A NSW Government website

Climate Vulnerability Assessments

For broadacre cropping, the selected commodities were:


The Climate Vulnerability Assessment modelled the historical and future climate suitability for each commodity across NSW. These assessments considered the change in suitability between the historical (1981-2010) and future time periods (2036-2065), reported separately for the two emissions scenarios.

Maps of historical and future climate suitability for broadacre crops were produced to demonstrate where in the state a commodity is likely to thrive or else be limited by future climatic conditions. The maps are not provided on these webpages but can be found in the Climate Vulnerability Assessment Summary Report. The factsheets below provide the results by discussing the important impacts and providing interpretation of the drivers of changed suitability.

Care should be taken when interpreting these results. The Climate Vulnerability Assessment is intended to highlight potential changes in future climate suitability at industry and regional levels. It should not be interpreted at the scale of individual holdings.

Due to the large number of outputs, not all results have been provided at this stage but will appear in individual commodity results reports. Commodity results reports will be released in 2024. Register your interest in receiving a copy by contacting vulnerability.assessment@dpi.nsw.gov.au.


Dryland canola factsheet

PDF, 3550.71 KB

Irrigated cotton factsheet

PDF, 8525.75 KB

Irrigated lucerne factsheet

PDF, 6338.46 KB

Irrigated maize factsheet

PDF, 5533.17 KB

Irrigated rice factsheet

PDF, 8382.07 KB

Lupin factsheet

PDF, 15976.5 KB


The Climate Vulnerability Assessment required a modelling approach that could be rapidly and consistently applied to different commodities and biosecurity risks to produce consistent and comparable models. To this end, a framework was developed which combined research literature, expert industry knowledge and climate data in a modelling approach known as ‘multi-criteria analysis’ (MCA model). The resulting MCA models were used to evaluate the suitability of NSW’s climate for chosen commodities and biosecurity risks. General assumptions for broadacre cropping MCA models were:

  • a specific crop variety is described,
  • a specific yield is described in units relevant to the crop. The given yield states the expected production level for the 'very high' level of climate suitability, representing optimal growing conditions, assuming other non-climatic requirements for primary production are met,
  • best practice management is undertaken,
  • the crop is free of pests and diseases (which are modelled independently),
  • pollination takes place,
  • irrigated crops are adequately irrigated and
  • dryland crops are not irrigated.

A dynamic phenology approach was used to model some broadacre crops (chickpea, wheat, barley, lupin, canola, maize), with fixed sowing dates and thermal time thresholds to the set start and end dates of growth phenophases. As a result, the calendar dates associated with each phenophase vary spatially across NSW for these crops. Cotton used a combination of fixed and dynamic phenology, and rice and lucerne used fixed phenology with pre-determined start and end dates for each phenophase.

Germination of selected crops (chickpea, wheat, barley, lupin, canola, maize) is modelled using a germination trigger, activated when 15mm of rain falls cumulatively across any 14-day period, up to eight weeks after the optimal crop sowing date. Germination reliability was assessed as the proportion of years in which germination was successfully triggered by rainfall.

For more information on the methodology and data used in the climate vulnerability assessments, please refer to either the methodology summary page or, for an in-depth explanation, the Climate Vulnerability Assessment Methodology Report.


ABARES (2023) Australian crop report: September 2023, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra, accessed 4 October 2023.

ABARES (2020) Australian crop report: September 2020, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra, accessed 11 October 2023.

AEGIC (2023) Australian barley, Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre, accessed 11 October 2023.

CSIRO (2022) Lupin Breeders Toolbox, accessed 11 October 2023.

International Grains Council (2023) Grain Market Report (547), International Grains Council, accessed 4 October 2023.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (2011) Canola growth & development, accessed 11 October 2023.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (2023) Performance, Data & Key Insights 2022 Cropping, NSW DPI, accessed 4 October 2023.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (2023) Performance, Data & Key Insights 2022 Oilseeds, NSW DPI, accessed 4 October 2023.

Contact us

For more information, please get in touch with  vulnerability.assessment@dpi.nsw.gov.au