Weekly update - 3 August 2017

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

Key issues

  • During the week ending 2 August 2017 widespread rainfall was recorded across southern Australia.
  • For the week ending 1 August 2017 maximum temperatures were more than 2°C above average and minimum temperatures were generally close to average over most of mainland Australia.
  • Rainfall for July 2017 was generally extremely low over the southern half of mainland Australia, particularly in New South Wales, South Australia and central areas of Western Australia.
  • The national mean maximum temperature during July 2017 was the highest on record for July, at 2.62°C above a​verage.
  • Upper layer soil moisture for July 2017 was extremely low in south-eastern, southern, north-western and northern Australia.
  • There is an increased chance of an early rainfall onset across parts of northern Australia for 2017–18.
  • Widespread rainfall is forecast for southern Australia during the next eight days. Rainfall totals between 5 and 50 millimetres are expected in south-western and central Western Australia, south-eastern South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, coastal northern Queensland and most of New South Wales.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 3 August 2017 by 55 gigalitres (GL) to 15,707 GL and are at 70 per cent of total capacity. This is 14 percentage points or 3,185 GL more than at the same time last year.
  • Victorian high reliability water allocations have increased in Goulburn and Loddon by 4 per cent; Broken by 5 per cent; and Bullarook by 32 per cent.
  • Water allocation prices in the southern Murray–Darling Basin fell slightly in the week up to 3 August in most systems. Average prices across the whole southern system fell to $122 a megalitre.
  • The world wheat indicator price fell 4 per cent reflecting increased supplies of grain entering the supply chain as the US harvest progresses.
  • The world sugar indicator price rose 3 per cent following the Brazilian Government’s tax reduction on ethanol.
  • The weighted average price of butter almost doubled over the 12 months to 1 August 2017.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 2 August 2017 widespread rainfall was recorded across southern Australia. Totals between 5 and 50 millimetres were recorded in southern Western Australia, southern and eastern South Australia, and most of Victoria. Similar totals were recorded in north-western, central and south-eastern New South Wales, and along the tropical north coast of Queensland. Rainfall totals exceeding 50 millimetres were recorded in far south-western Western Australia and western Tasmania, including the highest recorded weekly total of 187 millimetres at Strahan.

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

Rainfall - week ending 2 August 2017

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 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 2/08/2017

Temperature anomalies this week

During the week ending 1 August 2017 maximum temperatures were generally more than 2°C above average over most of mainland Australia. Parts of eastern Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and northern New South Wales recorded maximum temperatures between 4°C and 8°C above average. Minimum temperatures were close to average for most of the country. Parts of central Western Australia, northern South Australia, south-western Queensland, north-eastern New South Wales and the Northern Territory recorded minimum temperatures between 2°C and 6°C above average. Minimum temperatures were between 2°C and 4°C below average in eastern Queensland, north-eastern New South Wales and around Port Augusta in South Australia.

Maximum temperature anomalies - week ending 1 August 2017

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

©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 01/08/2017

Minimum temperature anomalies - week ending 1 August 2017

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

©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 01/08/2017

Note: Spatial temperature analyses are based on historical weekly temperature data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. These temperature anomaly maps show the departure of the maximum and minimum temperatures from their long-term averages. Temperature anomalies are calculated using high-resolution gridded datasets from 1911 onwards. For further information go to Daily maximum temperature for Australia.

Monthly rainfall

While most areas were less dry than in June 2017, July 2017 rainfall was generally extremely low over much of the southern half of mainland Australia, particularly in New South Wales, South Australia and central areas of Western Australia. Rainfall was close to average in southern coastal areas and Tasmania. Parts of northern Australia were wetter than average, mainly central Northern Territory and north-western Queensland due to an out-of-season rainfall event in early July.

In cropping regions, July 2017 rainfall was generally close to average in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia–an increase from the severe deficiencies in June 2017. However, rainfall was severely deficient in central New South Wales. While July rainfall is likely to have improved prospects for winter crop growth and pasture production, further follow-up rainfall is required to maintain yield potentials as the season progresses.

Rainfall percentiles for July 2017

Map showing rainfall percentiles for July 2017. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.] 

Source: ©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Note: Spatial rainfall percentile analyses are based on historical monthly rainfall data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. These rainfall percentile maps show how rainfall recorded during that given time period compared with the rainfall recorded for that same period during the entire historical record (1900 to present). Rainfall percentiles are a way of providing an indication of the spread of data in a data set. To calculate percentiles, the entire rainfall record at a certain point is divided into one hundred equal parts. The 5th percentile for July 2017 means that only five per cent of all Julys in the historical record have recorded a rainfall total that is at or below the rainfall recorded during July 2017. Dark blue areas on the maps are those areas that were wetter than the same time of year during the entire historical record, and dark red areas are drier. For further information go to Australian Water Availability Project.

Monthly temperature

The Bureau of Meteorology report that Australia’s maximum temperatures during July 2017 were the warmest on record for July. The national mean maximum temperature was 2.62°C above the average maximum temperature and 0.66°C above the previous record set in 1975. The warmth was especially evident in the northern half of Australia, with Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia also recording their warmest July maximum temperatures on record. Minimum temperatures were generally above average in northern Australia and below average in south-eastern Australia and Tasmania (Bureau of Meteorology, ‘Australia in July 2017’, 1 August 2017).

With major oceanic and atmospheric climate drivers currently at neutral levels, one of the main climate influences was a contraction of the westerly wind belt towards Antarctica–known as a positive phase of the Southern Annular Mode. This resulted in a series of high pressure systems which brought clear skies and warm air masses, and prevented cold fronts moving north from Victoria and New South Wales.

Maximum temperature deciles for July 2017

Map showing maximum temperature deciles for Australia for July 2017 Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. ©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 01/08/2017

Minimum temperature deciles for July 2017

Map showing minimum temperature deciles for Australia for July 2017 Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. ©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 01/08/2017

Recent soil moisture percentiles

The maps below show the levels of modelled upper layer soil moisture (0 to 10 centimetres) and lower layer soil moisture (10 centimetres to 1 metre) during July 2017. These maps show how modelled soil conditions during June 2017 compare with July conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2015). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in July 2017 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 upper layer soil moisture for July 2017 was extremely low in south-eastern, southern, north-western and northern Australia. The largest areas of extremely low upper layer soil moisture were in central and eastern New South Wales and north-western Western Australia. In contrast, upper layer soil moisture was above average in central and south-western Western Australia, eastern South Australia and central parts of the Northern Territory. For the remainder of the country, upper layer soil moisture was close to average.

Upper layer soil moisture in cropping regions in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland increased from well below average in June 2017 to average in July 2017. In New South Wales, upper layer soil moisture increased from well below average to average in the north and south but remained extremely low around central parts. The pattern of relative upper layer soil moisture reflects July 2017 rainfall.

Modelled upper layer soil moisture for July 2017

Map showing relative upper layer soil moisture for July 2017. Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. 

Source: ©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology (Australian Water Resources Assessment Landscape model)

Relative lower layer soil moisture for July 2017 was well below average to extremely low across much of western and southern Western Australia, southern South Australia, most of Tasmania, and across northern and eastern Victoria. Similar soil moisture levels were modelled for most of New South Wales except the north-east, and across central Queensland. Lower layer soil moisture was well above average to extremely high in central and northern parts of the Northern Territory, central Western Australia, north-eastern Queensland and across the Top End.

In cropping regions, lower layer soil moisture was generally below average to extremely low in all states.

Modelled lower layer soil moisture for July 2017

Map showing relative lower layer soil moisture for June 2017. Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. 

Source: ©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology (Australian Water Resources Assessment Landscape model)

Northern rainfall onset 2017–18

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, there is an increased chance of an early rainfall onset for 2017–18 across parts of northern Australia. The Cape York Peninsula, the Kimberley, and areas near the Western Australia–Northern Territory border are likely to have an early rainfall onset. Elsewhere in northern Australia, the chances of an early or late rainfall onset are roughly equal. At this time of year model outlooks have high accuracy (more than 75 per cent consistent) across parts of the Top End and the Cape York Peninsula. (Bureau of Meteorology ‘Northern rainfall onset’, 27 July 2017).

The northern rainfall onset date occurs when the rainfall total in a particular region reaches 50 millimetres or more from 1 September onwards. It is considered to be approximately the amount of rainfall required to stimulate plant growth after the dry season.

In general, parts of coastal Queensland and the western Top End receive the first useful rainfall by late October or early November, spreading further south and inland over the following weeks. The southern inland regions of the Northern Territory and western parts of Western Australia usually have the latest northern rainfall onset around mid-January.

For further information go to Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Northern rainfall onset.

As major climate drivers are currently in a neutral state, secondary influences such as local ocean temperatures and the Madden-Julian Oscillation are likely to have more influence over the timing of the northern rainfall onset.

Chance of early northern rainfall onset

Map showing chance of early northern rainfall onset. Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. 

Source: ©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 27/07/2017

Model accuracy for northern rainfall onset – forecasts from July

Map showing chance of model accuracy for northern rainfall onset. Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description. 

​Source: ©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 17/06/2015

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

Widespread rainfall is forecast for southern Australia during the next eight days. Rainfall totals between 5 and 50 millimetres are expected in south-western and central Western Australia, south-eastern South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, coastal northern Queensland, and most of New South Wales. Rainfall totals are forecast to exceed 50 millimetres in alpine areas of Victoria and New South Wales, southern coastal regions of Western Australia, and western Tasmania.

Total forecast rainfall (mm) for the period 3 to 10 August 2017

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. 

Source: ©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 03/07/2017

Water

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Water availability

Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 3 August 2017 by 55 gigalitres (GL) to 15,707 GL and are at 70 per cent of total capacity. This is 14 percentage points or 3,185 GL more than at the same time last year.

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 2000 to 2017, measured as a percentage of the total storage of 22,598 gigalitres. Information on irrigation water available in the Murray–Darling Basin from 1 January 2001 to 3 August 2017 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 storages

Changes in regional water storage for July 2017 and the previous 12 months are summarised in the table and graph below (current at 3 August 2017).

Allocation trade prices, southern Murray–Darling Basin trade zones
Region Total capacity (GL) Current volume (GL) Current volume (%) Monthly change (GL) Monthly change (%) Annual change (GL)
Murray–Darling Basin (MDB)22,55915,707704903,185
Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA)9,3526,0866216322,721
Queensland MDB18616388-6-363
Central Queensland3,1542,62483-65-237
South-east Queensland3,5172,32066-38-183
New South Wales MDB13,8849,4536831824,034
Coastal New South Wales1,07493387-1036

State water storages in the Murray–Darling Basin (NSW, Victoria and Queensland)

Line graph showing water storages in the Murray–Darling Basin by state (NSW, Victoria and Queensland) from 2002 to 2017, measured as gigalitres (total storage of 22,598 gigalitres.)

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. Victorian high reliability allocations have increased in Goulburn and Loddon by 4 per cent; Broken by 5 per cent; and Bullarook by 32 per cent.

Allocations at 3-Aug-1713-Jul-17
New South Wales General securityHigh securityGeneral securityHigh security
NSW Murray Valley13%97%11%97%
NSW Murrumbidgee Valley20%95%17%95%
NSW Lower Darling100%100%100%100%
NSW Macquarie and Cudgegong Valley36%100%36%100%
NSW Hunter Valley100%100%100%100%
NSW Lachlan Valley0%100%0%100%
NSW Lower Namoi0%100%0%100%
NSW Upper Namoi100%100%100%100%
NSW Gwydir Valley0.0%100%0.0%100%
NSW Border Rivers100%(a) / 8%(b)100%100%(a) / 8%(b)100%
NSW Peel Valley100%100%100%100%

(a) General Security A class. (b) General Security B class

Allocations at 3-Aug-1713-Jul-17
VictoriaLow reliabilityHigh reliabilityLow reliabilityHigh reliability
Victoria Murray Valley0%66%0%66%
Victoria Goulburn0%40%0%36%
Victoria Campaspe0%100%0%100%
Victoria Loddon0%40%0%36%
Victoria Bullarook0%32%0%0%
Victoria Broken0%6%0%1%

Allocations at 3-Aug-1713-Jul-17
South AustraliaHigh securityHigh security
South Australia Murray Valley100%100%

Water markets

Allocation prices in the southern Murray–Darling Basin fell in the week up to 3 August in most systems. Average prices across the whole southern system fell to $122. This is a decrease of $19 or 13 per cent from the same time last week, due in part to a higher volume of high value trade in prior weeks in the South Australian Murray. This contrasts with an average price of $124 in July across the whole southern MDB.

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 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 Thursday 3 August, 2017.

Allocation trade prices, southern Murray–Darling Basin trade zones

 

Southern MDB

Victoria Goulburn

SA Murray

NSW Murrumbidgee

Victoria Murray

NSW Murray

Current week: 28/07/17 - 03/08/17

$122.25

$115.00

$129.21

$124.35

$124.69

$124.75

Last week: 21/07/17 - 27/07/17

$141.30

$114.37

$193.83

$121.25

$115.67

$126.09

July 2017

$124.64

$109.79

$191.30

$107.76

$118.65

$117.81

July 2016

$157.33

$229.63

$240.60

$115.56

$181.01

$208.58

Commodities

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Market focus

Wheat price

The world wheat indicator price (US no.2 hard red winter, fob Gulf) fell 4 per cent to average $218 a tonne in the week ending 1 August 2017. This fall reflects increased supplies of grain entering the supply chain in the US. As at 30 July 2017, the United States had completed 88 per cent of its winter wheat harvest. (United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service).

Sugar price

The world sugar indicator price (Intercontinental Exchange, nearby futures, no. 11 contract) rose by 3 per cent to average US14.7 cents a pound in the week ending 2 August 2017. This was in response to the Brazilian Government’s reduction in the tax on ethanol which is expected to result in more cane being diverted into the production of ethanol at the expense of sugar. The tax on traditional fuels, gasoline and diesel remained unchanged.

Butter price

The weighted average price of butter almost doubled to US$5,747 a tonne in the 12 months to 1 August 2017, reflecting a higher global demand than supply, particularly in New Zealand.

Current indicators – 3 August 2017

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

Selected world indicator prices

Australian Dollar – AUD/USD Exchange Rate02-AugUS$/A$0.80.791%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.0.757%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf01-AugUS$/t218226-4%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.18915%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-AugUS$/t153156-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.157-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Europe, fob Hamburg01-AugUS$/t4244152%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.3996%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index02-AugUSc/lb82.684.7-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.83.7-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Sugar – Intercontinental Exchange, nearby futures, no.11 contract02-AugUSc/lb14.714.33%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.19-23%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator13-JulAc/kg clean1,5221,524<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.1,31116%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator14-JulAc/kg clean1,5701,561<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1,42310%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-AugA$/t231244-5%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.2281%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Wheat – General purpose, Sydney, NSW02-AugA$/t270275-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.24212%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Barley – Sydney, NSW02-AugA$/t25120026%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.19827%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Portland, Vic.31-JulA$/t502498<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.4814%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Grain Sorghum – Sydney, NSW02-AugA$/t3093090%22935%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 Indicator27-JulAc/kg cwt584595-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.662-12%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), Vic21-JulAc/kg cwt413470-12%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.3974%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator27-JulAc/kg cwt576628-8%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.635-9%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 & sellers21-JunAc/kg cwt276275<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.378-27%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)31-JulAc/kg cwt6476470%57413%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Live cattle – Light steers ex Darwin to Indonesia20-MayAc/kg lwt3203200%28014%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Live sheep – Live wether (Muchea WA saleyard) to Middle East24-Jul$/head115121-5%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.nana chart

Global Dairy Trade weighted average pricesa

Dairy – Whole milk powder01-AugUS$/t3,3433,1147%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.2,26548%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder01-AugUS$/t1,9662,024-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.1,965<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese01-AugUS$/t3,9324,112-4%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.2,88936%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat01-AugUS$/t6,2896,577-4%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.3,79766%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase 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

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Last reviewed:
04 Aug 2017