Preparing for extreme drought & unpredictable weather patterns

Now that the dust has settled, we can look back at the extreme weather patterns Australia experienced in 2019.

Two stark statistics stand out in particular: 2019 was the country’s hottest and driest year on record. And records now show that Australia is warming faster than the global average.

Climate variability has long been a serious consideration for Australia’s red meat producers, given the natural variability of the country’s weather. Farmers have historically experienced significant shifts from year to year, and sometimes even within the same year. But the spectrum has broadened to unprecedented extremes as a result of climate change. The increased frequency and intensity of scorching heatwaves and relentless drought are both cases in point.


Getting to the root of the issue

It’s crucial to identify which practices have the most detrimental impact on the environment so that you can tackle them head on. It’s only by addressing the root causes of climate change that we can slow the dramatic effect it has on our ecosystems. For the red meat industry, carbon emissions are an ongoing issue.

It’s a matter the Australian red meat industry takes very seriously, as demonstrated by our commitment to being carbon neutral by 2030 – the first red meat industry in the world to do so. In support of that ambition, MLA is investing funds in research and development and providing tools for farmers to implement sustainable production practices across Australia. 



The impacts of climate change are being felt the most by Australian farmers who live and work on the land. Preparedness for extreme weather events will determine farmers’ ability to continue producing red meat in the quantity and quality that Australian export markets have come to expect. Resilience in the face of uncertainty is a difficult but paramount objective for our industry.  

Research, insights and advice have been pooled across several initiatives and guidelines available to Australian farmers. Drought preparedness and management resources are available from MLA and Government departments. MLA has created a comprehensive checklist outlining the most important issues farmers should consider in their drought management strategies.

Farmers can also access assistance from different bodies, such as the Australian Government and the Rural Assistance Authority, including financing, counselling, community support and infrastructure.


Peace of mind for importers

The scale and breadth of Australia’s geographic diversity and drought preparedness efforts should reassure importers in foreign markets like the EU that Australia’s red meat producers are capable of coping with climate variability without experiencing major interruptions to the steady supply of top-quality meat. Our ability to meet customer requirements is what underpins our global status as a reliable meat exporter.


Article Date: 9th March 2020

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