Cape York NRM have installed the last of three internet – enabled weather stations in Lakeland in order to provide the local producers with more reliable weather information to help them make important decisions around nutrient and water use.
Regional Extension Coordinator Oliver McConnachie, who is leading the initiative, said gathering weather information accurately at the local level and integrating it with Bureau of Meteorology data will lead to more reliable weather predictions.
‘Current weather data available for Lakeland, about an hour south of Cooktown, and districts further west, is very limited, which means it offers little value to weather modelling and hence prediction. Lakeland is probably the heart of the Cape’s agricultural sector and being able to better predict weather is a dream come true,’ Oliver explained.
‘Setting up weather stations at strategic locations on key properties allows land managers to access the most up to date forecast simply by logging into an app on their phone. This gives producers the quality of data they need to better inform business decisions.
For example, if rain is predicted, producers can hold off on watering or delay fertiliser applications. These things may seem small but save time and money and ultimately reduce the amount of sediment and nutrient run - off into local waterways.’
‘The other exciting thing about this initiative is that it was producer – driven. Part of my role is to establish local producer networks so producers can learn from each other, and choose what expertise they wish to improve by inviting guest presenters and advisors.
Producer groups, once established can begin applying for funding otherwise not available to them as individual businesses which benefits all group members as well as the community as a whole. The weather stations story is just one of many exciting example of producer lead intervention suggested by, and benefiting, local farmers.’
This initiative is funded by the Queensland Government Reef Water Quality Program and delivered by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries with partner organisations Cape York NRM and Terrain NRM