New Zealand’s weather patterns are shifting and temperatures are warming. Looking to the future, farmers, foresters and growers can expect a mixed bag of opportunities and challenges. Planning for future conditions now, rather than the past is important.
Key impacts and management responses to a changing climate on cropping, farming and forestry systems are presented in a newly released summary report from the Ministry for Primary Industries.
The research shows that pasture, crop and tree growth rates are expected to increase but so too are droughts and floods. The experience and skills farmers and growers already have will hold them in good stead says the report. Just relying on ‘business as usual’ won’t be enough but those skills will remain important.
“New Zealand’s temperate climate gives us our competitive advantage in our export markets” Julie Collins, Acting Deputy Director General, MPI says. “Any change in that climate means that we need to know what’s happening on our land to stay ahead of the game”.
Impacts vary by region, farm type and crop. A range of things can be done to production systems that will also improve profitability. Shifting spring breakeven dates, changing cropping timetables or altering pruning regimes could all help.
Julie a forester by training knows the risks of drought and the value of being prepared. “The day to day tasks are important but being profitable means making sure the business is heading in the right direction over the long-term.” Her take home message is “a successful business is about taking opportunities, planning and making investments and this means managing risk, including climate. This report gives people a heads up on what a changing climate means, with ideas to help manage that risk”.
The land-based sectors are well-positioned to capture opportunities and meet the challenges ahead. See MPI’s website for a copy of the summary report.