Weekly update - 15 March 2018

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

Key issues

  • During the week ending 14 March 2018 rainfall was mainly recorded in northern and central Australia, and isolated parts of the east coast. Little to no rainfall was received across the remainder of the country.
  • Maximum temperatures were 2°C to 6°C below average across most of Queensland and southern parts of the Northern Territory for the week ending 13 March 2018. They were 2°C to 6°C above average in central New South Wales, Victoria, eastern South Australia and western parts of Western Australia.
  • The mid-month climate outlook for April to June 2018 indicates no strong tendency towards either wetter or drier than average conditions for most of Australia. Eastern parts of Victoria, Tasmania and south-eastern New South Wales have slightly higher chances of exceeding the median rainfall during this period.
  • The Bureau of Meteorology report that the El Niño-Southern Oscillation has returned to neutral, marking the end of the 2017–18 La Niña.
  • During the next eight days rainfall is mainly expected in northern Australia and western Tasmania.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 15 March 2018 by 374 gigalitres (GL) to 12,071 GL and are at 53 per cent of total capacity. This is 16 percentage points or 3,507 GL less than at the same time last year.
  • Allocation prices in the southern Murray–Darling Basin increased in the week ending 15 March 2018 to $112 per ML. This is an increase of $2 from the same time last week.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 14 March 2018 rainfall was mainly recorded in northern and central Australia, and isolated parts of the east coast. Little to no rainfall was received across the remainder of the country. Rainfall totals between 15 and 50 millimetres were recorded around Sydney, north-eastern New South Wales and coastal Queensland. Similar totals were recorded in western Queensland, northern parts of Western Australia and northern parts of South Australia. Higher totals (between 50 and 200 millimetres) were recorded in the Northern Territory and northern parts of Queensland. Coastal parts of tropical Queensland experienced very heavy rainfall during the past week, with totals exceeding 400 millimetres. The highest recorded weekly total was 775 millimetres at Topaz Alert, south of Cairns.

Widespread flooding has continued in parts of northern Queensland from Townsville to Cairns and around Ingham. There are numerous reports of damage to banana plantations and sugar cane crops. Banana crops are particularly vulnerable to continued inundation, resulting in root dieback and leaf yellowing of the banana plants, and bunch damage or downgrading. While the full extent of crop losses will not be known until later this month, there are concerns that flooding could lead to the further spread of Panama Tropical Race Four (TR4) disease in the Tully growing region. Biosecurity Queensland have asked the broader community to help protect Queensland’s banana industry from Panama TR4 in flood situations. This includes limiting the spread of mud and plant material, avoiding sightseeing near flooded banana farms and avoiding entering flooded farms unless it’s an emergency.

Rainfall - week ending 14 March 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: 14/03/2018

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.

Temperature anomalies this week

For the week ending 13 March 2018, maximum temperatures were 2°C to 6°C below average across most of Queensland and southern parts of the Northern Territory. They were 2°C to 6°C above average in central New South Wales, Victoria, eastern South Australia and western parts of Western Australia. Maximum temperatures were between 6°C and 8°C above average in coastal parts of the Gascoyne region in Western Australia. Minimum temperatures were close to average for most of the country, with the exception of central New South Wales, South Australia and parts of Western Australia where they were 2°C to 4°C above average.

Maximum temperature anomalies - week ending 13 March 2018

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 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 13/03/2018

Minimum temperature anomalies - week ending 13 March 2018

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 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 13/03/2018

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.

Mid-month National Climate Outlook

The rainfall and temperature outlooks presented below show the likelihood, represented as a percentage, of experiencing wetter or drier (and warmer or cooler) than median climatic conditions for the given outlook periods. Climate outlooks are generated by the Predictive Climate Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia (POAMA), a dynamical (physics-based) climate model developed by the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric research division.

For further information, go to About the climate outlooks

The current outlook reflects the neutral state of most major climate drivers, with no strong shift towards wetter or drier conditions across most of Australia. The La Niña in the tropical Pacific Ocean has ended, and neutral El Niño–Southern Oscillation conditions prevail. A neutral ENSO state is forecast to persist through the forecast period.

A wetter than average April is more likely for far northern Queensland, parts of eastern and south-eastern Australia, and parts of northern and southern Western Australia. Elsewhere, there are roughly equal chances of above or below average rainfall during April (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 15 March 2018).

Chance of exceeding the median rainfall April 2018

 

The rainfall outlook for April to June 2018 indicates no strong tendency towards either wetter or drier than average conditions for most of Australia. Eastern parts of Victoria, Tasmania and south-eastern New South Wales have a higher chance of exceeding the median rainfall during this period. (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 15 March 2018).

Chance of exceeding the median rainfall April to June 2018

 

The temperature outlook for April to June 2018 indicates no strong signal toward either above or below temperatures for most of Australia. Maximum and minimum temperatures are more likely to be below average in parts of the Cape York Peninsula, while minimum temperatures are more likely to be above average in parts of southern Victoria, Tasmania, eastern South Australia and southern parts of Western Australia. (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 15 March 2018).

Chance of exceeding the median maximum temperature April to June 2018

 

Chance of exceeding the median minimum temperature April to June 2018

 

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

During the next eight days, rainfall is mainly expected in northern Australia and western Tasmania. A monsoon trough and associated low pressure system are predicted to bring between 25 and 100 millimetres of rain to northern parts of Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Higher totals (exceeding 200 millimetres) are forecast for northern parts of the Top End. Elsewhere, totals between 15 and 50 millimetres are forecast for western Tasmania and isolated parts of south-western Queensland and north-western New South Wales. 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 15 to 22 March 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. 

Source: ©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 15/03/2018

Water

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Water availability

Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 15 March 2018 by 374 gigalitres (GL) to 12,071 GL and are at 53 per cent of total capacity. This is 16 percentage points or 3,507 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 15 March 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.

On 15 March 2018 NSW Department of Primary Industries announced allocation increases of:

  • 4 per cent for NSW Murrumbidgee general security to 38 per cent
  • 2 per cent for NSW Murray general security to 51 per cent
Water allocations in the Murray–Darling Basin (NSW, Victoria and South Australia)

Allocations at

15 March 2018

15 February 2018

New South Wales

General security

High security

General security

High security

NSW Murray

51%

97%

49%

97%

NSW Murrumbidgee

38%

95%

34%

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

55%

100%

55%

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 15 March 2018 to $112 per ML. This is an increase of $2 from the same time last week. This contrasts with an average price of $105 in February, and $42 at the same time 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 15 March 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:
09/03/18 – 15/03/18

$111.52

$93.88

$108.31

$150.72

$111.04

$108.11

Last week:
02/03/18 – 08/03/18

$109.42

$89.63

$97.51

$148.12

$108.13

$107.01

February 2018

$105.13

$82.02

$112.79

$130.87

$108.02

$108.50

February 2017

$41.86

$50.76

$54.28

$21.49

$49.71

$43.83

Commodities

Current indicators – 15 March 2018

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

Selected world indicator prices

Australian Dollar – AUD/USD Exchange Rate14-MarUS$/A$0.780.780%0.754%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf13-MarUS$/t256261-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.20326%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 Gulf14-MarUS$/t1791752%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.15913%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Europe, fob Hamburga13-MarUS$/t426435-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.439-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index14-MarUSc/lb93.192.3<1% This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.86.68%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 contract14-MarUSc/lb12.813.4-4%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.18.2-30%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator08-MarAc/kg clean1,7781,830-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.1,52217%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator09-MarAc/kg clean1,8591,905-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.1,55619%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, SA13-MarA$/t242240<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.18729%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Wheat – General purpose, Sydney, NSW14-MarA$/t2782780%21132%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Barley – Sydney, NSW14-MarA$/t2792790%19047%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Portland, Vic.05-MarA$/t497493<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.520-4%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Grain Sorghum – Sydney, NSW14-MarA$/t3503500%24941%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 Indicator08-MarAc/kg cwt5665395%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.614-8%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), Vic09-MarAc/kg cwt407408<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.440-8%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator08-MarAc/kg cwt597624-4%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.611-2%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 & sellers02-MarAc/kg cwt275277<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.353-22%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)05-MarAc/kg cwt4664660%651-28%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 Indonesia10-MarAc/kg lwt3203200%nana chart
Live sheep – Live wether (Muchea WA saleyard) to Middle East12-Mar$/head117124-6%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.1152%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart

Global Dairy Trade weighted average pricesa

Dairy – Whole milk powder06-MarUS$/t3,2323,246<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.2,78216%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder06-MarUS$/t2,0511,83212%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.2,118-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese06-MarUS$/t3,7593,6862%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.3,4359%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat06-MarUS$/t6,2456,458-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.5,63511%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:
16 Mar 2018