Supporting farmers for drought resilience

This project is being delivered by NRM South in collaboration with NRM North, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, Agriprove and producer groups affected by drought. It aims to support drought-affected farmers with new strategies to improve drought resilience.


This project aims to increase farmer capacity and responsiveness for managing more resilient feed-bases in drought-prone areas in Tasmania.

This project will be helping farmers in drought-prone regions of Tasmania using two main approaches.

  1. Testing locally innovative methods for responsively managing ground cover and informing farmers about the potential of strip tillage as a cost-effective approach for pasture establishment and renovation.
  2. Farming Forecaster pilot – a powerful feed budgeting and stock management tool for farmers and advisors.

NRM North is supporting the project in the northern Tasmanian NRM region.

Pasture Establishment & Renovation

Working with three commercial farmers at four demonstration sites in the Midlands and east coast, this trial looks at pasture renovation and establishing winter forage crops, with the aim of improving ground cover and reducing soil erosion.

A new set of demonstrations are trialling alternative renovation techniques that may forgo the need for site preparation, reduce establishment risks and support drought resilience.

The trials utilise strip tillage and the Soilkee Renovator which results in minimum soil disturbance.

Field days to demonstrate the learnings will occur in March 2022.


Alternative pasture renovation techniques are being trialled at four demonstration sites.


Data on soil at each of the sites helps to provide reference points for users of the Farming Forecaster.

Farming Forecaster

Farming Forecaster has been developed by CSIRO in conjunction with producers in NSW. It is already widely used in NSW and Victoria and has real potential to provide farmers with more confidence in making decisions in tough years and to be able to react earlier to opportunities.

Real-time soil moisture, soil temperature and rainfall data are being collected from selected pilot sites and will show how rainfall events and changes in weather patterns affect soil moisture and future pasture production. Each site will be described for its environmental characteristics, such as soil type, pasture mix and management history to provide a seasonal reference point for farmers in the region.

In conjunction with the probe data, Farming Forecaster uses leading-edge technology to provide a road map of pasture availability and predicts livestock performance. This powerful decision support tool helps graziers to get a better handle on current conditions and the likely range in pasture availability during the next 3-4 months, allowing for forward planning and helping farmers realise the risks and potential feed on offer.

Farming Forecaster - Pilot Sites

This pilot is a first for Tasmania and graziers will have access to the online decision-making tool from March 2022.

Seven probe reference sites have been established for the pilot. These include:

  • Triabunna
  • Kelvedon
  • Cranbrook
  • St Marys
  • Fingal
  • Avoca

A further five sites will be established in the near future, with four in the midlands and one on Murrayfield, north Bruny.


Probes have been placed at seven sites to form the basis for data collection for the Farming Forecaster in Tasmania.

Drought soil 700x525.jpg

More Information

NRM South and NRM North will be supporting farmers and advisors to understand the benefits and how to use this tool by running training events, in March, June and August 2022 in both the north and south of the state. Those involved in managing extensive dryland grazing enterprises are strongly encouraged to attend.

Farmers who are interested in being part of the pilot, attending the training events, or interested in investing in their own subscription and site-based probe, should contact:

Tim Ackroyd, NRM South

Senior Project Officer (Agriculture) & Regional Agricultural Landcare Facilitator


Phone: 0400 047 665


This project is supported by NRM South, through funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund. This project is a collaboration between NRM South, NRM North, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, AgriProve, the East Coast Primary Producers Association, the Upper Esk Landcare and Productivity Group, farmers in the midlands and north Bruny, and the Tasmanian Government.