Weekly update - 4 June 2020

Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • Although most cropping regions in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia received low rainfall totals during the week ending 3 June 2020, substantial rainfall recorded during autumn replenished soil moisture and supported widespread planting and early growth. In contrast, cropping regions in Western Australia and Queensland will need significant rainfall during June to initiate further planting and support germination and establishment.
  • Over the next eight days, high-pressure systems over southern Australia are expected to limit rainfall. Across cropping regions, rainfall of between 5 and 15 millimetres is expected across parts of the west of Western Australia.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) increased between 26 May 2020 and 3 June 2020 by 122 gigalitres (GL). The current volume of water held in storage is 9,908 GL which represents 39 per cent of total capacity.
  • Allocation prices in the Victorian Murray below the Barmah choke increased from $190 per ML on 28 May 2020 to $200 per ML on 4 June 2020. Prices are higher in the Murrumbidgee and lower in the Goulburn-Broken compared to other regions, due to the binding of the Murrumbidgee import limit and Goulburn intervalley trade limit.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 3 June 2020, high‑pressure systems restricted rainfall across much of Australia. Rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres were recorded across parts of southern New South Wales, central and southern Victoria, south-eastern South Australia, the north and south-west of Western Australia, west of the Northern Territory and northern and western Tasmania. Rainfall totals in excess of 50 millimetres were recorded across isolated parts of south-western Western Australia.

In Australia’s cropping regions, rainfall totals of between 10 and 25 millimetres were recorded across parts of south-eastern New South Wales, eastern and southern Victoria, central and western South Australia and central and southern Western Australia. Little to no rainfall was recorded across remaining regions during the week ending 3 June 2020.

Although most cropping regions in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia received low rainfall totals this week, they recorded substantial rainfall during autumn that replenished soil moisture and supported widespread planting and early growth. In contrast, cropping regions in Western Australia and Queensland will need significant rainfall during June to initiate further planting and support germination and establishment.

Rainfall for the week ending 3 June 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: 03/06/2020

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 temperatures

May 2020 was cooler than average nationally, with a national mean temperature of 0.62°C below average. This is the coldest May since 2011 and the first cooler than average mean monthly temperature for Australia since October 2016.

Maximum temperatures for May were below average across much of eastern and northern Australia, and minimum temperatures were below average to very much below average across much of southern and central Australia. Below average or average temperatures in south-eastern Australia have increased the effectiveness of May rainfall, through a reduction in potential evapotranspiration rates. This in turn has benefitted the germination and establishment of pasture and recently sown winter crops.

Maximum temperature deciles for May 2020

Map showing maximum temperature anomalies for 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: 01/06/2020

Minimum temperature deciles for May 2020

Map showing minimum temperature anomalies for 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: 01/06/2020

Note: Maximum and minimum temperatures for May 2020 compared with temperature recorded for that period during the historical record (1900 to present). For further information go to: http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/awap/temp/index.jsp.

Monthly rainfall

Above average to well above average May 2020 rainfall was recorded across much of northern Queensland, northern Western Australia and the inner north of the northern Territory. Australia. This rainfall has benefited plant growth, soil moisture levels, stream flows and water storage levels.

In contrast, May rainfall was well below average to below average across parts of western New South Wales, southern Queensland, northern Victoria, eastern Tasmania, south of the Northern Territory and much of South Australia and southern Western Australia.

May 2020 rainfall totals were below average to average across most cropping regions. Following above average rainfall during April, cropping regions in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia recorded high rainfall totals at the beginning of May. These falls replenished soil moisture profiles across numerous regions, supported widespread planting and establishment of winter crops, and boosted pasture availability. Rainfall during the remainder of May was variable across most regions, with the next substantial falls occurring at the end of the month in parts of eastern New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. These falls were likely sufficient to initiate germination of dry sown crops in Western Australia and support the establishment of early-planted crops in Queensland.

Rainfall percentiles for May 2020

Map showing the rainfall percentiles for May 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 May  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/

Seasonal rainfall

Autumn 2020 rainfall was below average nationally, with mixed conditions throughout the season. The season began with average to above average rainfall across Australia’s cropping regions. The autumn break – the first significant rainfall of the winter growing season – occurred in March for most of eastern winter cropping regions. The autumn break in New South Wales and Victoria was consolidated by falls in early April, supporting the early plant growth that had been initiated. Cropping regions in South Australia also received rainfall in early April that was followed by significant falls at the end of the month, increasing producer confidence for widespread winter crop planting.

In contrast, average rainfall was recorded across cropping regions in Western Australia and Queensland in March, followed by below average rainfall in April and patchy rainfall in May. Parts of the southern cropping region of Western Australia received sufficient rains to start the season but many areas will rely on June rainfall to initiate germination and support crop growth.

Australia’s major climate drivers were neutral during autumn, allowing minor drivers, such as the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) and incursions of moist tropical air, to have a stronger influence on Australia’s climate. For example, moisture associated with ex-tropical cyclone Esther resulted in heavy rainfall across parts of central and eastern Australia in early March.

Autumn 2020 rainfall was well above average to extremely high across most cropping regions in New South Wales, Victoria, and parts of eastern South Australia. Extremely low to below average to rainfall was recorded in cropping regions across much of Queensland and Western Australia.

Rainfall percentiles for autumn 2020 (1 March 2020 to 31 May 2020)

Map showing the rainfall percentiles for autumn 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 March 2020 to May  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 May 2020 was mixed across Australia for this time of year. It was above average across parts of northern Queensland, the north and east of Western Australia and the inland north of the Northern Territory. Soil moisture was below average across parts of southern Queensland, central and western South Australia and southern Western Australia.

Relative upper layer soil moisture was generally average for this time of year across most cropping regions. Upper layer soil moisture was below average across parts of the central Queensland cropping region and the north-west and east of Western Australia’s cropping region.

During May, soil in the upper layer (the top 10cm) in Queensland had begun to dry out to an extent that crop roots were unable to access moisture stored in the lower layer (10 cm to 100cm)to support their growth. Rainfall at the end of the month provided some much needed upper layer soil moisture in the southern and central Queensland cropping regions but widespread above average rainfall in June will be required to replenish soil moisture profiles, improve crop establishment and development, and encourage additional wheat plantings.

Modelled upper layer soil moisture for May 2020

may2020_upper_soilmoisture.png

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 May  2020. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during May  2020 compare with May  conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2016). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in May  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 May  2020 was mixed across Australia for this time of year. It was above average to very much above average across much of New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and parts of south-eastern South Australia and northern Western Australia. Lower layer soil moisture was below average across parts of central Queensland, south of the Northern Territory and much of southern Western Australia.

In cropping regions, lower layer soil moisture was above average to very much above average for New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Relative lower layer soil moisture was below average across northern Queensland cropping regions and much of Western Australia.

Modelled lower layer soil moisture for May 2020

may2020_lower_soilmoisture.png

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 May  2020. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during May  2020 compare with November conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2016). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in May  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

The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is forecast to remain positive for the next two to three weeks and is expected to increase high-pressure systems over southern Australia and limit rainfall over the next eight days. Rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres are forecast for isolated parts of the eastern and south-western Australia coastlines and western Tasmania. Falls in excess of 50 millimetres are forecast across isolated areas of north-eastern Queensland.

In cropping regions, rainfall of between 5 and 15 millimetres is expected across parts of the west of Western Australia. Little to no rainfall is expected across cropping regions in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and remaining cropping regions in Western Australia during the next eight days.

Total forecast rainfall (mm) for the period 4 June 2020 to 11 June 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: 04/06/2020

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 – 4 June 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 03-Jun US$/A$ 0.67 0.66 1% 0.69 -3% chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf 03-Jun US$/t 223 221 1% 226 -1% chart
Coarse Grains – US no. 2 yellow corn, fob Gulf 03-Jun US$/t 145 146 -1% 194 -25% chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Canada, fob Vancouver 03-Jun US$/t 365 360 1% 365 0% chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index 03-Jun USc/lb 67 66 1% 77 -14% chart
Sugar – Intercontinental Exchange, nearby futures, no.11 contract 03-Jun USc/lb 11 11 4% 13 -10% chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator 03-Jun Ac/kg clean 1,183 1,170 1% 1,943 -39% chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator 27-May Ac/kg clean 1,239 1,214 2% 2,127 -42% chart

Selected Australian grain export prices

Milling Wheat – APW, Port Adelaide, SA 03-Jun A$/t 399 397 1% 363 10% chart
Feed Wheat – ASW, Port Adelaide, SA 03-Jun A$/t 397 396 0% 358 11% chart
Feed Barley – Port Adelaide, SA 03-Jun A$/t 299 287 4% 357 -16% chart
Canola – Kwinana, WA 03-Jun A$/t 638 639 0% 598 7% chart
Grain Sorghum – Brisbane, QLD 03-Jun A$/t 424 426 -1% 407 4% chart

Selected domestic livestock indicator prices

Beef – Eastern Young Cattle Indicator b 25-Mar Ac/kg cwt 727 750 -3% 414 76% chart
Mutton – Mutton indicator (18–24 kg fat score 2–3), Vic b 18-Mar Ac/kg cwt 718 708 1% 419 71% chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator b 18-Mar Ac/kg cwt 941 961 -2% 630 49% chart
Pig – Eastern Seaboard (60.1–75 kg), average of buyers & sellers 20-May Ac/kg cwt 329 337 -3% 338 -3% chart
Goat – Eastern States (12.1–16 kg) 20-May Ac/kg cwt 790 790 0% 680 16% chart
Live cattle – Light steers ex Darwin to Indonesia 20-May Ac/kg lwt 300 300 0% 280 7% chart
Live sheep – Live wether (Muchea WA saleyard) to Middle East 11-Dec $/head 105 140 -25% - - chart

Global Dairy Trade (GDT) weighted average prices a

Dairy – Whole milk powder 03-Jun US$/t 2,761 2,677 3% 3,311 -17% chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder 03-Jun US$/t 2,530 2,549 -1% 1,913 32% chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese 03-Jun US$/t 3,520 3,864 -9% 3,855 -9% chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat 03-Jun US$/t 3,960 4,079 -3% 6,120 -35% chart

a Global Dairy Trade prices are updated twice monthly on the first and third Tuesday of each month.
b Note that several indicator price series for livestock are temporarily suspended. More information and temporary replacement series can be found at https://www.mla.com.au/prices-markets/market-news/changes-to-mlas-market-reporting/

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: 4 June 2020
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