Western Australia’s agricultural region is almost entirely covered by Doppler radar coverage, following completion of the upgrade of Geraldton’s weather radar to Doppler standard.
The $2.3 million new generation Geraldton Doppler radar came online today, providing real time rainfall intensity, wind speed and direction information, updated every six minutes over an increased radius of 150 kilometres.
The State funded the upgrade of the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BoM) Geraldton and Albany radars to Doppler capability earlier this year, as well as installations of new Doppler radars at South Doodlakine, Newdegate and Watheroo in recent years.
Together with the State’s network of 176 automated weather stations, the Bureau’s network of 80 and the Doppler radar information, agribusinesses are able to make more informed, data-driven decisions that reduce risk and increase business profitability.
When BoM completes its planned upgrade of its Esperance facility to Doppler capability in 2020, WA will have the best weather service in the country.
An independent analysis of the State’s Doppler radar investment shows a $3.4 million year-on-year benefit generated by reduced input costs and grains and livestock losses.
The Doppler radar images and further weather information is available from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development or the Bureau of Meteorology’s websites.
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“This is a significant investment to support our valuable primary industry sector, and it is generating tangible productivity and profitability improvements for WA agribusinesses.
“Modern agribusinesses increasingly rely on objective, data driven analysis, like that provided by Doppler radars, to optimise business management and remain internationally competitive in a dynamic global marketplace.
“Feedback from a recent independent analysis says WA agribusinesses are using this real time data to refine time of sowing opportunities, tailor fertiliser and spray applications, attend to livestock and undertake maintenance across increasingly large properties, saving farmers time, effort, money and stress.
“These new facilities will also assist emergency services response programs, like in the event of bushfires and marine rescue operations, supporting our regional residents and visitors.”
As stated by Agricultural Region MLC Darren West:
“This upgrade will be great for farmers in the Mid-West. As farming becomes more sophisticated it is important that we have better weather forecasting services.
“I commend Minister MacTiernan for investing in the future of agriculture.”