Weekly update - 29 March 2018

​Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 28 March 2018 widespread rainfall was recorded in north-eastern and south-eastern Australia.
  • Maximum temperatures ranged between 2°C to 6°C below average across northern Queensland and south-eastern New South Wales for the week ending 27 March 2018. They were 2°C to 6°C above average in Western Australia and the western half of the Northern Territory.
  • With major climate drivers in a neutral state, 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, south-eastern New South Wales, Tasmania and northern parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory have a higher chance of exceeding the median rainfall during this period.
  • During the next eight days rainfall is expected across parts of western, north-eastern and eastern Australia, and Tasmania, with little to no rainfall forecast for the rest of the country.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 29 March 2018 by 181 gigalitres (GL) to 11,743 GL and are at 52 per cent of total capacity. This is 16 percentage points or 3,602 GL less than at the same time last year.
  • Allocation prices in the southern Murray–Darling Basin declined in the week ending 29 March 2018 to $119 per ML. This is a decrease of $3 from the same time last week.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 28 March 2018 widespread rainfall was recorded in north-eastern and south-eastern Australia. Tropical Cyclone Nora and an associated monsoon trough brought heavy rainfall and flooding to northern Queensland. Rainfall totals in excess of 400 millimetres were recorded along the north tropical coast from Ingham to Cooktown, and further west around Normanton. The rain is likely to provide useful inflows to on-farm storages and increase pasture production, benefiting northern graziers as the end of the northern wet season approaches.

Elsewhere, a low pressure trough brought totals exceeding 200 millimetres to north-eastern New South Wales, resulting in flash flooding in some areas. Rainfall totals between 25 and 100 millimetres were recorded in parts of central, south-eastern and western Queensland, western and south-eastern New South Wales, and Tasmania. Similar totals were recorded across most of Victoria except the north-west, northern parts of the Kimberley, and northern and eastern parts of the Northern Territory. The highest recorded weekly total was 792 millimetres at Tully Sugar Mill, south of Cairns in Queensland.

Rainfall - week ending 28 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: 28/03/2018

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 27 March 2018, maximum temperatures ranged between 2°C to 6°C below average across northern Queensland and south-eastern New South Wales. They were 2°C to 6°C above average in Western Australia and the western half of the Northern Territory. Minimum temperatures were close to average for most of the country, with the exception of parts of Western Australia where they were 2°C to 6°C above average.

Maximum temperature anomalies - week ending 27 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: 27/03/2018

Minimum temperature anomalies - week ending 27 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: 27/03/2018

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.

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 expected to persist through the forecast period.

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is also in a neutral state, with forecasts suggesting it will remain neutral until at least the end of May 2018. For June, the Bureau of Meteorology’s climate model suggests an increased likelihood of a negative IOD event. A negative IOD typically means a wetter than average winter and spring for southern Australia. However, forecast accuracy for the IOD is low during the autumn compared to other times of the year, and this outlook should be viewed with some caution.

A wetter than average April is more likely for parts of northern and eastern Queensland and parts of the Top End. Chances of exceeding the median rainfall are lower in central and south-western Western Australia, central Northern Territory, and the Eyre Peninsula region of South Australia.  Elsewhere, there are roughly equal chances of above or below average rainfall during April (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 29 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 Victoria, south-eastern New South Wales, Tasmania and northern parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory have a higher chance of exceeding the median rainfall during this period (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 29 March 2018).

Chance of exceeding the median rainfall April to June 2018

 

The temperature outlook for April to June 2018 indicates that maximum temperatures are more likely to be below average in northern parts of Queensland and the Top End, Northern Territory. Maximum temperatures are more likely to exceed the median in Tasmania, southern parts of Victoria and northern parts of the Kimberley, Western Australia. Minimum temperatures are more likely to be below average in Queensland, and northern and eastern parts of the Northern Territory and above average in southern Victoria and Tasmania (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 29 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 expected across parts of western, north-eastern and eastern Australia, and Tasmania, with little to no rainfall forecast for the rest of the country. Parts of north-eastern Queensland may receive between 100 and 200 millimetres of rain, as Ex-tropical Cyclone Iris approaches the coast. Elsewhere, totals between 25 and 50 millimetres are predicted in far northern Queensland, isolated parts of north-eastern New South Wales, south-western Tasmania and western parts of the Top End, Northern Territory.

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 29 March to 5 April 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: 29/03/2018

Water

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Water availability

Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 29 March 2018 by 181 gigalitres (GL) to 11,743 GL and are at 52 per cent of total capacity. This is 16 percentage points or 3,602 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 29 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.

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

Allocations at

29 March 2018

15 March 2018

New South Wales

General security

High security

General security

High security

NSW Murray

51%

97%

51%

97%

NSW Murrumbidgee

38%

95%

38%

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

58%

100%

58%

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 declined in the week ending 29 March 2018 to $119 per ML. This is a decrease of $3 from the same time last week. This contrasts with an average price of $105 in February across the whole southern MDB, and $42 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 29 March 2018. Trade activity is shown as colour density.

 

Southern MDB

Victoria Goulburn

SA Murray

NSW Murrumbidgee

Victoria Murray

NSW Murray

Current week:
23/03/18 – 29/03/18

$119.29

$108.95

$106.03

$159.76

$127.88

$127.08

Last week:
16/03/18 – 22/03/18

$122.79

$109.52

$108.13

$158.53

$130.51

$115.86

February 2018

$105.19

$82.04

$112.79

$130.91

$108.24

$108.40

February 2017

$41.86

$50.76

$54.28

$21.49

$49.71

$43.83

Commodities

Current indicators – 29 March 2018

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

Selected world indicator prices

Australian Dollar – AUD/USD Exchange Rate28-MarUS$/A$0.770.78-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.0.761%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf27-MarUS$/t234244-4%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.19123%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 Gulf28-MarUS$/t170174-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.1569%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Europe, fob Hamburga27-MarUS$/t426425<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.440-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index28-MarUSc/lb91.492.2<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.86.95%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 contract28-MarUSc/lb12.512.7-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.17.4-28%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator29-MarAc/kg clean1,7721,778<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.1,50218%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator23-MarAc/kg clean1,8691,8342%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1,53422%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, SA27-MarA$/t2402400%18430%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Wheat – General purpose, Sydney, NSW28-MarA$/t2782780%20635%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Barley – Sydney, NSW28-MarA$/t2792790%19047%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Portland, Vic.19-MarA$/t492497-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.510-4% chart
Grain Sorghum – Sydney, NSW28-MarA$/t3503500%24443%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 Indicator22-MarAc/kg cwt544562-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.622-13%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), Vic23-MarAc/kg cwt4554218%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.467-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator22-MarAc/kg cwt6196072%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.632-2%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 & sellers16-MarAc/kg cwt273275<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.337-19%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)19-MarAc/kg cwt4684680%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 Indonesia24-MarAc/kg lwt310320-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.340-9%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 East26-Mar$/head1261214%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.11312%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 powder20-MarUS$/t3,2263,232<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.2,85513%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder20-MarUS$/t1,8872,051-8%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.1,948-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese20-MarUS$/t3,6093,759-4%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.3,4066%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat20-MarUS$/t6,2496,245<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.5,7998%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:
29 Mar 2018