Weekly update - 17 December 2020

Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 16  December troughs and low pressure systems generated showers and thunderstorm activity across parts of northern, western and eastern Australia. Rainfall this week across summer cropping regions is likely to benefit the production potential of earlier sown crops and assist the germination and establishment of dryland crops sown on variable soil moisture.
  • Global crop production conditions continue to be favourable despite mixed climatic conditions across parts of the European Union, Ukraine, China, United States, Argentina, Australia and the Russian Federation.
  • November rainfall percentiles and current production conditions indicate marginal deterioration from global conditions seen during October, which were used to formulate ABARES forecasts of global grain supplies and the impact on world prices in its December 2020 edition of Agricultural commodities.
  • The global climate outlook indicates that below average to average rainfall is more likely between January and March 2021 for most of the world's major grain- and oilseed-producing regions. Partially due to the influence of La Niña, below average rainfall is expected for parts of the southern United States, eastern Ukraine, Kazakhstan, western and southern China, eastern India and north-eastern Argentina.
  • Over the next eight days, troughs and low pressure systems are expected to generate showers and storms over northern, central and eastern Australia. Across cropping regions, rainfall of between 10 and 50 millimetres is expected across parts of eastern and northern New South Wales and Queensland. Rainfall totals in excess of 50 millimetres is expected in cropping regions across north-eastern New South Wales and isolated parts of central and south-eastern Queensland.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) decreased by 207 gigalitres (GL) between 9 December 2020 and 16 December 2020. The current volume of water held in storage is 14,653 GL, which represents 58% of total capacity.
  • Allocation prices in the Victorian Murray below the Barmah Choke decreased from $215 per ML to $205 per ML between 10 December 2020 and 17 December 2020. Prices are lower in the Goulburn-Broken, Murrumbidgee and regions above the Barmah Choke, due to binding of the Goulburn intervalley trade and Murrumbidgee export limits, and the Barmah Choke trade constraint.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 16  December 2020 troughs and low pressure systems generated showers and thunderstorm activity across parts of northern, western and eastern Australia.

Rainfall totals of between 15 and 100 millimetres were recorded across parts of eastern New South Wales, northern, eastern and central Queensland, south-western South Australia and large parts of central and northern Western Australia and the west and north of the Northern Territory. Rainfall totals in excess of 100 millimetres were recorded across isolated parts of northern and central Western Australia, the north of the Northern Territory, northern and south-eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales.

In Australia’s cropping regions, rainfall totals of between 5 and 25 millimetres were recorded across parts of northern New South Wales, eastern and northern Queensland, western South Australia, the north and central regions of the Western Australian wheat belt and isolated parts of western Victoria. Rainfall totals greater than 25 millimetres were recorded across cropping regions in isolated parts of north-eastern New South Wales, and south-eastern and northern Queensland. Little to no rainfall was recorded across remaining cropping regions during the week ending 16  December 2020.

Rainfall across some eastern Australian cropping regions during the week ending 16  December 2020 has likely slowed the progress of the winter crop harvest, as harvest activities wrap up in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales and are well underway across southern Australia. Meanwhile, in summer cropping regions that received rainfall totals in excess of 15 millimetres, these falls are likely to benefit the production potential of earlier sown crops and assist the germination and establishment of dryland crops sown on variable soil moisture.

Rainfall for the week ending 16 December 2020

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 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 16/12/2020

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 http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/rainfall/

Global production conditions and climate outlook

Crop production is affected by long-term trends in average rainfall and temperature, interannual climate variability, shocks during specific phenological stages, and extreme weather events (IPCC 2012). Some crops are more tolerant than others to certain types of stresses, and at each phenological stage, different types of stresses affect each crop species in different ways.

The precipitation anomalies and outlooks presented here give an indication of the current and future state of production conditions for the major grain and oilseed producing countries which are responsible for over 80% of global production. This is an important input to assessing the global grain supply outlook. The November rainfall percentiles and current production conditions presented here show a marginal deterioration from global conditions seen during October, which were used to formulate ABARES forecasts of global grain supplies and the impact on world prices in its December 2020 edition of Agricultural commodities.

November rainfall percentiles and current production conditions

As of the end of November 2020, rainfall was mixed for the world’s major grain and oil producing regions.

In the northern hemisphere, November rainfall was below average across much of Europe and parts of western Russia, western Kazakhstan, south-eastern China, eastern Canada, the north and south-east of the United States, and northern Mexico. Rainfall was above average across parts of eastern, western and northern Russia, north-eastern China and isolated parts of India, central Southeast Asia and central Canada. Rainfall was generally average across the remainder of major grain and oil producing regions in the northern hemisphere.

In the southern hemisphere, November rainfall was generally below average across parts of southern and western Brazil, Argentina and eastern Australia and above average across parts of north-eastern Brazil and south-western Australia. Rainfall was generally average across the remainder of major grain and oil producing regions in the southern hemisphere.

Global precipitation percentiles, November 2020

Map showing global monthly precipitation percentiles below the 20th percentile and above the 80th percentile. This map uses the climatology baseline of 1981 to 2010 for the month analysed. This map uses data from the NOAA Climate Prediction Centre CAMS_OPI. Image provided by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

Note: The world precipitation percentiles indicate a ranking of precipitation for November, with the driest (0th percentile) being 0 on the scale and the wettest (100th percentile) being 1 on the scale. Percentiles are based on precipitation estimates from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center's Climate Anomaly Monitoring System Outgoing Precipitation Index dataset. Precipitation estimates for November 2020 are compared with rainfall recorded for that period during the 1981 to 2010 base period.
Source: International Research Institute for Climate and Society

As at 28 November 2020 global production conditions were generally favourable.

In the southern hemisphere, conditions for wheat crops were mixed in Australia. Conditions were exceptional in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia resulting in above average yields and conditions were poor in Queensland and Western Australia due to prolonged dryness, resulting in reduced yields at least 5% below the 5-year average to 2019–2020. The area sown to summer crops is expected to increase in comparison to last year. Similarly, in Argentina conditions were favourable in Buenos Aires and La Pampa but prolonged dryness damaged many crops in Northern provinces.

Conditions were similarly mixed in the northern hemisphere. Conditions were generally favourable for the sowing of winter wheat and crop development in the European Union, Ukraine, India, and Canada, with mixed conditions in parts of the European Union due to excessive rainfall and in parts of the Ukraine due to dryness. Dryness has impacted the sowing and development of winter wheat in parts of the United States, China and Russia.

Global maize production is expected to reach record levels in 2020–21. Growing conditions for maize were generally favourable for harvest in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the European Union, with the exception of drought impacted crops in parts of eastern and western Europe. Conditions were poor for harvest in Ukraine due to severe drought. Conditions were generally favourable for spring-planted crop development in Brazil and sowing in Argentina, South Africa and India.

Conditions for harvesting were generally favourable for late rice in China, Kharif (wet season) rice in India, dry-season rice in Indonesia and wet-season rice in Vietnam. Conditions were generally favourable for the sowing of wet-season rice in Indonesia and dry-season rice in Vietnam, and for the development of wet-season rice in Thailand. Conditions were mixed for the harvesting of wet-season rice in the Philippines due to tropical cyclone activity leading to lodging and flooding damage.

Global soybean production is expected to reach a record level in 2020–21. Conditions were generally favourable for soybeans as harvest wrapped up in Canada and India, and poor as harvest wrapped up in Ukraine due to prolonged drought. Sowing and development in Brazil and Argentina progressed under favourable conditions, however additional rainfall is needed in parts of Argentina to complete sowing. In Australia, the canola harvest is wrapping up under generally favourable growing conditions.

Crop conditions, AMIS countries, 28 November 2020

Figure showing wheat, maize, rice and soy conditions for AMIS countries during the previous month. Image provided by AMIS. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

AMIS Agricultural Market Information System.
Source: AMIS

Rainfall outlook and potential impact on the future state of production conditions between January and March 2021
Region January-March rainfall outlook  Potential impact on production
Canada Above average rainfall is more likely for much of south-western Canada and parts of central and south-eastern Canada between January and March 2021. Winter wheat is dormant in Canada during January and February. Average to above average rainfall in March is likely to support wheat development.
United States Above average rainfall is more likely for parts of the northern and eastern US and below average rainfall is more likely for most of the southern half of the US between January and March 2021. Winter wheat and canola are dormant in the United States during January and February. An outlook for further dry condition could reduce snow cover insulation and damage crops during dormancy in the United States. Above average rainfall across the northern US is likely to benefit crop development in March.
Brazil Above average rainfall is more likely across parts of northern Brazil, with generally average rainfall more likely across the remainder of the country between January and March 2021. Average or better rainfall across much of Brazil is likely to support the development of corn, soybeans, cotton, nuts, rice, sorghum, millet and sunflower, and the planting of soybeans in the central-west.
Argentina Below average rainfall is more likely for parts of north-eastern Argentina and above average rainfall is more likely for parts of western Argentina between January and March 2021. Below average rainfall in the east may adversely affect the development of corn, cotton, soybeans, sunflower, rice, sorghum, millet and nuts between January and March.
Europe Average rainfall more likely for most of Europe between January and March 2021. Winter wheat and canola are dormant in Europe during January and February. Average rainfall in March is likely to support winter heading and corn planting in the south.
South Asia (India) Average rainfall is more likely across much of India, with above average rainfall more likely across parts of southern India and below average rainfall more likely across parts of central and eastern India.   Average or better rainfall is likely to support wheat and canola development across most of India between January and March.
Southeast Asia (SEA) Above average rainfall is more likely for parts of Malaysia, eastern and southern Thailand, southern Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and central Indonesia. Below average rainfall is more likely for much of Indonesia between January and March 2021. Average or better rainfall across most of Southeast Asia is likely to benefit corn and rice sowing, development and harvest. Below average rainfall across much of Indonesia may adversely impact rice, corn and soybean development and harvest.
Black Sea Region Ukraine - Below average rainfall is more likely across parts of eastern Ukraine.
Kazakhstan - Below average rainfall is more likely across most of Kazakhstan.
Russia - Above average rainfall more likely for parts of western and central and Russia and average rainfall is more likely for the remainder of Russia.
Winter wheat and canola are dormant in the Black Sea Region during January and February. An outlook for dry conditions in the Ukraine and Kazakhstan could reduce snow cover insulation and damage crops during dormancy and development during March. Average or better rainfall in March across Russia is likely to benefit crop development in southern regions.
China Below average rainfall is more likely across parts of western and southern China and above average rainfall is more likely across parts of north-eastern and central China. Winter wheat and canola are dormant in China during January and February.  Above average rainfall in the north-east is likely to benefit wheat and canola development and early rice planting in March. Below average rainfall in the south may adversely affect the development and planting of crops in March.

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

Troughs and low pressure systems are expected to generate showers and storms over northern, central and eastern Australia during the next eight days.

Rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres are forecast for parts of eastern New South Wales, eastern Victoria, north-eastern South Australia, northern and eastern Western Australia and much of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Tasmania. Rainfall totals in excess of 50 millimetres is expected across parts of northern Western Australia, north of the Northern Territory, northern and far south-eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales.

In cropping regions, rainfall of between 10 and 50 millimetres is expected across parts of eastern and northern New South Wales and Queensland. Rainfall totals in excess of 50 millimetres is expected in cropping regions across north-eastern New South Wales and isolated parts of central and south-eastern Queensland. Little to no rainfall is expected across remaining cropping regions during the next eight days.

Total forecast rainfall (mm) for the period 17 December to 24 December 2020

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 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 17/12/2020

Note: This rainfall forecast is produced from computer models. As the model outputs are not altered by weather forecasters, it is important to check local forecasts and warnings issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.

Commodities

Information on weekly price changes in agricultural commodities is now available at the Weekly commodity price update.

Water

Water storages, water markets and water allocations - current week

The Tableau dashboard may not meet accessibility requirements. For information about the contents of these dashboards contact ABARES.

 
Last reviewed: 13 January 2021
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