Weekly update - 18 February 2021

Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the 7 days to 17 February 2021, troughs, low-pressure systems, fronts and onshore flow generated showers and thunderstorm activity across much of Australia away from the southern coastline. In those summer cropping regions that recorded rainfall this week, these falls are likely to benefit the production prospects and yield potential of dryland crops (see Section 1.1).
  • Global crop production conditions continue to be favourable despite dry conditions across parts of Argentina, Brazil, the Russian Federation, Turkey and the United States, affecting the production potential of wheat, corn and soy (see Section 1.2).
  • January rainfall percentiles and current production conditions are similar to the 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 (see Section 1.2).
  • The global climate outlook indicates that average to above average rainfall is slightly more likely between March and May 2021 for most of the world's major grain- and oilseed-producing regions. Partly due to the influence of La Niña, below average rainfall is expected for parts of eastern and southern Argentina, far southern Brazil, western Europe, western and central India, Indonesia, southern Kazakhstan, the southern United States and western Ukraine (see Section 1.2).
  • Over the next 8 days, troughs, low-pressure systems, onshore flow and a strong cold front are expected to generate showers and storms over parts of northern, western and eastern Australia.
  • In Australia’s summer cropping regions, rainfall totals of between 5 and 25 millimetres is expected for much of northern and eastern New South Wales and Queensland, and isolated parts of eastern Western Australia over the next 8 days (see Section 1.4).
  • Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) decreased by 56 gigalitres (GL) between 10 February 2021 and 17 February 2021. The current volume of water held in storage is 13,563 GL, which represents 54% of total capacity.
  • Allocation prices in the Victorian Murray below the Barmah Choke decreased from $105 per ML on 11 February 2021 to $95 per ML on 18 February 2021. Prices are lower in Murrumbidgee due to binding of the Murrumbidgee export limit.

Climate

[expand all]

Rainfall this week

During the 7 days to 17 February 2021, troughs, low-pressure systems, fronts and onshore flow generated showers and thunderstorm activity across much of Australia away from the southern coastline.

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

In Australia’s summer cropping regions, rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres were recorded across much central and north-eastern New South Wales and western and southern Queensland. Rainfall totals in excess of 50 millimetres were recorded in cropping regions across parts of central New South Wales and central Queensland. Little to no rainfall was recorded in cropping regions across southern Australian during the 7 days to 17  February 2021.

In those summer cropping regions that recorded rainfall during the 7 days to 17  February 2021, these falls are likely to benefit the production prospects and yield potential of dryland crops.

Rainfall for the week ending 17 February 2021

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 2021, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 17/02/2021
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.

January precipitation percentiles and current production conditions

As at the end of January 2021, precipitation was mixed for the world’s major grain and oil producing regions.

In the northern hemisphere, January precipitation was above average in parts of southern and eastern Europe, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, the south of the Russian Federation, the south of the United Kingdom and the centre of the United States of America.

Precipitation was below average across parts of Canada, south-eastern China, Kazakhstan, the north and centre of the Russian Federation and the north-east of the United States of America. Snow cover in the United States of America has been low this season, resulting in less insulation for dormant winter wheat and increasing the risk of frost damage. Precipitation was generally average across the remainder of major grain and oil producing regions in the northern hemisphere.

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

Global precipitation percentiles, January 2021

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 January, 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 January 2021 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 January 2021 global production conditions were generally favourable, despite some dryness affecting the production potential of wheat, corn and soy.

Conditions for wheat in Australia were mixed for the end of harvest. In the northern hemisphere, conditions were generally favourable for wheat development in Canada, the European Union, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and dormancy in China. Conditions were mixed in the Russian Federation, Turkey and the United States of America due to dryness in some areas. Conditions were favourable for winter wheat sowing in India.

Conditions for corn in Argentina were mixed for early-planted crop development due to drought and generally favourable for late-planted crop development. Similarly in Brazil, conditions were mixed for spring-planted crop development due to dryness in the South Region. Conditions were favourable in Brazil for sowing the summer-planted crop. In India, conditions were favourable for Rabi crop development. In South Africa, conditions were exceptional for crop development due to average temperatures and widespread above average rainfall.

Conditions were favourable for transplanting of Rabi rice in India. Harvesting conditions were generally favourable for the harvesting of dry-season rice in Indonesia and sowing of wet-season rice. In the Philippines, conditions were generally favourable for the harvest of wet-season and sowing of dry-season rice, with previous damage to some dry-season rice caused by tropical cyclones. Conditions were favourable in Thailand for the harvest of wet-season rice and mixed for the sowing of dry-season rice, due to extended cold conditions and low irrigated water availability. In Vietnam, conditions were favourable in the south for the harvest of wet-season rice and sowing of dry-season rice in the south.

Conditions for soybeans were mixed in Argentina, with generally favourable conditions supporting the late-planted crop and drought impacting the early-planted crop. Sowing conditions for soybeans improved to favourable in Brazil, due to increased rainfall totals and better distribution. Harvesting in Brazil has also begun under favourable conditions.

Crop conditions, AMIS countries, 28 January 2021

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 March and May 2021

Region March-May rainfall outlook  Potential impact on production
Argentina Above average rainfall is more likely for parts of north-western Argentina and below average rainfall is more likely across parts of eastern and southern Argentina between March and May 2021. Below average rainfall in eastern cropping regions may adversely affect the development and harvesting of sorghum, rice, millet, soybeans, corn, sunflower, cotton and nuts, and the planting of wheat in May 2021. Above average rainfall in the north-west is likely to support the development of crops in this region.
Black Sea Region Ukraine - Below average rainfall is more likely across isolated parts of western Ukraine.
Kazakhstan - Below rainfall is more likely across parts of southern Kazakhstan.
The Russian Federation - Above average rainfall more likely across large parts of central-eastern Russia and parts of western Russia, and below average rainfall is more likely for isolated parts southern Russia north of Kazakhstan.
Below average rainfall in parts of Ukraine and Kazakhstan may adversely affect winter wheat and canola development and cotton, corn and sunflower planting from March 2021. Average or better rainfall across the Russian Federation is likely to support similar crops in the south and the planting and development of spring wheat planting in the north from April 2021.
Brazil Above average rainfall is more likely across much of Brazil and below average rainfall is more likely across parts of far southern Brazil between March and May 2021. Above average rainfall across much of Brazil is likely to support the development of cotton and corn, and the harvesting of soybeans in the central-west. Below average rainfall in parts of the south may adversely affect the development and harvesting of rice, sorghum, millet, sunflower, soybeans, cotton, nuts and corn, and the planting of wheat in May 2021.
Canada Above average rainfall is more likely for parts of south-western and north-western Canada between March and May 2021. Average to above average rainfall is likely to support winter wheat development in Canada from March 2021 and the planting of spring wheat, canola, corn, soybeans and sunflower from May 2021.
China Above average rainfall is more likely across much of China and below average rainfall is more likely across isolated parts of western China. Above average rainfall across much of China is likely to support the development of winter wheat and canola and the planting and development of early rice, single rice, cotton, spring wheat, corn, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower and nuts from March 2021.
Europe Below average rainfall more likely for parts of western Europe and above average rainfall is more likely for parts of central and north-eastern Europe between March and May 2021. Average to above average rainfall across much of Europe is likely to support winter wheat and canola development and the planting and development of corn, cotton, spring wheat, soybeans, sunflower and sorghum. Below average rainfall in the south-west may adversely affect the planting and development of these crops between March and May 2021.
South Asia (India) Below average rainfall is more likely across parts of western and central India and above average rainfall is more likely parts of the coastline of India between March and May 2021. Below average rainfall may adversely affect the development of wheat and canola in parts of western and central India. Average to above average rainfall across the remainder of India is likely to support crop development prior to harvest in April 2021.
Southeast Asia (SEA) Above average rainfall is more likely for most northern SEA countries and below average rainfall is more likely for parts of north Myanmar. The rainfall outlook is mixed for Indonesia, with scattered areas of below and above average rainfall more likely between March and May 2021. Average or better rainfall across most of Southeast Asia is likely to benefit corn and rice planting, development and harvesting. Below average rainfall in parts of Indonesia and Myanmar may adversely impact rice, corn and soybean production.
The United States of America Above average rainfall is more likely for parts of the north-eastern and north-western US and below average rainfall is more likely for the south-western, central and far south-eastern US between March and May 2021. Average or better rainfall in the northern and eastern US is likely to support winter wheat as it comes out of dormancy, as well as the planting and development of spring wheat, canola, corn, cotton, rice, soybeans and nuts. Below average rainfall in the central and southern US may adversely impact the development of winter wheat and the planting and development of corn, cotton, nuts, rice and soybeans.

Rainfall forecast for the next eight days

Troughs, low-pressure systems, onshore flow and a strong cold front are expected to generate showers and storms over parts of northern, western and eastern Australia during the next 8 days.

Rainfall totals of between 10 and 100 millimetres are forecast for parts of eastern New South Wales, south-eastern and northern Queensland, southern and northern Western Australia, the north of the Northern Territory and Tasmania. Rainfall totals in excess of 100 millimetres are expected across parts of northern Queensland and the north of the Northern Territory.

In Australia’s cropping regions, rainfall of between 5 and 25 millimetres is expected for much of northern and eastern New South Wales and Queensland and isolated parts of eastern Western Australia.

Total forecast rainfall (mm) for the period 18 February to 25 February 2021

: 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 2021, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 18/02/2021

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.

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.

 

Commodities

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

Last reviewed: 18 February 2021
Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks! Your feedback has been submitted.

We aren't able to respond to your individual comments or questions.
To contact us directly phone us or submit an online inquiry

Please verify that you are not a robot.

Skip