Weekly update - 12 March 2020

Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 11 March 2020 rainfall was primarily recorded across eastern Australia and parts of northern Australia. This heavy rainfall was generated by a deep trough and low pressure systems over northern and eastern Australia. Rainfall between 25 and 100 millimetres was recorded over parts of the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
  • In Australia’s cropping regions, rainfall totals of between 25 and 100 millimetres were recorded across much of New South Wales, northern Queensland and eastern Victoria. Falls between 15 and 50 millimetres were recorded across remaining cropping regions in southern Queensland and western Victoria during the week ending 11 March 2020.
  • ABARES analysis of daily rainfall data sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology indicates that an early autumn break has been achieved across much of New South Wales and parts of southern Queensland, central Victoria and eastern Tasmania.
  • The autumn break is typically driven by westerly fronts moving across southern Australia and cut-off low pressure systems. The recent autumn break in south-eastern Australia has been driven by incursions of moist tropical air from northern Australia resulting in substantial rainfall.
  • Short-term rainfall deficiencies have been eased by above average January and February 2020 rainfall across parts of Australia. Long-term deficiencies still persist across much of the country.
  • The outlook for April to June 2020 suggests that there is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 25 and 100 millimetres across parts of far northern Australia and much south-western and south-eastern Australia. Rainfall totals in excess of 100 millimetres are likely across parts of the south-western and south-eastern coasts and much of Tasmania.
  • In cropping regions, there is a 75% chance of receiving between 25 and 100 millimetres across much of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia between April and June 2020.
  • Over the next eight days, rainfall totals of between 10 and 100 millimetres are forecast for parts of the far eastern and northern coasts, south-western Western Australia and Tasmania.
  • Across cropping regions, rainfall of between 10 and 25 millimetres is expected across much of Western Australia and rainfall of between 5 and 15 millimetres is expected across south-eastern New South Wales. Little to no rainfall is expected across remaining cropping regions in Australia during the next 8 days.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) increased between 4 March 2020 and 11 March 2020 by 172 gigalitres (GL). Current volume of water held in storage is 8,050 GL which represents 32 per cent of total capacity.
  • Allocation prices in the Victorian Murray below the Barmah Choke decreased from $590 per ML on 5 March 2020 to $470 per ML on 12 March 2020.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 11 March 2020 rainfall was primarily recorded across eastern Australia and parts of northern Australia. This heavy rainfall was generated by a deep trough and low pressure systems over northern and eastern Australia. Rainfall between 25 and 100 millimetres was recorded over parts of the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Rainfall in excess of 100 millimetres was recorded across scattered parts of Queensland, the Northern Territory coastline and alpine areas in Victoria.

In Australia’s cropping regions, rainfall totals of between 25 and 100 millimetres were recorded across much of New South Wales, northern Queensland and eastern Victoria. Falls between 15 and 50 millimetres were recorded across remaining cropping regions in southern Queensland and western Victoria during the week ending 11 March 2020.

Rainfall for the week ending 11 March 2020

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©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 11/3/2020

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 Weekly Rainfall Update.

Early or ‘false’ autumn break?

In Southern Australia, the timing of the autumn break is an important ingredient for a successful pasture and crop production season. The autumn break is the first significant rainfall of the winter growing season and provides enough moisture to initiate crop and pasture germination and support early plant growth. The break generally applies to the southern pasture and cropping areas mainly in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania — and occasionally parts of southern Queensland.

Areas likely to be influenced by the autumn break

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An early autumn break can increase the length of the growing season, potentially improving production and yield. However, there is a greater risk of a dry period and low soil moisture following an early or ‘false’ break, which can cause plants to die after germination, reducing the seed bank left available for the winter growing season and lowering potential production. The definition of the autumn break in southern Australia varies. Pook et al. (2009) suggested an ideal break for north-western Victoria occurs during March–June when a mean fall of 25 millimetres or more is recorded over a period of 3 days or less, or when a mean fall of 30 millimetres or more is recorded over a period of 7 days or less.

Areas that have achieved 25 millimetres in any 3‐day period from 1 March to 11 March 2020

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Source: Bureau of Meteorology, ABARES

ABARES has adapted the Pook et al. (2009) autumn break definition—falls of 25 millimetres or more recorded within any 3-day period from 1 March—to identify where the autumn break threshold has been achieved across southern Australia. ABARES analysis of daily rainfall data sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology indicates that the autumn break has been achieved across much of New South Wales and parts of southern Queensland, central Victoria and eastern Tasmania.

Typically, the autumn break is driven by westerly fronts moving across southern Australia and cut-off low pressure systems. This uncharacteristic early autumn break in south-eastern Australia has been driven by incursions of moist tropical air from northern Australia resulting in substantial rainfall.

Temperature anomalies this week

For the week ending 10 March  2020, maximum temperatures were 2°C to 6°C above average across parts of south-western Australia and minimum temperatures were 2°C to 6°C above average across parts of eastern Australia. In contrast, maximum temperatures were 2°C to 6°C below average across parts of south-eastern and central Australia. Average (- 2°C to 2°C) minimum temperatures were recorded across the remainder of the country.

Maximum temperature anomalies for the week ending 10 March 2020

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©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 11/03/2020

Minimum temperature anomalies for the week ending 10 March 2020

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©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 11/03/2020

Note: Spatial temperature analyses are based on historical weekly temperature data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. These temperature anomaly maps show the departure of the maximum and minimum temperatures from the average over the 1961 to 1990 reference period. For further information go to Daily maximum temperature for Australia.

Rainfall deficiencies

The rainfall deficiencies presented below are sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology’s monthly ‘Drought Statement’. As short to longer-term deficiencies become evident the Bureau of Meteorology monitors these events through their lifecycle – from emergence through to their dissipation – with the time-period of analysis each month increasing from a fixed starting point to the easing of the deficiencies.

For further information, go to Drought.

Above average rainfall across parts of Australia in January and February 2020 eased 12-month deficiencies, but longer-term deficiencies still persist across much of the country. For the 12-month period ending February 2020, rainfall deficiencies have largely cleared across south-eastern Queensland, northern Western Australia and the north and centre of the Northern Territory. Additionally, rainfall deficiencies have decreased across parts of eastern New South Wales, eastern Victoria, central and eastern South Australia and south-western Western Australia. Serious to severe rainfall deficiencies (rainfall totals in the lowest 5 to 10 percent of the historical record) persist across much of South Australia, parts of New South Wales, southern and eastern Western Australia, the north and south-west of the Northern Territory and eastern Tasmania.

Serious to severe rainfall deficiencies continue to persist at longer timescales, with a slight decrease in severity across parts of north-eastern New South Wales, south-eastern Queensland central South Australia and north of the Northern Territory. For the 23-months starting in April 2018, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies are evident across much of New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory, parts of eastern and northern Victoria, southern and south-eastern Queensland, and parts of north-eastern and south-western Western Australia and eastern Tasmania (Bureau of Meteorology ‘Drought Statement’, 5 March 2020).

Rainfall deficiencies for the 12-month period 1 March 2019 to 29 February 2020

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Source: Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 05/03/2020

Rainfall deficiencies for the 23-month period 1 April 2018 to 29 February 2020

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Source: Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 05/03/2020

National Climate Outlook

The rainfall outlooks presented here show the rainfall amounts which have a 75% chance of occurring during the next month and the next three month period. The temperature outlooks presented here show how far above or below the temperature is likely to be from the 1990-2012 average. These climate outlooks are generated by ACCESS–S (Australian Community Climate Earth-System Simulator–Seasonal). ACCESS–S is the Bureau of Meteorology's dynamical (physics-based) weather and climate model used for monthly, seasonal and longer-lead climate outlooks.

For further information, go to about the climate outlooks.

The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are currently neutral and expected to remain neutral until at least mid-year.

The latest rainfall outlook released by the Bureau of Meteorology suggests that there is a shift towards wetter than average rainfall for the west of Western Australia and scattered parts of western, southern and the tropical north of Australia during April 2020. The rainfall outlook for April to June 2020 suggests that wetter than average conditions are more likely for parts of western and southern Australia, with roughly equal chances of a wetter or drier than average three months across the remainder of Australia. However, the past accuracy of the Bureau of Meteorology three month outlook for April to June is low across much of South Australia, western and central New South Wales, eastern Western Australia and south-west of the Northern Territory (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 5 March 2019).

The outlook for April 2020 suggests that there is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 10 and 50 millimetres across parts of far northern and eastern coasts of Australia, south-western and south-eastern Australia, and eastern Tasmania. Rainfall totals in excess of 50 millimetres are likely across parts of the tropical north and western Tasmania. Across cropping regions there is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 5 and 25 millimetres in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Across cropping regions in Queensland there is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 1 and 10 millimetres for April 2020.

Rainfall totals that have a 75% chance of occurring April 2020

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Source: Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 05/03/2020

In many areas where soil moisture is close to average to above average for this time of year, there is reasonable chance of recording rainfall totals sufficient to sustain crop and pasture production initiated by the early autumn break. In New South Wales, for example, there is a 75% chance of receiving between 5 and 25 millimetres and a 50% chance of receiving between 10 and 50 millimetres during April 2020.

The outlook for April and June 2020 suggests that there is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 25 and 100 millimetres across parts of far northern Australia and much of south-western and south-eastern Australia. Rainfall totals in excess of 100 millimetres are likely across parts of the south-western and south-eastern coasts and much of Tasmania. In cropping regions, there is a 75% chance of receiving between 25 and 100 millimetres across much of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia between April and June 2020.

Rainfall totals that have a 75% chance of occurring April to June 2020

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Source: Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 05/03/2020

The temperature outlook for April to June 2020 indicates that daytime temperatures are likely to be between 1°C to 2°C above average the 1990-2012 average, across parts of northern Australia. Similarly, night-time temperatures are likely to be between 1°C to 2°C above average across the northern half of Australia. Average (- 1°C to 1°C) daytime and night-time temperatures are likely for the remainder of the country (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 5 March 2020).

Predicted maximum temperature anomaly for April to June 2020

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Source: Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 05/03/2020

Predicted minimum temperature anomaly for April to June 2020

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Source: Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 05/03/2020

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

Over the next eight days, rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres are forecast for parts of the far eastern and northern coasts, south-western Western Australia and Tasmania. Falls in excess of 50 millimetres are forecast for isolated parts of northern and eastern Queensland, and south-eastern New South Wales over the next 8 days. Rainfall and storms in Queensland will be generated by a tropical cyclone developing off the coast in the monsoon trough. Falls in Western Australia will largely be generated by a low pressure system moving down the coast and inland, while troughs and a cold front are expected to bring rainfall to far south-eastern Australia.

In cropping regions, rainfall of between 10 and 25 millimetres is expected across much of Western Australia and totals of between 5 and 15 millimetres is expected across south-eastern New South Wales. Little to no rainfall is expected across remaining cropping regions in Australia during the next 8 days.

Total forecast rainfall (mm) for the period 12 March to 19 March 2020

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©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 12/03/2020

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 – 12 March 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 11-Mar US$/A$ 0.66 0.65 2%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 0.7 -6%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 10-Mar US$/t 219 223 -2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 220 <1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Coarse Grains – US no. 2 yellow corn, fob Gulf 11-Mar US$/t 170 168 1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 164 4%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Canada, fob Vancouver 11-Mar US$/t 364 366 <1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 371 -2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index 12-Mar USc/lb 71.8 72.1 <1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 82.0 -12%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 12-Mar USc/lb 13.3 14.5 -8%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 12.2 9%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator 27-Feb Ac/kg clean 1,562 1,581 -1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 2,016 -23%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator 27-Feb Ac/kg clean 1,667 1,667 0% 2,161 -23%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 04-Feb A$/t 335 342 -2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 349 -4%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Feed Wheat – General purpose, Sydney, NSW 03-Mar A$/t 428 436 -2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 418 2%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Barley – Sydney, NSW 03-Mar A$/t 356 366 -3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 398 -11%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Grain Sorghum – Sydney, NSW 03-Mar A$/t 396 426 -7%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 432 -8%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 27-Feb Ac/kg cwt 744 718 4%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 434 71%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 05-Mar Ac/kg cwt 708 724 -2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 397 78%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 27-Feb Ac/kg cwt 962 933 3%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 656 47%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 28-Feb Ac/kg cwt 414 416 <1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 329 26%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) 09-Mar Ac/kg cwt 903 903 0% 616 47%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 07-Mar Ac/kg lwt 380 370 3%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 300 27%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 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 03-Mar US$/t 2,952 2,966 <1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 3,186 -7%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder 03-Mar US$/t 2,747 2,840 -3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 2,462 12%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese 03-Mar US$/t 4,285 4,526 -5%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 3,888 10%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat 03-Mar US$/t 4,302 4,379 -2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 5,837 -26%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.

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: 13 March 2020
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