Weekly update - 21 January 2021

Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 20  January troughs, low pressure systems and a cold front 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 and yield potential of dryland crops sown on variable soil moisture.
  • Global crop production conditions continue to be favourable despite dry conditions across parts of Australia, Argentina, Brazil, the European Union, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the United States affecting the production potential of wheat and corn.
  • December 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.
  • The global climate outlook indicates that average to above average rainfall is slightly more likely between February and April 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 north-eastern Argentina, far southern Brazil, western and south-eastern China, northern and central India, Kazakhstan and the southern United States.
  • Over the next eight days, troughs, low pressure systems and frontal activity are expected to generate showers and storms over parts of northern, western and southern Australia. In Australia’s summer cropping regions, rainfall of between 5 and 10 millimetres is expected across northern New South Wales and parts of eastern and western Queensland cropping regions. Little to no rainfall is expected across remaining summer cropping regions during the next eight days.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) decreased by 245 gigalitres (GL) between 13 January 2021 and 20 January 2021. The current volume of water held in storage is 13,884 GL, which represents 55% of total capacity.
  • Allocation prices in the Victorian Murray below the Barmah Choke decreased from $165 per ML to $130 per ML between 14 January 2021 and 21 January 2021. 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 20  January 2021 troughs, low pressure systems and a cold front generated showers and thunderstorm activity across parts of northern, western and eastern Australia. In addition, tropical cyclone Kimi developed to the east of Cairns in the middle of week, generating heavy falls across parts of north-eastern Queensland.

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

In Australia’s summer cropping regions, rainfall totals of between 5 and 50 millimetres were generally restricted to parts of southern Queensland during the week ending 20  January 2021.

Rainfall across summer cropping regions during the week ending 20  January 2021 is likely to benefit the production and yield potential of dryland crops sown on variable soil moisture.

Rainfall for the week ending 20 January 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 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 20/01/2021

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.

December rainfall percentiles and current production conditions

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

In the Northern Hemisphere, December rainfall was above average in the United Kingdom and parts of southern and northern Europe, the north-east of the United States, northern and central Canada, central, eastern Russia, southern India, southern Thailand and the Philippines. Rainfall was below average across parts of central Europe, western Russia, Kazakhstan, the south-west of the United States and southern Canada. Rainfall was generally average across the remainder of major grain and oil producing regions in the Northern Hemisphere.

In the Southern Hemisphere, December rainfall was above average across parts of northern, central and south-eastern Australia and below average across parts of central Brazil, northern, central and south-western Argentina 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, December 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 December, 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 July 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 December 2020 global production conditions were generally favourable, despite some dryness affecting the production potential of wheat and corn.

In the Southern Hemisphere, conditions for harvest were mixed for Australia and Argentina, with dryness reducing yields in some areas. In the Northern Hemisphere, conditions were generally favourable for sowing and crop development in the European Union, the United Kingdom and Ukraine. Conditions were generally favourable for winter wheat sowing in China, India and Canada. Conditions were mixed for winter wheat sowing in the Russian Federation and the United States of America due to dryness in some areas.

Conditions for maize were generally favourable as harvest wrapped up in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the European Union, with the exception of France, Bulgaria and Romania that have reduced yields from drought. Harvest was wrapping up under poor conditions in Ukraine due to severe drought. Conditions were generally favourable for sowing in India, Argentina and South Africa. The development of spring-planted crop in Brazil continued under generally favourable conditions, with dryness affecting some areas.

Harvesting conditions were generally favourable for late rice in China and Kharif rice in India. Conditions were generally favourable for harvesting of dry-season rice in Indonesia and sowing of wet-season rice. In Vietnam, conditions were favourable in the north and south for the harvest of wet-season rice and sowing of dry-season rice in the south. In the Philippines, conditions were mixed for the harvest of wet-season rice due to damage caused by tropical cyclones. Conditions were favourable in Thailand for the development of wet-season rice.

Harvesting conditions for soybeans were favourable for Canada and India, and poor for Ukraine due to prolonged drought. Conditions were generally favourable for crop development in Brazil and sowing in Argentina, however further rain is needed to complete sowing.

Crop conditions, AMIS countries, 28 December 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 February and April 2021
Region February-April rainfall outlook  Potential impact on production
Canada Above average rainfall is more likely for isolated parts of south-western and south-eastern Canada between February and April 2021. Following dormancy, average to above average rainfall is likely to support wheat development in Canada from March 2021.
United States Above average rainfall is more likely for parts of the northern and eastern US and below average rainfall is more likely for the south-western and far south-eastern US between February and April 2021. Following dormancy, average to above average rainfall is likely to support wheat development in the northern and eastern US from March 2021 and the planting of spring wheat, canola, cotton, corn and rice from April 2021. Below average rainfall may adversely impact crop development and planting in the southern US.
Brazil Above average rainfall is more likely across much of northern and central Brazil and below average rainfall is more likely across parts of far southern Brazil between February and April 2021. Average to above average rainfall across much of Brazil is likely to support the development of soybeans, cotton, rice, sorghum, millet, sunflower, nuts and corn prior to harvesting of some crops beginning in March 2021. Below average rainfall in the far south may adversely affect the development and harvesting of crops in that region.
Argentina Above average rainfall is more likely for parts of the north-west of Argentina and below average rainfall is more likely across parts of eastern Argentina between February and April 2021. Below average rainfall in north-eastern cropping regions may adversely affect the development of sorghum, rice, millet, corn, sunflower, cotton and nuts prior to the harvest of early corn in March 2021 and the harvest of several crops in April 2021. Above average rainfall in the north-west is likely to support the development of crops in this region.
Europe Average to above average rainfall more likely for most of Europe between February and April 2021. Average to above average rainfall is likely to support winter wheat and canola development in March and April 2021 following dormancy and the planting of corn, cotton and spring wheat from March 2021.
South Asia (India) Below average rainfall is more likely across much of northern and central India and above average rainfall is more likely across southern, western and north-eastern India between February and April 2021. The development of wheat and canola in parts of western, southern and north-eastern India is likely to be supported by above average rainfall and these crops may be adversely affected by below average rainfall in northern and central India.
Southeast Asia (SEA) Above average rainfall is more likely for the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and parts of northern Indonesia and southern Myanmar and below average rainfall is more likely for parts of central and south-western Indonesia and central Myanmar. Generally average or better rainfall across most of Southeast Asia is likely to benefit corn and rice planting, development and harvesting, as well as soybean harvesting in Indonesia. Below average rainfall in parts of Indonesia and Myanmar may adversely impact rice, corn and soybean production.
Black Sea Region Ukraine - Average rainfall is more likely across Ukraine.
Kazakhstan - Below rainfall is more likely across parts of central Kazakhstan.
Russia - Above average rainfall more likely across large parts of central Russia and parts of eastern Russia, and below average rainfall is more likely for parts southern Russia north of Kazakhstan.
Below average rainfall may adversely affect winter wheat and canola development and cotton, corn and sunflower planting in parts of southern Russia from March 2021. Average or better rainfall across the remainder or Russia is likely to support the development and planting of these crops as well as spring wheat planting in the north in April 2021.
China Below average rainfall is more likely across parts of western and south-eastern China and above average rainfall is more likely across parts of central and north-eastern China. Generally average or better rainfall across eastern China is likely to support the development of winter wheat and canola following dormancy and the planting and development of early rice, single rice, cotton and spring wheat from March 2021.

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

Troughs, low pressure systems and frontal activity are expected to generate showers and storms over parts of northern, western and southern Australia during the next eight days.

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

In Australia’s summer cropping regions, rainfall of between 5 and 10 millimetres is expected across northern New South Wales and parts of eastern and western Queensland cropping regions. Little to no rainfall is expected across remaining summer cropping regions during the next eight days.

Total forecast rainfall (mm) for the period 21 January to 28 January 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 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 21/01/2021

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.

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: 21 January 2021
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