8 Jun 2012

Research on effects of climate change

10:48 pm on 8 June 2012

Advanced computer modelling is being used to assess how farms will fare from climate change.

Waikato University student Electra Kalaugher is using case study farms from throughout New Zealand and adding future climate scenarios from NIWA to predict what effect climate change will have on profitability.

She says early modelling shows most farms will suffer negatively, but a change in management methods is likely to compensate for that.

Ms Kalaugher says one change that has been evident is in seasonal pasture growth. In many cases, there is more of a dip in the middle of the season but making more silage has been quite effective in smoothing out the feed gap.

She says other things include getting irrigation, changing pasture species and looking at reducing stocking rates.

Ms Kalaugher says climate change is something farmers can't really ignore and should be included in future planning.

She says she has been pleasantly surprised at how enthusiastic farmers in the case study have been about her work.

Ms Kalaugher has taken many of their suggestions on board about other things they would like to see modelled under the future climate scenarios.