Weekly update - 22 October 2020

Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 21 October troughs generated thunderstorm activity and showers across parts of northern, central and south-eastern Australia. Moderate falls across parts of south-eastern Australia are likely to support current yields, benefit pasture growth and boost soil moisture.
  • A La Niña event is ongoing in the tropical Pacific. A La Niña during spring and early summer is likely to generate the favourable seasonal conditions that were central in developing ABARES winter and summer crop production forecasts embodied in the ABARES September 2020 editions of the Australian crop report and Agricultural commodities. The enhanced probabilities of a wetter than average late spring and early summer rainfall will likely also benefit pasture growth across eastern and northern Australia, summer crop production and an early northern rainfall onset.
  • There is a high chance that rainfall between November 2020 to January 2021 will be sufficient to sustain above average crop and pasture production through the remainder of spring and into the early summer period in areas where soil moisture is close to average or above average. Except for parts of Western Australia where low soil moisture, and below average September and October-to-date rainfall have already adversely affected production prospects. These highly probable rainfall totals – if realised - represent an excellent finish to the 2020 winter growing season across southern Australia and start to the 2020-21 summer cropping season and wet season across northern Australia.
  • Over the next eight days, low pressure system and adjoining troughs is expected to bring widespread showers, intense thunderstorms and rain to parts of eastern and northern Australia. Across cropping regions, rainfall of between 10 and 50 millimetres is expected across much of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. Little to no rainfall is expected across cropping regions in Western Australia during the next eight days.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) increased by 340 gigalitres (GL) between 13 October 2020 and 20 October 2020. The current volume of water held in storage is 14,859 GL, which represents 59% of total capacity.
  • Allocation prices in the Victorian Murray below the Barmah Choke decreased from $265 per ML to $230 per ML between 15 October 2020 and 22 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

[expand all]

Rainfall this week

During the week ending 21 October 2020 troughs generated thunderstorm activity and showers across parts of northern, central and south-eastern Australia.

Rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres were recorded across scattered areas of northern and south-eastern New South Wales, northern and southern Queensland, northern and south-eastern Victoria, central and northern South Australia, southern and eastern Western Australia, the west of the Northern Territory and much of Tasmania. Rainfall in excess of 50 millimetres was recorded across alpine regions of New South Wales and Victoria, and western Tasmania.

In Australia’s cropping regions, rainfall totals of between 5 and 25 millimetres were recorded across parts of southern and northern New South Wales, southern Queensland, far south of Western Australia and much of Victoria. Little to no rainfall was recorded across remaining cropping regions during the week ending 21 October 2020.

The falls in southern New South Wales and Victoria are likely to support yield prospects, benefit pasture growth and boost soil moisture. However, rainfall across northern New South Wales and southern Queensland are likely to have impeded the progress of grain harvest activities.

Rainfall for the week ending 21 October 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: 21/10/2020

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/

Climate Drivers

Following a generally favourable winter cropping season-to-date in Australia, there is interest in how the remainder of the growing season may pan out and how the summer cropping season will begin. To gain some insight it is important to look at the major climate drivers—the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)—that influence spring rainfall across southern Australia.

A La Niña is ongoing in the tropical Pacific. A La Niña during spring and early summer is likely to generate the favourable seasonal conditions that were central in developing ABARES winter and summer crop production forecasts embodied in the ABARES September 2020 editions of the Australian crop report and Agricultural commodities. The enhanced probabilities of a wetter than average spring rainfall will likely also benefit spring pasture growth across eastern and northern Australia, summer crop production and an early northern rainfall onset.

The likelihood of a negative IOD in 2020 has decreased as sea surface temperatures in the western Indian Ocean have become warmer than average. Only two of the six models surveyed suggest negative IOD thresholds could be exceeded in November and IOD events typically break down in late spring or early summer.

Cool anomalies in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean have strengthened and extended along the eastern tropics south of the equator. All of the eight surveyed climate models suggest the La Niña will persist until at least January 2021.

Difference from average sea surface temperature observations 5 to 11 October 2020

Map showing the global sea surface temperature observations difference from average during the previous week. The climatology baseline used is 1961 to 1990. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

Atmospheric indicators are consistent with a La Niña event, with generally stronger than average trade winds, decreased cloudiness near the Date Line and the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) has sustained values above 7, over the threshold into La Niña values. For the period ending 11 October the 30-day SOI value was 11.5 and the 90-day value was 9.3.

30-day Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) values ending 14 October 2020

Graph showing the 30-day Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) values for the past two years. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is expected to remain positive during the remainder of October. The SAM refers to the north-south shift of the band of rain-bearing westerly winds and weather systems in the Southern Ocean compared to the usual position. When SAM is positive during spring, this band of westerly winds is further south than normal. This allows for increased moist onshore flow from the Tasman and Coral seas and more rainfall across eastern Australia and a reduced chance of extreme heat. During La Niña events a positive SAM is common in spring and summer, which can enhance the wetter than average influence La Niña has on eastern Australia.

Southern Annular Mode (SAM) daily index

Plume graph from ACCESS-S forecasts showing the daily Southern Annular Mode (SAM) index values for approximately the past 30-days and the forecast mean values for approximately the next 30-days. This graph uses a base period of 1990-2012. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

National climate outlook

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 http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/about/

The latest rainfall outlook released by the Bureau of Meteorology suggests above average rainfall is more likely for the eastern two thirds of mainland Australia, as well as parts of southern Western Australia and north-eastern Tasmania during November 2020. Drier than average conditions are more likely for parts of the north-west of Western Australia and western Tasmania. There are roughly equal chances of a wetter or drier than average November across remaining parts of Western Australia. 

The rainfall outlook for November 2020 to January 2021 suggests that wetter than average conditions are likely for much of mainland Australia and north-eastern Tasmania. Drier than average conditions are more likely for parts of south-western Tasmania. There are roughly equal chances of a wetter or drier than average three months across parts of the north-west of Western Australia and north-west of the Northern Territory (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 15 October 2020). Bureau of Meteorology rainfall outlooks for November to January have greater than 65% past accuracy across scattered parts of eastern, western and northern Australia. There is lower accuracy, less than 65%, across much of the remainder of Australia, with less than 55% past accuracy across parts of central Australia.

Chance of exceeding the median rainfall November 2020 to January 2021

Map showing the chance of exceeding median rainfall between November 2020 to January 2021 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: 15/10/2020

The outlook for November 2020 suggests that there is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 10 and 50 millimetres across much of the eastern two-thirds of Australia and far south and north-west of Western Australia. Rainfall totals in excess of 50 millimetres are likely across parts of south-eastern Australia, north-west of the Northern Territory and much of Tasmania.

There is a high chance of recording close to average November rainfall totals across most agricultural regions, with the exception of parts of southern Australia. These totals are likely to support early growth of summer crops across New South Wales and Queensland and above average pasture growth potentials across much of New South Wales, Victoria, and parts of Queensland and the tropical north of Australia.

In cropping regions there is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 25 and 100 millimetres across much of New South Wales and Queensland and parts of southern Victoria, central South Australia and far southern Western Australia. There is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 10 and 25 for the remainder of Victoria, South Australia and southern Western Australia, with rainfall totals between 1 and 10 millimetres across the remainder of the Western Australia wheat belt for November 2020.

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

Map showing the rainfall totals that have a 75% chance of occurring during November 2020 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: 15/10/2020

The outlook for November 2020 to January 2021 suggests that there is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 50 and 300 millimetres across much of northern and eastern Australia and parts of far southern and central Australia. Lower rainfall totals between 25 and 50 millimetres are likely across the much of inland South Australia and the west and south of Western Australia. Rainfall totals in excess of 300 millimetres are likely across parts of eastern New South Wales, eastern and northern Queensland, eastern Victoria, north of Western Australia, north of the Northern Territory and western Tasmania.

In many areas where soil moisture is close to average to above average for this time of year, there is a high chance of recording November to January rainfall totals sufficient to sustain above average crop and pasture production through the remainder of spring and into the early summer period.

In cropping regions, there is a 75% chance of receiving between 100 and 200 millimetres across most of New South Wales, and parts of south-western Queensland and eastern Victoria. Rainfall totals greater than 200 millimetres are likely in cropping regions across north-eastern New South Wales and most of Queensland. Rainfall totals between 50 and 100 millimetres are likely across cropping regions in western and central Victoria, much of South Australia and the south-eastern Western Australian wheat belt between November2020 and January 2021.

These high chance rainfall totals are almost equivalent to the seasonal median between (1990 and 2012) and represent an excellent finish to the 2020 winter growing season across much of south-eastern Australia and start to the 2020-21 summer cropping season in eastern Australia and wet season across northern Australia. 

Rainfall totals that have a 75% chance of occurring November 2020 to January 2021

Map showing the rainfall totals that have a 75% chance of occurring during the next three months 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: 15/10/2020

The temperature outlook for November 2020 to January 2021 indicates that night-time temperatures are likely to be between 1°C to 2°C above the 1990-2012 average across much of central and south-eastern Australia and parts of northern 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’, 15 October 2020).

Predicted maximum temperature anomaly for November 2020 to January 2021

Map showing the predicted maximum temperature anomaly for the next three months in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

Predicted minimum temperature anomaly for November 2020 to January 2021

Map showing the predicted minimum temperature anomaly for the next three months in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

A low pressure system and adjoining troughs over northern and eastern Australia is expected to generate widespread showers, intense thunderstorms and rain during the next eight days. Rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres are forecast for much of New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and parts of south-eastern and northern Queensland, the south-east of South Australia and north of the Northern Territory. Rainfall in excess of 50 millimetres is expected across scattered areas of eastern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland and alpine regions in Victoria.

In cropping regions, rainfall of between 10 and 50 millimetres is expected across much of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. Little to no rainfall is expected across cropping regions in Western Australia during the next eight days.

Total forecast rainfall (mm) for the period 22 October 2020 to 29 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: 22/10/2020

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 – 22 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 21-Oct US$/A$ 0.71 0.72 -1% 0.69 3% chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf 21-Oct US$/t 282 270 4% 215 31% chart
Coarse Grains – US no. 2 yellow corn, fob Gulf 21-Oct US$/t 192 186 3% 168 14% chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Canada, fob Vancouver 21-Oct US$/t 391 410 -5% 372 5% chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index 21-Oct USc/lb 76 74 3% 75 1% chart
Sugar – Intercontinental Exchange, nearby futures, no.11 contract 21-Oct USc/lb 15 14 4% 12 19% chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator 21-Oct Ac/kg clean 1,219 1,117 9% 1,535 -21% chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator 21-Oct Ac/kg clean 1,219 1,167 4% 1,894 -36% chart

Selected Australian grain export prices

Milling Wheat – APW, Port Adelaide, SA 21-Oct A$/t 365 358 2% 347 5% chart
Feed Wheat – ASW, Port Adelaide, SA 21-Oct A$/t 350 341 3% 337 4% chart
Feed Barley – Port Adelaide, SA 21-Oct A$/t 294 291 1% 308 -4% chart
Canola – Kwinana, WA 21-Oct A$/t 680 669 2% 643 6% chart
Grain Sorghum – Brisbane, QLD 21-Oct A$/t 359 366 -2% 428 -16% chart

Selected domestic livestock indicator prices

Beef – Eastern Young Cattle Indicator 21-Oct Ac/kg cwt 787 789 0% 528 49% chart
Mutton – Mutton indicator (18–24 kg fat score 2–3), Vic 14-Oct Ac/kg cwt 626 616 2% 591 6% chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator 14-Oct Ac/kg cwt 773 822 -6% 888 -13% chart
Pig – Eastern Seaboard (60.1–75 kg), average of buyers & sellers 30-Sep Ac/kg cwt 328 318 3% 375 -13% chart
Goat – Eastern States (12.1–16 kg) 14-Oct Ac/kg cwt 818 818 0% 880 -7% chart
Live cattle – Light steers ex Darwin to Indonesia 14-Oct Ac/kg lwt 355 355 0% 315 13% 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 21-Oct US$/t 3,037 3,041 0% 2,821 8% chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder 21-Oct US$/t 2,851 2,865 0% 2,005 42% chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese 21-Oct US$/t 3,803 3,694 3% 3,631 5% chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat 21-Oct US$/t 4,110 4,131 -1% 5,316 -23% 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: 22 October 2020
Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks! Your feedback has been submitted.

We aren't able to respond to your individual comments or questions.
To contact us directly phone us or submit an online inquiry

Please verify that you are not a robot.

Skip