Global Warming

Dire Warning For Food Production As Climate Becomes Warmer

A report which examines the effect of climate change on some of Australia’s most common agricultural products – including fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, seafood and meat – paints a dire prediction of future production in a warming world.

The Appetite for Change study suggests farming will need to relocate to new regions and find new drought-tolerant varieties or face much reduced, or poorer quality yields for many of the country’s key agricultural products.

Wine grapes

– Up to 70 per cent of Australia’s winegrowing regions with a Mediterranean climate will be less suitable for grape growing by 2050.

– Iconic grape-growing regions, such as Margaret River in WA, the Barossa and Riverland in SA, Sunraysia in Victoria, and the Riverina in NSW, will be the most affected by higher temperatures and lower rainfall, especially for red varieties such as shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.

– Conditions for wine growing will improve in places like Tasmania.

Scallops

– Southern scallops are fished in Victoria and Tasmania, seas off southeast Australia are warming faster than anywhere else in the southern hemisphere.

– Warmer water, together with changes in oxygen and food, may mean southern scallops effectively disappear from our plates.

– Both northern (Saucer scallops) and southern scallops will have to cope with more acidic seawater, which is likely to thin their shells, reduce their growth, survival and reproductive success and make them less able to elude predators.

Dairy

– Milk volume and quality for cheese production is likely to be affected by warmer temperatures and increased frequency of heatwaves.

– Heat stress on dairy cows typically reduces milk yield by 10 to 25 per cent, and as much as 40 per cent in extreme heatwaves.

– Heatwaves also reduce pasture quality, leading to a decline in the quality of milk for cheese production

Peaches

– Without enough winter chill, flowering is disrupted, leading to lower yields of fruit.

– Climate change effects on peach growing will differ greatly among regions.

– Minimal impacts anticipated for Tasmania.

– South-west of Western Australia expected to experience notable declines in cold weather.

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