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Whole farm planning raises profit despite burgeoning climate crisis


Muleke, A and Harrison, MT and Eisner, R and de Voil, P and Yanotti, MB and Liu, K and Yin, X and Wang, W and Monjardino, M and Zhao, J and Zhang, F and Fahad, S and Zhang, Y, Whole farm planning raises profit despite burgeoning climate crisis, Scientific Reports, 12, (1) Article 17188. ISSN 2045-2322 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1038/s41598-022-20896-z


The climate crisis challenges farmer livelihoods as increasingly frequent extreme weather events impact the quantum and consistency of crop production. Here, we develop a novel paradigm to raise whole farm profit by optimising manifold variables that drive the profitability of irrigated grain farms. We build then invoke a new decision support tool WaterCan Profit to optimise crop type and areas that collectively maximise farm profit. We showcase four regions across a climate gradient in the Australian cropping zone. The principles developed can be applied to cropping regions or production systems anywhere in the world. We show that the number of profitable crop types fell from 35 to 10 under future climates, reflecting the interplay between commodity price, yield, crop water requirements and variable costs. Effects of climate change on profit were not related to long-term rainfall, with future climates depressing profit by 11-23% relative to historical climates across zones. Impacts of future climates were closely related to crop type and maturity duration; indeed, many crop types that were traditionally profitable under historical climates were no longer profitable in future. We demonstrate that strategic whole farm planning regarding crop types and areas can yield significant economic benefits. We suggest that future work on drought adaptation consider genetic selection criteria more diverse than yield alone. Crop types with (1) higher value per unit grain weight, (2) lower water requirements and (3) higher water-use efficiency are more likely to ensure the sustainability and prosperity of irrigated grain production systems under future climates.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climate change, climate crisis, water, policy, profit, planning, strategy, extreme event, climate variability, irrigation, grain yield, phenology, sowing time, flowering, anthesis, social licence, soil, moisture, adaptation, mitigation, water price
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Agriculture, land and farm management
Research Field:Agricultural land planning
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Climate change adaptation measures (excl. ecosystem)
UTAS Author:Muleke, A (Mr Albert Muleke)
UTAS Author:Harrison, MT (Associate Professor Matthew Harrison)
UTAS Author:Eisner, R (Dr Rowan Eisner)
UTAS Author:Yanotti, MB (Dr Maria Yanotti)
UTAS Author:Liu, K (Dr Ke Liu)
ID Code:153501
Year Published:2022
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:TIA - Research Institute
Deposited On:2022-09-21
Last Modified:2023-01-18

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