Weekly update - 1 October 2020

Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 30 September 2020, low pressure systems and cold fronts moved over south-eastern Australia and troughs developed across parts of northern Australia and south-western Western Australia, bringing rainfall to parts of Australia. Moderate falls across parts of south-eastern Australia cropping regions are likely to support current yields, benefit pasture growth and boost soil moisture, particularly in South Australia.
  • Generally average rainfall during September stabilised crop yield potential and pasture growth rates in most southern Australian growing regions. In contrast, below average rainfall across parts of the Western Australian wheat belt is likely to be a concern for yield and pasture production as temperatures increase.
  • Over the next eight days, cold fronts and troughs are expected to bring rainfall to parts of central, south-eastern and far northern Australia, with onshore flow expected to bring rainfall to parts of north-eastern Queensland and southern Western Australia. Across cropping regions, rainfall of between 10 and 50 millimetres is expected across Victoria, South Australia and parts of southern New South Wales. These falls are likely to support favourable winter crop yields and boost soil moisture in south-eastern Australia during the final stages of winter crop development.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) increased by 105 gigalitres (GL) between 23 September 2020 and 30 September 2020. The current volume of water held in storage is 13,883 GL, which represents 55% of total capacity.
  • Allocation prices in the Victorian Murray below the Barmah Choke decreased from $290 per ML to $280 per ML between 24 September 2020 and 1 October 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 30 September 2020 low pressure systems and cold fronts moved over south-eastern Australia and troughs developed across parts of northern Australia and south-western Western Australia, bringing moderate rainfall to parts of Australia. Rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres were recorded across parts of southern New South Wales, central-eastern Queensland, south-eastern and central South Australia, the south-west and north-east of Western Australia, the north-west of the Northern Territory and much of Victoria and Tasmania. Rainfall in excess of 50 millimetres was recorded across isolated parts of eastern Victoria, the north-west of the Northern Territory and western Tasmania.

In Australia’s cropping regions, rainfall totals of between 5 and 25 millimetres were recorded across parts of southern New South Wales, far northern Queensland and Victoria. Rainfall totals of between 15 and 50 millimetres were recorded across most cropping regions in South Australia. Little to no rainfall was recorded across remaining cropping regions during the week ending 30 September 2020.

These substantial falls in South Australia and parts of New South Wales and Victoria are likely to support yield prospects, benefit pasture growth and boost soil moisture, particularly in South Australia.

Rainfall for the week ending 30 September 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: 30/09/2020

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/

Monthly rainfall

September 2020 rainfall was above average to well above average across large parts of northern, eastern and southern Australia, and below average across parts of south-western Australia and isolated parts of south-eastern Australia.

Across most cropping regions, September  2020 rainfall totals were generally average. Rainfall totals for the first two weeks of September were moderate and contained over limited cropping regions, mainly benefitting those in parts of Western Australia, north-eastern New South Wales, central Queensland and south-western Victoria. This was followed by significant rainfall across parts of eastern and southern cropping regions, particularly in New South Wales. This rainfall supported favourable yields and pasture growth, and provided a boost to soil moisture. In contrast, in regions that recorded below average rainfall during winter and have low soil reserves, particularly Western Australia, the low September rainfall totals are likely to be a concern for yield and pasture production as temperatures increase.

During the remainder of the month, moderate rainfall was recorded across cropping regions in parts of southern New South Wales and southern Victoria, much of South Australia and scattered parts of northern Queensland. In most parts of Victoria and South Australia that had generally recorded average or lower September rainfall, these falls provided a boost to soil moisture, and stabilised crop yield potential and pasture growth rates.

Rainfall percentiles for September 2020

Map showing the rainfall percentiles for September 2020 in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

Source: Bureau of Meteorology
Note: Rainfall for September 2020 is compared with rainfall recorded for that period during the historical record (1900 to present). For further information, go to http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/awap/

Monthly soil moisture

Upper layer soil moisture in September  2020 was above average to extremely high for this time of year across large parts of northern Australia and parts of eastern and southern Australia, largely reflecting rainfall patterns during the month. Soil moisture was average across much of south-eastern and central Australia, with extremely low to well below average soil moisture in parts of south-western Australia. Upper layer soil moisture is important at the beginning of the summer cropping season since plant germination and establishment utilise this moisture.

Relative upper layer soil moisture was generally average for this time of year across cropping regions in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and parts of Western Australia. Upper layer soil moisture was extremely low to well below average across cropping regions in parts of south-eastern Queensland, eastern Victoria and the east and north of the Western Australia wheat belt.

Modelled upper layer soil moisture for September 2020

Map showing the upper layer soil moisture for September 2020 in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

Source: Bureau of Meteorology (Australian Water Resources Assessment Landscape model)
Note: This map shows the levels of modelled upper layer soil moisture (0 to 10 centimetres) during September 2020. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during September 2020 compare with September conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2016). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in September 2020 than during the reference period. The dark red areas were much drier than during the reference period. The bulk of plant roots occur in the top 20 centimetres of the soil profile. Soil moisture in the upper layer of the soil profile is therefore useful indicator of the availability of water, particularly for germinating seed.

Lower layer soil moisture for September  2020 was above average to extremely high for this time of year across large areas of central and south-eastern Australia and scattered parts of northern and western Australia. In contrast, it was extremely low to well below average across large parts of south-western Western Australia and scattered parts of southern, eastern and northern Australia.

In cropping regions, lower layer soil moisture was average to well above average for New South Wales and much of central and southern Queensland. Lower layer soil moisture was well below average to average in cropping regions across northern Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

Relative lower layer soil moisture was extremely low to well below average for cropping regions across much of the Western Australia wheat belt. Production outcomes in cropping regions with below average or worse lower layer soil moisture, particularly south-western Victoria, western and central South Australia and the central Western Australia wheat belt, will be heavily reliant on further rainfall during spring.

Modelled lower layer soil moisture for September 2020

Map showing the lower layer soil moisture for September 2020 in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

Source: Bureau of Meteorology (Australian Water Resources Assessment Landscape model)
Note: This map shows the levels of modelled lower layer soil moisture (10 to 100 centimetres) during September 2020. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during September 2020 compare with November conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2016). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in September 2020 than during the reference period. The dark red areas were much drier than during the reference period. The bulk of plant roots occur in the top 20 centimetres of the soil profile. The lower layer soil moisture is a larger, deeper store that is slower to respond to rainfall and tends to reflect accumulated rainfall events over longer time periods.

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

Cold fronts and troughs are expected to bring rainfall to parts of central, south-eastern and far northern Australia, with onshore flow expected to bring rainfall to parts of north-eastern Queensland and southern Western Australia. Rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres are forecast for much of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, and parts of southern New South Wales, the south and north-west of the Northern Territory and isolated parts of north-eastern Queensland and far southern Western Australia. Rainfall in excess of 50 millimetres is expected across western Tasmania.

In cropping regions, rainfall of between 10 and 50 millimetres is expected across Victoria, South Australia and parts of southern New South Wales. Little to no rainfall is expected across cropping regions in Queensland and Western Australia, and remaining cropping regions in New South Wales during the next eight days. These falls are likely to support favourable winter crop yields and boost soil moisture in south-eastern Australia during the final stages of winter crop development.

Total forecast rainfall (mm) for the period 8 September 2020 to 1 October 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: 1/10/2020

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

Current indicators – 1 October 2020

Indicator Week ended Unit Latest price Price week prior Weekly change Price 12 months prior Year on year change Chart

Selected World Indicator Prices

AUD/USD Exchange rate 30-Sep US$/A$ 0.71 0.72 -1% 0.68 5% chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf 30-Sep US$/t 250 250 0% 210 19% chart
Coarse Grains – US no. 2 yellow corn, fob Gulf 19-Aug US$/t 150 145 3% 157 -4% chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Canada, fob Vancouver 30-Sep US$/t 383 403 -5% 372 3% chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index 30-Sep USc/lb 71 71 1% 72 -1% chart
Sugar – Intercontinental Exchange, nearby futures, no.11 contract 30-Sep USc/lb 13 13 -1% 13 5% chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator 30-Sep Ac/kg clean 996 1,036 -4% 1,497 -33% chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator 30-Sep Ac/kg clean 1,024 1,085 -6% 1,937 -47% chart

Selected Australian grain export prices

Milling Wheat – APW, Port Adelaide, SA 30-Sep A$/t 348 344 1% 361 -4% chart
Feed Wheat – ASW, Port Adelaide, SA 30-Sep A$/t 333 330 1% 351 -5% chart
Feed Barley – Port Adelaide, SA 30-Sep A$/t 289 282 2% 337 -14% chart
Canola – Kwinana, WA 30-Sep A$/t 661 664 0% 668 -1% chart
Grain Sorghum – Brisbane, QLD 30-Sep A$/t 362 352 3% 433 -16% chart

Selected domestic livestock indicator prices

Beef – Eastern Young Cattle Indicator 30-Sep Ac/kg cwt 775 771 0% 490 58% chart
Mutton – Mutton indicator (18–24 kg fat score 2–3), Vic 16-Sep Ac/kg cwt 507 512 -1% 602 -16% chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator 23-Sep Ac/kg cwt 739 713 4% 889 -17% chart
Pig – Eastern Seaboard (60.1–75 kg), average of buyers & sellers 16-Sep Ac/kg cwt 318 318 0% 360 -12% chart
Goat – Eastern States (12.1–16 kg) 23-Sep Ac/kg cwt 818 843 -3% 902 -9% chart
Live cattle – Light steers ex Darwin to Indonesia 23-Sep Ac/kg lwt 355 355 0% 310 15% chart
Live sheep – Live wether (Muchea WA saleyard) to Middle East 11-Dec $/head 105 140 -25% N/A N/A chart

Global Dairy Trade (GDT) weighted average prices a

Dairy – Whole milk powder 16-Sep US$/t 2,985 2,884 4% 2,958 1% chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder 16-Sep US$/t 2,889 2,663 8% 1,972 47% chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese 16-Sep US$/t 3,674 3,428 7% 3,663 0% chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat 16-Sep US$/t 3,910 3,852 2% 5,709 -32% chart

a Global Dairy Trade prices are updated twice monthly on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

Selected world indicator prices
Selected domestic crop indicator prices
Selected domestic livestock indicator prices
Global dairy trade weighted average prices
Movements in selected fruit and vegetable prices
Data attribution

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: 1 October 2020
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