SILO helping farmers with CliMate
Queensland’s farmers are a resilient group and need to be so. Agriculture industries are typically sensitive to Australia’s extremely variable climate and weather information is a critical asset for farm planning and management.
The Queensland Government publishes historical national climate data as open data to encourage solutions to reduce the impact of climate variability. It is available free of charge to academia, industry and the public in both human and machine-readable formats.
SILO climate data currently covers 19 climate variables, ranging from observed rainfall and temperature to scientifically derived evapotranspiration. The dataset is constructed from Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) observational data and infilled, using a published scientific methodology, to provide complete coverage between 1889 and yesterday, both geographically and over time.
The Australian CliMate app, developed by industry and with the support of the Department of Environment and Science, uses SILO climate and BoM data and provides a user-friendly interface to explore weather information across Australia.
CliMate is used to access rainfall, soil, water and temperature information, summaries of current and past rainfall trends, as well as seasonal outlooks and the reliability of forecast conditions. The app has been adopted throughout Australia’s major farming regions, in general agribusiness, government and crop insurance, but most prominently within the grain and livestock industries. With drought conditions, the app is helping decision makers to use their knowledge of climate and seasonal outlooks to manage drought risk.
"(CliMate) gives you confidence with decisions you make or you know the compromises. You are going to take on risk, doesn’t matter what you do in farming. It’s just a matter of being aware of likely outcomes" - Agronomist, Victoria
CliMate is maintained by the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) for the national ‘Managing Climate Variability Program’. Evaluation of the App indicates proven value as a tool for supporting agriculture and natural resource decision makers, with 36% of farmer respondents indicating that their business income had improved by using CliMate.