The risks rising temperatures pose to the Australian agriculture industry

A report released by the Australian Academy of Science has synthesised the effects that an increase of 3°C will have on Australian ecosystems, humans and agriculture.

The agriculture industry is expected to be impacted by increased heat waves and decreasing water supply that will hinder crop growing, animal livestock and fisheries.

A key impact will be the reduction in rainfall and overall water availability. The effects include droughts, increased water prices for irrigation and changing land productivity. Already, the study stated that they had observed reductions of up to 27 per cent in wheat and barley yields.

The report also found that climate change has reduced Australia broad-acre farm profitability by 22 per cent since 2000 with the reduction in rainfall having the ability to reduce crop growing land in the “dry” areas of Australia’s to grazing land only.

Alongside decreasing rain, the study predicted an increase in heat waves that would negatively impact animal welfare, reproduction and production. The increased swings between heat waves and extreme rainfall could cause heat stress to animals and humans alike, while reducing feed availability and increasing soil erosion.

These heat and water factors have the potential to reduce overall farm profitability through reducing crop yields between 5 and 50 per cent.

Fisheries would be impacted through ocean warming and acidification changing aquaculture functioning. These could have a detrimental impact on aquaculture reproduction and existence of the industry itself with impacts on fish stock levels and distribution in Australian waters.

To read the full report click here.

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