Weekly update - 3 May 2018

​​​​​​​​​Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 2 May 2018 little to no rainfall was recorded across much of the country. Rainfall was mainly restricted to parts of the mainland east coast and western Tasmania.
  • April 2018 was Australia’s second warmest April on record for the country as a whole; the national monthly mean temperature was 2.38 °C above average, just 0.28 °C behind the record set in 2005. The mean monthly maximum temperature for Australia as a whole was the warmest on record at 3.17 °C.
  • For Australia as a whole, rainfall during April 2018 was very much below average, coming in at the eighth driest on record and the driest April since 1997. Below average rainfall was recorded across large parts of southern Australia, with areas of severe deficiency in south-eastern and south-western New South Wales, eastern Victoria, and across isolated areas of South Australia and southern Western Australia. In contrast, well above average to extremely high rainfall was observed across parts of coastal and south-western Queensland and isolated area of northern Australia.
  • Relative upper layer soil moisture for April 2018 was extremely low across large areas of southern Australia. In contrast, it was well above average across parts of coastal and south-western Queensland and isolated area of northern Australia.
  • Relative lower layer soil moisture for April 2018 was extremely low in south-eastern Australia, and far western Western Australia. It was extremely high in northern and south-western Queensland, south-eastern parts of the Northern Territory, and south-eastern parts of Western Australia.
  • During the next eight days rainfall is mainly expected in south-eastern Australia and western Tasmania.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 3 May 2018 by 46 gigalitres (GL) to 11,077 GL and are at 49 per cent of total capacity. This is 18 percentage points or 4043 GL less than at the same time last year
  • Allocation prices in the southern Murray–Darling Basin increased in the week ending 3 May 2018 to $154 per ML. This is an increase of $12 from the same time last week.

Climate

[expand all]

Rainfall this week

During the week ending 2 May 2018 little to no rainfall was recorded across much of the country. Rainfall was mainly restricted to parts of the mainland east coast and western Tasmania. Rainfall totals between 15 and 50 millimetres were recorded along coastal New South Wales and isolated areas of coastal Queensland. Similar totals were recorded in western Tasmania. The highest recorded weekly total was 216 millimetres at Barrington Tops, north of Newcastle.

Rainfall - week ending 2 May 2018

Map showing weekly rainfall totals in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 2/05/2018

Note: The rainfall analyses and associated maps utilise data contained in the Bureau of Meteorology climate database, the Australian Data Archive for Meteorology (ADAM). The analyses are initially produced automatically from real-time data with limited quality control. They are intended to provide a general overview of rainfall across Australia as quickly as possible after the observations are received. For further information go to Weekly Rainfall Update.

Monthly temperatures

April 2018 was Australia’s second warmest April on record for the country as a whole; the national monthly mean temperature was 2.38 °C above average, just 0.28 °C behind the record set in 2005. April was warmer than average for nearly all of Australia, and particularly warm in terms of maximum temperatures. The mean monthly maximum temperature for Australia as a whole was the warmest on record at 3.17 °C. Although overnight temperatures were not as extreme, the national mean minimum temperature was still the fourth warmest on record at 1.59 °C above average for April.

Maximum temperature deciles for April 2018

Map showing maximum temperature deciles in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 3/05/2018

Minimum temperature deciles for April 2018

Map showing minimum temperature deciles in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 3/05/2018

Note: Maximum and minimum temperatures for April 2018 compared with temperature recorded for that period during the historical record (1900 to present). For further information go to Daily maximum temperatures for Australia

Monthly rainfall

For Australia as a whole, rainfall during April 2018 was very much below average, coming in at the eighth driest on record and the driest April since 1997. However, there was some degree of variability across the country. Well above average to extremely high rainfall was observed across parts of coastal and south-western Queensland and isolated area of northern Australia. Below average rainfall was recorded across large parts of southern Australia, with areas of severe deficiency in south eastern and south-western New South Wales, eastern Victoria, and across isolated areas of South Australia and southern Western Australia.

In cropping regions, April 2018 rainfall was close to average in Queensland and northern New South Wales. It was well below average in central and southern New South Wales, Victoria, and parts of South Australia and Western Australia.

Rainfall percentiles for April 2018

Map showing rainfall percentiles for April 2018. Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. 

Source: Bureau of Meteorology
Note: Rainfall for April 2018 is compared with rainfall recorded for that period during the historical record (1900 to present). For further information, go to Australian Water Availability Project

Monthly soil moisture

Relative upper layer soil moisture for April 2018 was extremely low across large areas of southern Australia. In contrast, it was well above average across parts of coastal and south-western Queensland and isolated area of northern Australia. Upper layer soil moisture was close to average across the remainder of the country. The pattern of relative upper layer soil moisture largely reflects April 2018 rainfall.

Upper layer soil moisture was close to average across most cropping regions in northern New South Wales, central Western Australia and northern New South Wales. In contrast, it was well below average to extremely low across central and southern New South Wales, Victoria and parts of South Australia and Western Australia.

Modelling upper layer soil moisture for April 2018

Map showing rainfall percentiles for April 2018. Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. 

Source: Bureau of Meteorology (Australian Water Resources Assessment Landscape model)
Note: This map shows the levels of modelled upper layer soil moisture (0 to 10 centimetres) during April 2018. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during April 2018 compare with April conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2015). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in April 2018 than during the same period over the reference period. The dark red areas were much drier than during the reference period. The bulk of plant roots occur in the top 20 centimetres of the soil profile. Soil moisture in the upper layer of the soil profile is therefore the most appropriate indicator of the availability of water, particularly for germinating plants. The lower layer soil moisture is a larger, deeper store that is slower to respond to rainfall and tends to reflect accumulated rainfall events over longer time periods.

Relative lower layer soil moisture for April 2018 was extremely low in south-eastern Australia, and far western Western Australia. It was extremely high in northern and south-western Queensland, south-eastern parts of the Northern Territory, and south-eastern parts of Western Australia.

In cropping regions, lower layer soil moisture was generally average in Queensland and eastern parts of Western Australia. It was extremely low in central and southern parts of New South Wales, Victoria South Australia and western cropping areas in Western Australia.

Modelling lower layer soil moisture for April 2018

Map showing rainfall percentiles for April 2018. Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. 

Source: Bureau of Meteorology (Australian Water Resources Assessment Landscape model)
Note: This map shows the levels of modelled lower layer soil moisture (10 centimetres to 1 metre) during April 2018. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during April 2018 compare with April conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2015). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in April 2018 than during the same period over the reference period. The dark red areas were much drier than during the reference period. The bulk of plant roots occur in the top 20 centimetres of the soil profile. Soil moisture in the upper layer of the soil profile is therefore the most appropriate indicator of the availability of water, particularly for germinating plants. The lower layer soil moisture is a larger, deeper store that is slower to respond to rainfall and tends to reflect accumulated rainfall events over longer time periods.

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

During the next eight days, rainfall is mainly expected in south-eastern Australia and western Tasmania. A strong low-pressure system is expected to move to the south of the country and an associated cold front that is moving from South Australia to the east is predicted to triggering areas of heavy rain, gusty winds and thunderstorms.

Falls of between 10 and 50 millimetres are expected across southern agricultural regions of South Australia, south-western Victoria and alpine regions of New South Wales and Victoria. Higher totals (exceeding 50 millimetres) are forecast for western parts of Tasmania. Elsewhere, totals between 10 and 50 millimetres are forecast for isolated parts of south-eastern Queensland. Little to no rainfall is expected across the remainder of the country.

This rainfall forecast is produced from computer models. As it contains no input from weather forecasters, it is important to check local forecasts and warnings issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.

Total forecast rainfall (mm) for the period 3 to 10 May 2018

Map of the total forecast rainfall for the next 8 days. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 3/05/2018

Water

[expand all]

Water availability

Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 3 May 2018 by 46 gigalitres (GL) to 11,077 GL and are at 49 per cent of total capacity. This is 18 percentage points or 4,043 GL less than at the same time last year.

Visit the interactive Tableau data dashboard

Water storages in the Murray-Darling Basin (NSW, Victoria and Queensland)

Line graph showing water storages in the Murray–Darling Basin (NSW, Victoria and Queensland) from 2001 to 2018, measured as a percentage of the total storage of 22,598 gigalitres. 

Information on water available in dams used for irrigation the Murray–Darling Basin from 1 January 2001 to 3 May 2018 is shown above. The top horizontal (short dash) line indicates the storage level during a similar time last year. The bottom horizontal (long dash) line indicates the amount of ‘dead’ or unusable storage.

Water allocations

The current water allocations for the 2017–18 water trading season for licence holders in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia water systems are summarised in the following table and charts.

Water allocations in the Murray–Darling Basin (NSW, Victoria and South Australia)

Allocations at

3 May 2018

16 April 2018

New South Wales

General security

High security

General security

High security

NSW Murray

51%

97%

51%

97%

NSW Murrumbidgee

41%

95%

41%

95%

NSW Lower Darling

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Macquarie and Cudgegong

38%

100%

38%

100%

NSW Hunter

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Lachlan

2%

100%

2%

100%

NSW Lower Namoi

7%

100%

7%

100%

NSW Upper Namoi

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Gwydir

18%

100%

18%

100%

NSW Border Rivers

100%(a)/19.62%(b)

100%

100%(a)/19.62%(b)

100%

NSW Peel

100%

100%

100%

100%

Victoria

Low reliability

High reliability

Low reliability

High reliability

Victoria Murray

0%

100%

0%

100%

Victoria Goulburn

0%

100%

0%

100%

Victoria Campaspe

59%

100%

59%

100%

Victoria Loddon

0%

100%

0%

100%

Victoria Bullarook

100%

100%

100%

100%

Victoria Broken

100%

100%

100%

100%

South Australia

 

Class 3a/3b

 

Class 3a/3b

South Australia Murray

 

100%

 

100%

Select water allocation percentages in the southern Murray-Darling Basin

 

 

 

 

Water markets

Allocation prices in the southern Murray–Darling Basin increased in the week ending 3 May 2018 to $154 per ML. This is an increase of $12 from the same time last week. This contrasts with an average price of $134 in April across the whole southern MDB, and $32 during the same month last year.

Allocation trade activity in the southern Murray–Darling Basin

Allocation trade activity in the southern Murray-Darling Basin. The trades shown reflect market activity and do not encompass all register trades. The price line reflects locally fitted price values for the entire southern Murray-Darling Basin.  

The trades shown reflect estimated market activity and do not encompass all register trades. The price line reflects locally fitted price values for the entire southern Murray–Darling Basin. Data shown is current until 3 May 2018. Trade activity is shown as colour density.

Allocation trade prices, southern Murray–Darling Basin trade zones

 

Southern MDB

Victoria Goulburn

SA Murray

NSW Murrumbidgee

Victoria Murray

NSW Murray

Current week:
27/04/18 – 03/05/18

$153.79

$153.58

$123.73

$174.43

$150.01

$153.36

Last week:
20/04/18 – 26/04/18

$141.52

$138.18

$138.40

$161.87

$143.26

$135.14

April 2018

$133.56

$124.67

$131.27

$157.86

$136.67

$134.13

April 2017

$31.95

$42.99

$42.03

$10.72

$42.52

$35.65

Commodities

Current indicators – 3 May 2018

IndicatorWeek endedUnitLatest pricePrice week priorWeekly changePrice 12 months priorYear on year changeChart

Selected world indicator prices

Australian Dollar – AUD/USD Exchange Rate02-MayUS$/A$0.760.77-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.0.751%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf01-MayUS$/t2472384%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.23025%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Coarse Grains – US no. 2 yellow corn, fob Gulf02-MayUS$/t1811753%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.23014%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Europe, fob Hamburga01-MayUS$/t409410<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.439-7%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index02-MayUSc/lb93.292.3<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.88.65%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Sugar – Intercontinental Exchange, nearby futures, no.11 contract02-MayUSc/lb11.411.3<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.15.8-28%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator26-AprAc/kg clean1,8461,8251%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1,50123%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator27-AprAc/kg clean1,9491,934<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1,50829%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart

Selected domestic crop indicator prices

Milling Wheat – ASW1, track quote, Port Adelaide, SA01-MayA$/t2562454%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.18439%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Wheat – General purpose, Sydney, NSW02-MayA$/t3103003%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.23035%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Barley – Sydney, NSW02-MayA$/t3203007%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.20457%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Portland, Vic.30-AprA$/t512510<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.520-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Grain Sorghum – Sydney, NSW02-MayA$/t3863636%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.26446%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart

Selected domestic livestock indicator prices

Beef – Eastern Young Cattle Indicator26-AprAc/kg cwt4964960%659-25%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Mutton – Mutton indicator (18-24 kg fat score 2-3), Vic27-AprAc/kg cwt4594482%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.503-9%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator26-AprAc/kg cwt6025715%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.645-7%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Pig – Eastern Seaboard (60.1-75 kg), average of buyers & sellers20-AprAc/kg cwt2692690%314-14%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Goat – Eastern States (12.1-16 kg)23-AprAc/kg cwt464468<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.653-29%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Live cattle – Light steers ex Darwin to Indonesia28-AprAc/kg lwt2802800%330-15%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Live sheep – Live wether (Muchea WA saleyard) to Middle East16-Apr$/head119124-4%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.128-7%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart

Global Dairy Trade weighted average pricesa

Dairy – Whole milk powder01-MayUS$/t3,2313,311-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.3,233<-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder01-MayUS$/t1,9991,9134%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1,982<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese01-MayUS$/t4,0243,8554%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.3,66610%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat01-MayUS$/t6,0326,120-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.6,185-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart

a Global Dairy Trade prices are updated twice monthly on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

Movements in selected fruit and vegetable prices
Data attribution

​​​​​​​​​
Last reviewed:
04 May 2018