The Climate of Tocal
Weather station at Tocal
Farmers are governed by climate more than most people. The climate helps determine the type of agriculture that is viable and highlights the risks and uncertainty that are a feature of Australian agriculture. Those working in agriculture are vitally interested in both the climate (long term data) and the weather (day to day experience) that affect their activities.
A large part of reducing risk in agriculture and protecting natural resources comes from being aware of the climate record and seasonal fluctuations. Armed with this knowledge, landholders can set their production at levels that use the land according to its capabilities and generate profit from the land.
Since the establishment of the CB Alexander Agricultural College, Tocal in 1965, rainfall records have records have been kept. In 1971 a full weather station was established which has since recorded the usual range of weather events. The Paterson Post Office, three kilometres north of the College, has rainfall records dating from 1901. Record keeping in Paterson ceased in 1992 and Tocal became the official weather station for the Paterson locality. In 2002 the Tocal weather station became fully automated. While you may not have a weather station on your property, records are available from a number of sources including the Australian Rainman CD (published by the Queensland Department of Primary Industries), the Bureau of Meteorology, or you may find that your neighbours or someone in your area has kept these records - never underestimate local knowledge when it comes to weather and climate.
You can view the Bureau of Meterology's current readings from the Tocal weather station (www.bom.gov.au) or a current image from the Williamtown Weather Watch Radar (mirror.bom.gov.au).
In this section we will analyse the climate records for Tocal and give an indication of the way this information is useful for farm decision making. To do this we will look at: