The federal government has released a national set of innovative guides to local climate trends to highlight new production risks and limitations, as Drought Minister David Littleproud tours drought-hit towns with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
Visiting farmers and small businesses in Inverell, NSW as well as Stanthorpe and Warwick in Queensland, the Treasurer will witness some of the country's most heavily impacted drought regions.
Meanwhile, Mr Littleproud has released a set of nation-wide Regional Weather and Climate Guides which were developed by the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, FarmLink farming systems group and funded with $2.7 million from the Commonwealth's drought response.
"The hurt of the drought is not just to the economy, it's to the people who live here. It's not just the farmers who are affected, it's the local car dealer, the people who work in the cafe and the real estate agents," Mr Frydenburg said yesterday after speaking with Inverell business owners.
"From a Commonwealth perspective, we are focusing on income support, financing new infrastructure and backing local governments as well as not-for-profit organisations."
Today Mr Littleproud released the first 20 of 56 climate guides spanning all natural resource management regions country-wide.
The guides are designed as hip-pocket aid. They compare the past 30 years of climatic conditions to the 30 years before then - that means the 1960s, 70s and 80s compared against the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s up to now.
The aim of the game is to deliver practical, decision-making information to farmers such as when to plant crops, store fodder, lease land, build water storages, take out loans, and so on.
"The guides will make sure cockies know their climate risks and opportunities," Mr Littleproud said.
"This includes rainfall and temperature trends, frost risk, when to expect the wet season, and the nature of local droughts, floods and heatwaves."
BoM Agriculture Program acting general manager Luke Shelley likes to call the guides a strategic decision making tool.
"The best way to describe it is risk management. For example, if we had some data that showed you the highest frost risk is in August, and the data also showed wheat flowering in August, you could see the odds stacked against you," Mr Shelley said.
"The guides demonstrate farming today is different to farming in the 1960s and 70s. There's enough in that sentence alone that you need to take notice of them.
"Across the country, we are already able to demonstrate lots of regions have a lot more heatwaves, changed frost risk and different rainfall timings."
The guide for the Condamine natural resource management region, covering Warwick where the Treasurer and Drought Minister will visit, showed a range of shifts to farm inputs over the past 30 years.
Annual rainfall has decreased by around 9 per cent overall, and monthly rainfall averages have dropped across the calendar year. However, summer rainfall has been reliable compared to other seasons.
Autumn and winter have been the most unreliable over the past three decades and from July to September rainfall fell by 27pc, limiting spring soil moisture.
Over the past thirty years Condamine's average rainfall between May and November decreased by 41 mm for Chinchilla, falling from 299mm in 1959-1988 to 258mm in 1989-2018.
Warwick's winter rainfall was 60mm lower, falling from 350mm in 1959-1988 to 290mm in 1989-2018.
Mr Littleproud said he was focused on drought's impact on local economies, which was why he had Mr Frydenberg to the bush.
"The question is, what can we do to keep the human capital in towns now, and for the future," he said.
"This is a listening and learning exercise, and to have the Treasurer, he's the man who has the keys to the chequebook, that's why I've got him out here for the next couple of days."
Climate guides for 20 natural resource management regions were released today, the remainder of the 56 are expected by mid-October.
View the climate guides here.