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Enhancing communication with farmers Peter Hayman Australia.

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Presentation on theme: "Enhancing communication with farmers Peter Hayman Australia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Enhancing communication with farmers Peter Hayman Australia

2 Communication the extension program could not begin because the loud hailers have not yet arrived Cited by N. Rölling (1988) Communication is the reciprocal construction and clarification of meaning by interacting people not the one way flow of a signal.

3 An innovation – new way of solving an old problem An innovation presents uncertainty – is it appropriate for my long term self interest to adopt or reject ? I might seek information, trial, wait and see or adopt with the option of future rejection. Information – knowledge is different to an embedded technology like a seed

4 Empowering farmers & their advisers to tell agrometeorology what they see as important for agriculture Communicating – dialoguing – discussing – arguing Dancing in the Rain – farmers and agricultural scientists in a variable climate Risk only makes sense in the mind and culture of the decision maker

5 Realizing the potential of climate prediction to agriculture Hansen (2002) Ag Systems 74: A need that is real and perceived by decision makers 2.Forecast of appropriate parameter with sufficient accuracy and lead time 3.Decision options that can use forecast 4.Effective communication between climate science and decision maker 5.Institutional commitment and favourable policies

6 Realizing the potential of climate prediction to agriculture 1.A need that is real and perceived by decision maker 2.Forecast of appropriate parameter with sufficient accuracy and lead time 3.Decision options that can use forecast 4.Effective communication between climate science and decision maker 5.Institutional commitment and favourable policies

7 Meteorological equivalent of double helix Science's gift to the 21st Century. Glantz The New Green Revolution. Cited in Hansen 2002

8 We have a mis-match Easterling 1999 Making Seasonal Climate Forecasts Matter Forecasts of climate based on the interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere is one of the premiere advances of the atmospheric science at the close of the 20th century. Seasonal climate forecasts are ill suited to decision making and decision making is ill suited to seasonal climate forecasts

9 Strong El nino signal leads to higher variability + some prediction

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14 Categorical forecasts If_Then_Else IF the season is going to be dry - THEN plant wheat & chickpeas ELSE – canola IF the season is going to be wet - THEN increase stocking rate ELSE – normal stocking rate

15 Farmers have always known what to do with an accurate forecast when more records are available, an accurate forecast can probably be made for a considerable period in advance….. for if it be known that a succession of dry seasons are due, understocking the country must be resorted to, and its reverse when damp seasons are to follow John Barling 1902

16 Strong El nino signal leads to higher variability + some prediction

17 April to October rain in 12 El Nino years Footprint of each one is different A farmer might get 6 in their lifetime More El Nino events than bad droughts El Nino is increased risk of drought

18 The challenge of communicating skilful but uncertain forecasts Categorical SCF would be simpler – but everything should be made as simple as possible but no simpler (Einstein) Best understood as a random sampling of a distribution

19 Why we need probabilities 1. It is honest to be clear about the uncertainties. Laplace Probability refers in part to our knowledge and in part to our ignorance 2. Probabilities encourage risk management The belief in, and acceptance of, a range of alternative outcomes.

20 Using forecasts to know which way to lean not jump If the end point is better risk management, misunderstanding forecasts as categorical will result in poorer risk management than if people never heard of the forecast We know enough for you to adjust your risk management, not abandon it.

21 Communicating probability is hard Farmers have said they want to know whether it is likely to be dry, wet or average, not whether there is a 60% chance of getting 40% of the average rainfall Mumbling so that can never be wrong

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23 However ….... People deal with uncertainty all the time - buy shares, get married, live on fault line, plant crops, buy cattle Is it that people are not used to hearing about uncertainty from scientists ?

24 Winter in Tamworth < 266 mm > 340 mm

25 June - Nov when April May SOI phase is negative or rapidly rising

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30 Many ways of talking about probabilities Time series Frequency Drawing straws – sweets from a bag

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33 Risky Decisions Choice Consequence IF you use X rate of fertiliser you will get Y yield Choice chance consequences If you use X rate of fertiliser, depending on the season, you will get Y (1) Y (2) Y (3)

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35 Thankyou


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