Dry, cracked earth during a drought.

Future droughts will be influenced by climate change.

Adapting plants to a changing climate

CSIRO is identifying the likely impacts of climate change on plant growth and production and its effects on farming.

  • 10 January 2012 | Updated 12 January 2012

Changes in climate and atmospheric composition are major factors that could greatly influence farm production and management in the future.

CSIRO Plant Industry’s climate change research involves looking in detail at how plants are impacted by a number of key influencing factors, including:

  • seasonal variability
  • ambient carbon dioxide
  • rainfall amount and distribution
  • air temperature.

Our research

Our research also takes into consideration how these key factors relate to other environmental aspects such as:

CSIRO is also incorporating social aspects into climate modelling such as how people make decisions and interact with other farmers and the landscape.

  • mean rainfall
  • mean temperature
  • soil type
  • crop management
  • new crop traits.

By looking at all of these influences and modelling their combined impacts, CSIRO aims to:

  • analyse the impact on crops of various climate change scenarios
  • develop adaptation strategies to counteract any negative impacts of climate change on crop productivity and sustainability.

These strategies will be developed through crop management and breeding for specific crop traits.

CSIRO is also incorporating social aspects into climate modelling such as how people make decisions and interact with other farmers and the landscape.

These social aspects will be used to try and identify how the decisions that people make will affect their cropping systems.

This could help people to make decisions that will have the biggest benefit for the community and the environment.

Climate change and plants projects

Plants and climate change

CSIRO is identifying the likely impacts of climate change on plant growth and production and its effects on farming. 

Farming: decision support for farms

CSIRO tools based on scientific research can help farmers to make decisions about managing their farm.

Observing the effects of climate change

CSIRO scientists have developed a new tool to help them investigate the future impact of climate change on both native and introduced plant communities.

Growing a less thirsty wheat for a thirsty country

As the world's driest inhabited continent, Australia is no stranger to drought, only the hardiest types of wheat can hope to survive during an extended dry period. CSIRO's Dr Richard Richards has been breeding tough drought tolerant wheat varieties for sometime now, but is determined to breed them tougher still. (5:25)

Wheat genome hunt for drought adaptation

This two page information sheet is about CSIRO's work looking at the wheat genome to hunt for traits that contribute to better drought adaptation in northern Australia.

Drought and farming overview

CSIRO is researching ways to help farmers remain productive during drought conditions. They are also discovering methods to improve water use efficiency and maximise production.

Crops ready for a different future climate

CSIRO has studied traits of wheat, sorghum and sugarcane varieties better able to cope with anticipated future climate conditions.

Read more about CSIRO Plant Industry.