Climate change is likely to have several impacts on agriculture in Australia. The effect
of rising temperatures and a change in rainfall may result in unpredictable yields and variable productivity from year to year. Another significant impact is the potential of government policy, in response to climate change, to increase on farm costs.
One way that land managers may adapt to these changes is to diversify their farming enterprise by looking into alternative income sources. If traditional crops become unreliable under a changing climate, the establishment of alternative crops may help farming enterprises to become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
This doesn’t have to mean whole farm practice change. Perennial woody species such as Oil Mallee and Australian Sandalwood can be integrated into traditional farming systems including grazing and cropping. with minimal disturbance to current farming practices. These perennial species may not only help build financial resilience but can also address NRM issues including those associated with climate change.
Australian Sandalwood seedling germinating on a farm
near Halidon in the SA Murray Mallee.
The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) has launched a website which helps landmanager’s identify options for diversifying on farm. The search tool allows users to investigate alternative plants or animals based on location, rainfall, soil type, climatic zone and existing enterprises.
To explore the plants or animals that might be suitable for you farm visit http://www.farmdiversity.com.au/