Weekly update - 18 May 2017

​Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 17 May 2017 little to no rainfall was recorded across the majority of Australia. Rainfall totals in excess of 25 millimetres were recorded in isolated areas of north-eastern and central New South Wales, northern Tasmania, and in southern parts of Western Australia.
  • During the week ending 16 May 2017 maximum temperatures were generally average to above average across much of the country. Minimum temperatures were 4°C and 6°C below average in western New South Wales, eastern South Australia, northern Victoria, parts of the Northern Territory and in far northern Western Australia.
  • The forecast for the next eight days indicates that rainfall totals exceeding 25 millimetres are forecast for much of eastern Australia and parts of far south-west Western Australia. The highest rainfall is expected in Queensland, with totals to exceed 200 millimetres.
  • These expected falls are associated with a low pressure system and trough crossing the country from west to east. They are expected to produce a significant rain event in the eastern states and territories over the next three days. If these falls eventuate they will provide a timely boost to soil moisture levels and assist with the planting and germination of winter crops after a dry start to May 2017.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) increased by 55 gigalitres (GL) during the week ending 18 May 2017 to 15,216 GL and are at 67 per cent of total capacity.
  • Water outlooks were released for all major catchments in the southern Murray-Darling Basin, indicating high amounts of likely carryover and reasonable starting allocations for 2017-18.
  • Water market prices stabilised and remained low in the week to 18 May 2017.
  • Anhydrous milk fat reached its highest ever price at the latest Global Dairy Trade auction held this week.
  • The United States is expected to resume exporting beef to China from July 2017 following the announcement of a trade agreement between the two countries.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 17 May 2017 little to no rainfall was recorded across the majority of Australia. Rainfall totals in excess of 25 millimetres were recorded in isolated areas of north-eastern and central New South Wales, northern Tasmania, and in southern parts of Western Australia. The highest recorded weekly total was 73 millimetres at Beaumont West near Esperance on the southern coast of Western Australia.

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 17 May 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: 17/05/2017

Temperature anomalies this week

During the week ending 16 May 2017 maximum temperatures were generally average to above average across much of the country. Northern parts of South Australia and southern parts of the Northern Territory recorded temperatures between 4°C and 6°C above average. Minimum temperatures were between 4°C and 6°C below average in western New South Wales, eastern South Australia and parts of northern Victoria. Similar anomalies were recorded in parts of the Northern Territory and in far northern Western Australia.

Maximum temperature anomalies - week ending 16 May 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: 16/05/2017

Minimum temperature anomalies - week ending 16 May 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: 16/05/2017

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.

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

The forecast for the next eight days indicates that rainfall totals exceeding 25 millimetres are forecast for much of eastern Australia and parts of far south-west Western Australia. The highest rainfall is expected in Queensland around Innisfail to Gladstone, with totals to exceed 200 millimetres.

These expected falls are associated with a low pressure system and trough crossing the country from west to east. They are expected to produce a significant rain event in the eastern states and territories over the next three days. This heavy rainfall may result in isolated flash flooding in some parts of the country and severe thunderstorms are also possible. If these falls eventuate they will provide a timely boost to soil moisture levels and assist with the planting and germination of winter crops after a dry start to May 2017.

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 18 to 25 May 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. 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 18/05/2017

Water

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Water availability

Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) increased during the week ending 18 May 2017 by 55 gigalitres (GL) to 15,216 GL and are at 67 per cent of total capacity. This is 37 percentage points or 8,315 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 18 May 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 markets

Water outlooks were released for major NSW and Victorian trading zones this week.

  • Coming out of a wet 2016–17 there is likely to be relatively large volumes of carryover in all southern zones.
  • NSW Murray is expected to start with 97 per cent for High Security and at least 4 per cent for General Security allocation.
  • Victorian Murray High Reliability is likely to start the year with 50 per cent and Goulburn High Reliability is likely to receive about 30 per cent.

Allocation prices in the southern Murray—Darling Basin (MDB) remained stable in the week to 18 May 2017 across the whole southern system, with an average price of $26.06 a megalitre In the Murrumbidgee the average price was $5.01 a megalitre. This contrasts with an average price of $41.41 a megalitre in March and $31.97 a megalitre in April 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. Data shown is current until Thursday 11 May, 2017. 

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 11 May, 2017.

Allocation trade prices, southern Murray-Darling Basin (price per ML)
 

Goulburn

South Australia

Murrumbidgee

Victoria Murray

NSW Murray

Current week: 12/05/17 - 18/05/17

$29.67

$26.28

$5.01

$28.31

$28.77

Last week: 05/05/17 - 11/05/17

$30.14

$33.91

$5.13

$32.57

$25.24

April 2017

$42.14

$36.43

$10.93

$42.81

$35.65

April 2016

$248.09

$242.75

$207.77

$246.43

$237.31

Commodities

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Market focus

Dairy

The price of anhydrous milk fat (AMF) rose 7 per cent to US$6,631 a tonne at the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction on 16 May 2017. This is the highest price for AMF achieved on the GDT since it began trading in November 2009. In real terms, the price for AMF during the June 2017 quarter to date is the second highest on record since the March 2011 quarter.

Beef exports

  • The United States is expected to resume exporting beef to China in July 2017 for the first time since 2003, following an announcement in May 2017 of a trade agreement between the two countries. The greater China region is already a large market for US beef, with Hong Kong importing almost 100,000 tonnes (shipped weight) of US beef in 2015–16. Chinese imports of US beef are expected to be of mainly frozen beef. Imports of Australian frozen beef by the greater China region are price competitive by comparison. For example, in 2015–16 the average unit import value of Australian frozen beef into Hong Kong averaged 33 per cent below that of US frozen beef imports.

Hong Kong beef imports 2015-16

Bar chart showing Hong Kong beef imports for 2015-16
Source: UN Comtrade

Current indicators

Last reviewed:
14 Jun 2017