QNR-3 the Australian On-line Agrometeorological Information Service (SILO)
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Australian agriculture operates in an extremely variable climate that impacts on productivity, profitability and resource condition. This climate variability, in conjunction with declining terms of trade, has driven farmers to seek tools and data that will provide them with a competitive advantage and improved resource sustainability. As such, the use of meteorological data in agricultural decision making is increasing. The uses range from a simple reading of a weather forecast before cutting hay to a nation-wide pasture simulation and extension programme like the Climate Variability in Agriculture Program (CVAP) funded QPI-201 project (Brook 1996) and Aussie GRASS2 (Carter et al. 2000).The experiences of researchers in QPI-20 highlighted a number of problems with the supply of meteorological data for large-scale agricultural simulation exercises. User consultation also found that these types of problems were encountered in other research and extension activities around Australia. Consequently, the Queensland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Bureau of Meteorology proposed a collaborative project, SILO, to address some of the issues identified in the user consultation process.