Weekly update - 30 April 2020

Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • Rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres this week across southern agricultural areas of South Australia and western Victoria are particularly timely, providing an ideal follow-up to falls recorded in the first week of April.
  • The recent spate of above average temperatures continues across northern Australia indicating an early end to the wet season.
  • According to the Australian Plague Locust Commission, locust population levels will remain generally low for the remainder of autumn in most regions. The spring outlook is for low-density nymphs to develop in several regions of Queensland and New South Wales, with medium and locally high densities possible in parts New South Wales.
  • The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is currently neutral, however it is expected to approach or exceed negative IOD thresholds from mid-winter. A negative IOD typically brings above average rainfall to southern Australia during winter and spring.
  • Over the next eight days, a series of cold fronts are expected to bring rainfall to parts of southern Australia while high pressure systems are expected to limit rainfall over the rest of Australia. Across cropping regions, rainfall of between 10 and 50 millimetres is expected across much of New South Wales and parts of southern Queensland, eastern Victoria, central South Australia and the south-west of Western Australia.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) increased between 22 April 2020 and 29 April 2020 by 38 gigalitres (GL). The current volume of water held in storage is 8,441 GL which represents 33 per cent of total capacity.
  • Allocation prices in the Victorian Murray below the Barmah choke decreased from $420 per ML on 23 April 2020 to $365 per ML on 30 April 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 29 April 2020 rainfall was largely restricted to parts of south-eastern Australia. Rainfall between 10 and 50 millimetres was recorded across parts of southern and north-eastern New South Wales, much of Victoria, southern agricultural areas of South Australia, northern and western Tasmania, and isolated parts of north-eastern Queensland and southern Western Australia. Rainfall in excess of 50 millimetres was recorded across isolated areas of southern New South Wales, north-eastern Queensland, eastern Victoria, south-eastern South Australia and western Tasmania.

In Australia’s cropping regions, rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres were recorded across parts of southern New South Wales, and much of Victoria and South Australia. Little to no rainfall was recorded across cropping regions in Queensland, Western Australia and remaining regions in New South Wales during the week ending 29 April 2020.

Rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres this week across southern agricultural areas of South Australia and western Victoria are particularly timely, providing an ideal follow-up to falls recorded in the first week of April. These falls will continue to build producer confidence for winter crop planting especially for canola, and may encourage additional planting.

Rainfall for the week ending 29 April 2020

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©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 29/04/2020

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/

Temperature anomalies this week

For the week ending 28 April  2020, maximum temperatures were 2°C to 8°C above average across much of northern and central Australia and minimum temperatures were 2°C to 8°C above average across parts of western and central Australia. Average (- 2°C to 2°C) minimum temperatures were recorded across the remainder of the country.

The recent spate of above average temperatures continues across northern Australia indicating an early end to the wet season. Across northern Australia, recent temperature anomalies broadly reflected the rainfall pattern. Cooler temperatures were associated with areas that had above average rain and the drier regions had higher than normal temperatures during March and April.

Maximum temperature anomalies for the week ending 28 April 2020

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©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 29/04/2020

Minimum temperature anomalies for the week ending 28 April 2020

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©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 29/04/2020

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: http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/awap/temp/index.jsp.

Australian Plague Locust

The Australian Plague Locust Commission (APLC) produces a monthly Locust Bulletin during the periods of locust activity (spring, summer and autumn). The bulletin gives regional summaries of the locust situation and weather events of potential significance for locust development. It also provides a forecast of likely developments for the next two months (or from autumn to spring) for the Australian plague locust (Chortoicetes terminifera), spur-throated locust (Austracris guttulosa), and the migratory locust (Locusta migratoria).

The Australian plague locust is a damaging, recurrent insect pest of pastures and crops throughout Australia that mostly occurs throughout central and western parts of NSW.
According to the APLC, the Australian plague locust population remained generally low in inland eastern Australia during March, but there was a moderate increase from the previous very low numbers in parts of Queensland and New South Wales. This increase indicates background breeding in improved habitat conditions following the sequence of rainfall events since late January. Surveys have been limited because of travel restrictions.

The outlook for the remainder of autumn is for generally low population levels in most regions. Medium density adults are likely to persist in the Central West and limited areas of the Far West and Riverina regions of New South Wales. Egg-laying will continue during April and May. Although a late autumn nymph generation is possible in northern regions of Queensland, the majority of hatchings in other states will be delayed until spring due to diapause and low temperatures.

The spring outlook is for low-density nymphs to develop in several regions of Queensland and New South Wales, with medium and locally high densities possible in parts of Central West, Far West, Riverina and the Northwest Plains of New South Wales. Most hatchings in those regions will occur during September (Locust Bulletin April 2020).

For further information, go to http://www.agriculture.gov.au/pests-diseases-weeds/locusts/

Australian Plague Locust Distribution 1 March to 22 April 2020

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Densities estimated for areas of locust habitat, based on current surveys and reports from current and previous month.
©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment - Issued: 22/04/2020

Dry season weather pattern developing across northern Australia

The dry season weather pattern has been developing earlier than normal, bringing above average temperatures and below average rainfall to much of the northern half of Australia.

As the official start date of the dry season approaches (1 May), broadscale weather patterns across the tropics are transitioning to a more typical dry-season pattern. South-easterly trade winds currently dominate the Australian region, while the belt of high pressure across southern Australia has recently moved further north and strengthened. This pattern will become further established in the coming weeks and months, resulting in sustained periods of dry south-easterly winds and stable conditions across much of northern Australia.

Average rainfall during the 2019-20 northern wet season has resulted in close to average plant growth rates across parts of northern Western Australia, central and western Queensland and parts of the Northern Territory. However, due to delayed start and early finish to the 2019-20 northern wet season plant growth rates have been extremely low to well below average across large areas of tropical northern Australia.

Relative pasture growth for the period 1 October 2019 to 31 March 2020

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Climate Drivers

Following an early autumn break across large areas of eastern Australia and a favourable climate outlook for the May to July period, there is interest in how the current winter growing season may pan out. To gain some insight it is important to look at the major climate drivers—the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO)—that influence winter and spring rainfall across southern Australia. The current favourable 3-month rainfall outlook for much of Australia is largely being influenced by a warmer than average eastern Indian Ocean increasing the likelihood of northwest cloudbands interacting with fronts and troughs to bring increased rainfall during late autumn and winter. If negative IOD and/or La Nina conditions were to eventuate as forecast by a range of international climate models, these key climate drivers would become the major influencing factor for late winter and spring rainfall across southern Australia.

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is currently neutral. The latest weekly value to 26 April is −0.01 °C.

Monthly sea surface temperature anomalies for IOD region

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©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 25/04/2020

The IOD typically has little influence on Australian climate from December to April. As the monsoon trough retreats back towards the northern hemisphere at the end of northern Australia's wet season, we will begin to re-enter the part of the year where the IOD can form.

Of the six international climate models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology, most indicate a neutral IOD for the coming months. Two models briefly reach positive levels between May and June. All models reach negative IOD levels at some point in July or August, and remain above the threshold during September. However, at this time of year the accuracy of IOD forecasts beyond autumn is low. A negative IOD often results in higher than average rainfall over south-eastern Australia. The map below shows rainfall during negative IOD years is generally above average (decile 8 or higher, indicated by the blue shading) across the mainland's

Typical impact of a negative IOD on winter–spring rainfall

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©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 16/05/2016

The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is currently neutral. The latest weekly NINO3.4 value to 26 April is +0.5 °C.

Monthly sea surface temperature anomalies for NINO3.4 region

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©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 25/04/2020

While neutral ENSO conditions are likely to persist through winter, three out of the eight international models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology suggest ENSO could approach or exceed La Niña thresholds by September 2020. However, at this time of year the accuracy of ENSO forecasts beyond May and June is low.

La Niña events typically develop in autumn, strengthen during winter, spring and early summer, and begin to decay in late summer. A La Niña event often results in higher than average rainfall over much of Australia during winter, spring and early summer. The map below shows rainfall during La Niña years is generally above average (decile 8 or higher, indicated by the blue shading) across much of Australia.

Typical impact of a La Niña event on winter–spring rainfall

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©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 25/04/2020

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

A series of cold fronts are expected to bring rainfall to parts of southern Australia while high pressure systems are expected to limit rainfall over the rest of Australia during the next eight days. Rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres are forecast for parts of south-eastern and south-western Australia and isolated parts of north-eastern Queensland. Falls in excess of 50 millimetres are forecast across parts of southern New South Wales, eastern Victoria and western Tasmania.

In cropping regions, rainfall of between 10 and 50 millimetres is expected across much of New South Wales and parts of southern Queensland, eastern Victoria, central South Australia and the south-west of Western Australia. Little to no rainfall is expected across remaining cropping regions in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia during the next eight

Total forecast rainfall (mm) for the period 30 April 2020 to 7 May 2020

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©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 30/04/2020

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 – 30 April 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 29-Apr US$/A$ 0.64 0.63 2%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 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 28-Apr US$/t 230 233 -1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 205 12%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Coarse Grains – US no. 2 yellow corn, fob Gulf 29-Apr US$/t 147 147 0% 160 -8%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Canada, fob Vancouver 29-Apr US$/t 350 348 <1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 345 -1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index 30-Apr USc/lb 65.3 63.2 3%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 86.8 -25%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 30-Apr USc/lb 9.6 10.2 -6%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 12.2 -21%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator 23-Apr Ac/kg clean 1,272 1,292 -2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.  1,943 -35%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 1,358 1,370 <1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.  2,064 -34%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 03-Mar A$/t 351 358 -2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 289 21%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Wheat – General purpose, Sydney, NSW 31-Mar A$/t 458 448 2%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 415 10%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Barley – Sydney, NSW 31-Mar A$/t 372 366 2%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 396 -6%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Grain Sorghum – Sydney, NSW 31-Mar A$/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 17-Apr Ac/kg cwt 359 379 -5%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 341 5%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) 27-Apr Ac/kg cwt 820 880 -7%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 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 25-Apr Ac/kg lwt 280 260 8%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 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 21-Apr US$/t 2,707 2,820 -4%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 3,269 -17%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder 21-Apr US$/t 2,380 2,514 -5%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 2,462 -3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese 21-Apr US$/t 4,480 4,395 2%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. 4,319 4%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat 21-Apr US$/t 4,083 4,345 -5%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. 6,126 -33%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

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Last reviewed: 4 May 2020
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