WIMMERA farmers have used a visit from Bureau of Meteorology staff to continue to push for a weather radar in the region.
Wimmera Development Association hosted a weather services information seminar with bureau staff on Wednesday night, followed by workshops on Thursday.
Association project officer Mark Fletcher said the bureau’s acting regional director for Victoria Ted Williams and business development manager Tom Butcher provided an overview of weather services and improved satellite data.
He said an improved satellite would give the bureau more accurate modelling and forecasting data. “The land area it zooms in on will be smaller, which allows more accurate information to be generated,” he said.
“A lot of the discussion was around the accuracy of the weather data, particularly the longer-term weather data. Over time, these new technologies will increase the accuracy of the forecasts for the few days ahead.”
Mr Fletcher said the workshops aimed to build the business case for a Wimmera weather radar.
He said farmers could lose millions of dollars if they did not have access to accurate and timely weather information.
“Some of the sprays and fertilisers farmers use need a day or so for the plants to take advantage,” he said.
“On the other hand, some fertilisers need to go out just before rain.
“If farmers are relying on rain and don’t get it, the fertiliser can effectively burn off the crop.
“Not only have you wasted money on fertiliser, but you’ve killed the crop, and you might also have the cost of paying a contractor to do the spraying.”
Mr Fletcher said the workshops also looked at how farmers received information and the key times when weather-specific decisions needed to be made.
“We will collate this information in the next week or so,” he said. “We are putting case studies together and trying to get specific economic information from farmers. If anyone has a particular situation they could highlight to strengthen our case, we would love to hear from them.”