Weekly update - 13 April 2017

​Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 12 April 2017 rainfall was recorded across the Top End in the Northern Territory, the Cape York Peninsula, southern Queensland, northern and eastern New South Wales and in south-eastern South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.
  • During the week ending 11 April 2017 maximum and minimum temperatures were close to average across most of Australia.
  • According to the Australian Plague Locust Commission, locust populations remained at low densities in most regions during March 2017. There is a low probability of swarm infestations during autumn and a low risk of widespread nymph infestations developing during spring.
  • Neutral El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are expected to continue until at least June, with an increasing chance for El Niño conditions developing by August.
  • The forecast for the next eight days indicates that rainfall totals in excess of 15 millimetres are mainly expected in Victoria, adjacent parts of southern New South Wales, and northern and eastern South Australia. Similar totals are forecast for central Western Australia, western and northern Tasmania, and southern parts of the Northern Territory. The highest totals are expected in parts of tropical northern Australia, with weekly rainfall totals to exceed 100 millimetres in parts of the Top End.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 13 April 2017 by 342 gigalitres (GL) to 15,180 GL and are at 67 per cent of total capacity.
  • In NSW, there has been slight increases in general security water allocations in the Lachlan and Gwydir valleys.
  • USDA estimates of global soybean stocks and exports in 2016–17 were revised upwards.
  • Brazilian sugar exports are up 14 per cent year on year.
  • Saleyard trade lamb prices achieved record highs in Victoria and New South Wales.
  • The ratio of anhydrous milk fat to skim milk powder prices reached its highest ever level.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 12 April 2017 rainfall was recorded across the Top End in the Northern Territory, the Cape York Peninsula, southern Queensland, northern and eastern New South Wales and in south-eastern South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. Little to no rainfall was recorded across the remainder of country. The highest recorded weekly total was 281 millimetres at Maningrida airport, 400 kilometres east of Darwin in the Northern Territory.

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 12 April 2017

This is an image of a rainfall analysis map of Australia for the week ending 12 April 2017. 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 12/04/2017

Temperature anomalies this week

During the week ending 11 April 2017 maximum temperatures were close to average across most of Australia, with parts of far western WA recording maximum temperatures of between 4°C and 6°C above average. Minimum temperatures were generally close to average across most of Australia.

Maximum temperature anomalies - week ending 11 April 2017

This is an image of a map of maximum temperature anomalies recorded across Australia for the week ending 11 April 2017. 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 11/04/2017

Minimum temperature anomalies - week ending 11 April 2017

This is an image of a map of minimum temperature anomalies recorded across Australia for the week ending 11 April 2017. 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 11/04/2017

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.

Australian plaque locust

The Australian Plague Locust Commission (APLC) produces a monthly Locust Bulletin during the periods of locust activity (spring, summer and autumn). The bulletin gives regional summaries of the locust situation and weather events of potential significance for locust development. It also provides a forecast of likely developments for the next two months for the Australian plague locust (Chortoicetes terminifera), spur-throated locust (Austracris guttulosa) and the migratory locust (Locusta migratoria).

According to the APLC, Australian plague locust populations remained at low densities in most regions during March 2017. However, medium density adult populations were maintained in the Far North region of South Australia and in parts of Southwest Queensland following breeding in late January. Few nymphs were recorded during March, reflecting limited egg laying during February. Due to unsuitable breeding habitat conditions there are unlikely to be significant numbers of nymphs in most regions during April or May. Most eggs laid in autumn will enter diapause dormancy and not hatch until spring.

The outlook for the remainder of autumn is for locust population densities to remain low in most regions of New South Wales and Queensland. In South Australia adult numbers are likely to decline to low densities, although medium density populations could breed in parts of the Northeast and Western Agricultural regions. There is a low probability of swarm infestations in any state during autumn. Consequently, there is a low risk of widespread nymph infestations during spring.

For further information, go to Australian Plaque Locust Commission

Australian plague locust distribution - 1 March to 4 April 2017

This is an image of a map showing plague locust distribution across South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and NSW for the period 1 March to 4 April 2017. 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2016, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Issued: 04/04/2017

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

The forecast for the next eight days indicates that rainfall totals in excess of 15 millimetres are mainly expected in Victoria, adjacent parts of southern New South Wales, and northern and eastern South Australia (see map below). Similar totals are forecast for central Western Australia, western and northern Tasmania, and southern parts of the Northern Territory. The highest totals are expected in parts of tropical northern Australia, with weekly rainfall totals to exceed 100 millimetres in parts of the Top End. These falls are associated with a tropical low off the Top End coast.

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 13 to 20 April 2017

This is an image of a map showing total forecast rainfall across Australia from 13 April to 20 April 2017. 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 13/04/2017

El Niño–Southern Oscillation Update

Ocean conditions in the far eastern Pacific have warmed over the past weeks and international climate models suggest continued warming during the coming months. The Bureau of Meteorology’s ENSO Outlook status remains at El Niño WATCH. This means there is around a 50 per cent chance of El Niño developing in 2017, which is approximately twice the normal likelihood.  However, caution is warranted as models have lower accuracy at this time of year and there is a wide spread in forecast outcomes.
El Niño is often, but not always associated with below average winter–spring rainfall over eastern Australia and warmer than average winter–spring maximum temperatures over the southern half of Australia.

Water

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Water availability

Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 13 April 2017 by 342 gigalitres (GL) to 15,180 GL and are at 67 per cent of total capacity. This is 37 percentage points or 8,346 GL more than at the same time last year.

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

This is a image of a blue line graph depicting water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin from 2000 to 2017, measured as a percentage of the total storage of 100,000 gigalitres. 

Information on irrigation water available in the Murray–Darling Basin from 1 January 2001 to 13 April 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 allocation

The current water allocations for the 2016–17 water trading season for licence holders in New South Wales, Victorian and South Australian water systems are summarised in the following table.

In NSW, there has been slight increases in general security allocations in the Lachlan and Gwydir valleys

Allocations at

13 April 2017 (%)

16 February 2017 (%)

New South Wales

General security

High security

General security

High security

NSW Murray Valley*

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Murrumbidgee Valley*

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Lower Darling*

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Macquarie and Cudgegong Valley*

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Hunter Valley

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Lachlan Valley*

129%

100%

124%

100%

NSW Lower Namoi*

125%

100%

125%

100%

NSW Upper Namoi*

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Gwydir Valley*

75%

100%

73%

100%

NSW Border Rivers*

100%a/80%b

100%

100%a/80%b

100%

NSW Peel Valley

100%

100%

100%

100%

Victoria

Low reliability*

High reliability*

Low reliability*

High reliability*

Victoria Murray Valley

5%

100%

5%

100%

Victoria Goulburn

0%

100%

0%

100%

Victoria Campaspe

100%

100%

100%

100%

Victoria Loddon

0%

100%

0%

100%

Victoria Bullarook

100%

100%

100%

100%

Victoria Broken

100%

100%

100%

100%

South Australia

 

High security

 

High security

South Australia Murray Valley*

 

100%

 

100%

*Carryover water may also be available
a General Security A class. b General Security B class

Commodities

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Market focus

Oilseeds

The USDA released its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand estimates on 11 April. Global oilseed production was revised upward based on higher expected soybean production from Latin America. World exports were also revised upward in recognition of increased supply.

Sugar

The Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade reported raw sugar exports in 2016–17 (April to March) reached 28.7 million tonnes, 14 per cent higher than in 2015–16. This rise reflects a 14 per cent increase in sugar production in Brazil’s South-Central region, to around 35.6 million tonnes.

Sheep

Saleyard trade lamb prices reached record highs in Victoria and New South Wales at 679 and 687 cents a kilogram, respectively, in the week ending 7 April. Record prices were a result of strong restocker demand for flock rebuilding in response to greatly improved seasonal conditions. Processor and export demand has remained firm.

Dairy

The price of anhydrous milk fat (AMF) rose 2 per cent to US$5,936 a tonne at the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction event on 4 April 2017, while the price of skim milk powder fell by 2 per cent to US$1,913 a tonne. The ratio of AMF to skim milk powder is currently at the highest level since these products began trading on the GDT in 2010 (Figure 1). This divergence of milk fat to solids-not-fat follows large exportable surpluses of skim milk powder, particularly in the European Union, and strong global demand for milk fat.

Figure 1 Ratio of AMF and SMP prices on GDT, March 2010 to April 2017

This is an image of a gold line graph depicting the ratio of anhydrous milk fat prices to skim milk powder prices a tonne from March 2010 to February 2017. 

Source: Global Dairy Trade

Current indicators

Last reviewed:
14 Jun 2017