable production and market access of Australia’s multi-billion-dollar horticultural industry. Worldwide there are over 4,000 species of fruit flies in the family Tephritidae of which around 350 species are of economic importance.
The Australian handbook for the identification of fruit flies has always been popular with fruit fly diagnosticians, biosecurity workers, and the general fruit fly community. Now that it has been fully revised and updated it’s an even more valuable resource. Additional online information has also been developed via the companion website Fruit Fly Identification Australia.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Oct. 12 forecast Australian wheat production and exports in 2018-19 to be the lowest since 2007-08. The USDA forecast Australian wheat production in 2018-19 at 18.5 million tonnes, down 1.5 million tonnes from the September outlook, down 2.8 million tonnes, or 13%, from 21.3 million tonnes in 2017-18 and compared with a record 31.8 million tonnes in 2016-17.
Thursday's wild storms have cost a Queensland family a $AU2 million crop of peaches and nectarines, and they're not insured. The storm that annihilated the Francis family's peach and nectarine orchard came and went in 20 furious minutes. But the squash-ball sized hail it dumped has left the family with losses totalling $AU2 million, a third of the way through what should have been a bumper harvest.
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