Weekly update - 7 May 2020

Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • The substantial rainfall recorded in cropping regions across much of New South Wales and Victoria during April further improved soil moisture profiles to levels sufficient to sustain crop, and pasture growth initiated by March rainfall and encourage further planting. Cropping regions in South Australia also received rainfall in early April that was followed-up by significant falls at the end of the month, increasing producer confidence for widespread winter crop planting.
  • Lower layer soil moisture for April 2020 was mixed across Australia for this time of year. In cropping regions, lower layer soil moisture was above average to very much above average for New South Wales, much of Victoria and parts of southern Queensland and average to above average in South Australia. Below average moisture was recorded across cropping regions in northern Queensland and much of Western Australia.
  • The 2019–20 wet season in northern Australia (October 2019 to April 2020) was drier and warmer than average, resulting in below average pasture growth across large areas of tropical northern Australia during this period.
  • Over the next eight days, a broad high-pressure system is expected to limit rainfall over Australia. Across cropping regions, rainfall of between 10 and 25 millimetres is expected across isolated parts of southern Victoria and far southern areas of South Australia.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) increased between 29 April 2020 and 6 May 2020 by 581 gigalitres (GL). The current volume of water held in storage is 9,051 GL which represents 36 per cent of total capacity.
  • Allocation prices in the Victorian Murray below the Barmah choke decreased from $365 per ML on 30 April 2020 to $315 per ML on 6 May 2020. Price gaps between catchments above and below the Barmah Choke, and the Goulburn-Broken and other regions continue as a result of binding Barmah Choke and Goulburn intervalley trade limits.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 6 May 2020 rainfall was largely restricted to parts of south-eastern and south-western Australia. Rainfall between 10 and 50 millimetres was recorded across much of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, and parts of far northern Queensland, south-eastern South Australia and the south-west of Western Australia. Rainfall in excess of 50 millimetres was recorded across parts of south-eastern New South Wales, eastern Victoria and western Tasmania.

In Australia’s cropping regions, rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres were recorded across much of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and parts of southern Western Australia. Rainfall totals greater than 50 millimetres were recorded across cropping regions in parts of central and south-eastern New South Wales. Little to no rainfall was recorded across cropping regions in Queensland and remaining regions in northern New South Wales and Western Australia during the week ending 6 May 2020.

Sustained high rainfall totals across cropping regions in New South Wales and Victoria during autumn-to-date have filled soil moisture profile across numerous regions and supported widespread planting and establishment of winter crops, and boosted pasture availability. Similarly, cropping regions in South Australia have been recording well above average rainfall totals during April, replenishing soil moisture profiles and encouraging planting.

Rainfall for the week ending 6 May 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: 06/05/2020

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 temperature

April 2020 was Australia’s fifth warmest April on record, with a national mean temperature of 1.64°C above average and mean minimum temperature of 1.63°C above average.

Maximum and minimum temperatures for April were generally above average to very much above average across much of northern and western Australia. In contrast, maximum temperatures for April across parts of south-eastern Australia were below average to very much below average. Below average or average temperatures in south-eastern Australia have increased the effectiveness of April 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 April 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: 01/05/2020

Minimum temperature deciles for April 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: 01/05/2020

Note: Maximum and minimum temperatures for March 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

April 2020 rainfall was above average across much of south-eastern Australia. Well above average to extremely high rainfall was recorded across much of New South Wales, Victoria, eastern and central South Australia, Tasmania and isolated parts of south-western Queensland, northern Western Australia and north of the Northern Territory. This rainfall has benefited plant growth, soil moisture levels, stream flows and water storage levels.

In contrast, April rainfall was extremely low to below average across parts of the north-eastern New South Wales and much of eastern Queensland and the south-west of Western Australia.

April 2020 rainfall totals were above average to extremely high for cropping regions in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The substantial rainfall recorded in cropping regions across much of New South Wales and Victoria during April further improved soil moisture profiles to levels sufficient to sustain crop, and pasture growth initiated by March rainfall and encourage further planting. Cropping regions in South Australia also received rainfall in early April that was followed-up by significant falls at the end of the month, increasing producer confidence for widespread winter crop planting. April 2020 rainfall was below average across most cropping regions in Queensland and Western Australia.  

Rainfall percentiles for April 2020

Map showing the rainfall percentiles March 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 April 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 April 2020 was average to above average for this time of year, across much of Australia. It was above average to very much above average across much of New South Wales, Victoria, central and eastern South Australia, Tasmania and parts of south-western Queensland, northern Western Australia and the north of the Northern Territory. Soil moisture was below average across parts of eastern Queensland and the south-west of Western Australia.

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

Modelled upper layer soil moisture for April 2020

april2020_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 April 2020. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during April 2020 compare with April conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2016). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in April 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 April 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 southern Queensland and central and north-eastern South Australia. Lower layer soil moisture was below average across parts of central Queensland, and southern and central Western Australia.

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

Modelled lower layer soil moisture for April 2020

april2020_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 April 2020. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during April 2020 compare with November conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2016). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in April 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.

Northern wet season 2019–20

The 2019–20 wet season in northern Australia (October 2019 to April 2020) was drier and warmer than average. The northern wet season rainfall was 19% below average and the mean maximum temperature was the highest on record, at 2.11°C above the 1961–90 average. This follows similar conditions during the 2018–19 northern wet season.

The prolonged positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) that persisted in the second half of 2019 provided conditions that were favourable for above average rainfall in the western Indian Ocean and for below average rainfall near Australia. This likely influenced the late withdrawal of the Indian monsoon and the 3‑4 week delay to the Australian monsoon onset. The initial monsoon onset activity and subsequent bursts across northern Australia during this wet season were relatively weak and short-lived. Additionally, tropical low and cyclone activity across northern Australia during the 2019–20 wet season was below average.

These conditions led to average to below average rainfall across northern Australia during the 2019–20 wet season. During the northern wet season there is typically substantial pasture growth and water recharge in northern Australia, however the hot and dry conditions during the 2019–20 wet season led to below average pasture growth across large areas of tropical northern Australia.

Rainfall deciles for the northern wet season (October 2019 to April 2020)

Map showing the rainfall deciles for the recent northern wet season (October 2019 to April 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 the northern wet season (October 2019 to April 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/

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

The persistence of a broad high pressure system over southern Australia is expected to limit rainfall over the next eight days. Rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres are forecast for isolated parts of south-eastern Australia and north-eastern Queensland. Falls in excess of 50 millimetres are forecast across western Tasmania.

In cropping regions, rainfall of between 10 and 25 millimetres is expected across small areas of southern Victoria and far southern areas of South Australia. Little to no rainfall is expected across cropping regions in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and remaining cropping regions in Victoria and South Australia during the next eight days.

Total forecast rainfall (mm) for the period 7 May 2020 to 14 May 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: 07/05/2020

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 – 7 May 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

Australian Dollar – AUD/USD Exchange Rate 06-May US$/A$ 0.64 0.64 0% 0.7 -9%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf 05-May US$/t 230 230 0% 202 14%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Coarse Grains – US no. 2 yellow corn, fob Gulf 06-May US$/t 147 147 0% 163 -10%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Canada, fob Vancouver 06-May US$/t 357 350 2%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 345 -3%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index 07-May USc/lb 65.0 65.3 <1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 84.3 -23%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Sugar – Intercontinental Exchange, nearby futures, no.11 contract 07-May USc/lb 10.2 9.6 6%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 12.1 -16%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator 30-Apr Ac/kg clean 1,225 1,272 -4%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.  1,960 -38%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator 23-Apr Ac/kg clean 1,310 1,370 -4%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.  2,064 -37%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart

Selected domestic crop indicator prices

Milling Wheat – ASW1, track quote, Port Adelaide, SA 05-May A$/t 390 420 -7%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 273 43%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Wheat – General purpose, Sydney, NSW 05-May A$/t 433 448 -3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 386 12%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Barley – Sydney, NSW 05-May A$/t 360 363 <1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 379 -5%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Grain Sorghum – Sydney, NSW 31-Mar A$/t 404 394 3%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 432 -6%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart

Selected domestic livestock indicator prices

Beef – Eastern Young Cattle Indicator b 19-Mar Ac/kg cwt 742 766 -3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 441 68%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Mutton – Mutton indicator (18–24 kg fat score 2–3), Vic b 19-Mar Ac/kg cwt 718 761 -6%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 411 75%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator b 19-Mar Ac/kg cwt 941 960 -2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 647 45%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Pig – Eastern Seaboard (60.1–75 kg), average of buyers & sellers 24-Apr Ac/kg cwt 352 359 -2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 338 4%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Goat – Eastern States (12.1–16 kg) 04-May Ac/kg cwt 820 820 0% 680 21%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Live cattle – Light steers ex Darwin to Indonesia 02-May Ac/kg lwt 280 280 0% 280 0% chart
Live sheep – Live wether (Muchea WA saleyard) to Middle East 09-Dec $/head 105 140 -25%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 108 -3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart

Global Dairy Trade (GDT) weighted average prices a

Dairy – Whole milk powder 05-May US$/t 2,745 2,707 1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 3,249 -16%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder 05-May US$/t 2,373 2,380 <1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 2,521 -6%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese 05-May US$/t 4,115 4,480 -8%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 4,217 -2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat 05-May US$/t 3,973 4,083 -3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 6,217 -36%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 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: 7 May 2020
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