Weekly update - 5 April 2018

​​Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 4 April 2018 rainfall was mainly recorded in western and northern Australia, western Tasmania and along Australia’s north-east coast. Little to no rainfall was received across the remainder of the country.
  • Maximum temperatures were between 2°C and 4°C above average across most of mainland Australia for the week ending 3 April 2018. Higher anomalies (6°C to 8°C above average) were observed in south-western Queensland, and central and northern parts of New South Wales.
  • Rainfall during March 2018 was extremely high in northern and eastern Queensland and southern parts of the Northern Territory. Parts of Tasmania and the mid-north coast of New South Wales also received extremely high rainfall. Below average rainfall was recorded across large parts of southern Australia, with areas of severe deficiency in central New South Wales, central South Australia and southern parts of Western Australia.
  • Relative upper layer soil moisture for March 2018 was extremely high across central and northern Queensland, and south-eastern parts of the Northern Territory. It was extremely low in central New South Wales and across the southern half of South Australia.
  • Rainfall deficiencies have decreased across western Queensland at the 12-month timescale due to above average March rainfall. In contrast, there has been some expansion in the areas affected by severe and serious rainfall deficiency in south-eastern Australia.
  • During the next eight days little to no rainfall is expected across most of mainland Australia. Rainfall totals between 25 and 50 millimetres are forecast along Queensland’s east coast, the Cape York Peninsula and parts of the Top End, Northern Territory. Similar totals are predicted for western Tasmania.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending  5 April 2018 by 174 gigalitres (GL) to 11,569 GL and are at 51 per cent of total capacity. This is 17 percentage points or 3,743 GL less than at the same time last year.
  • Allocation prices in the southern Murray–Darling Basin remained the same in the week ending 5 April 2018 at $124 per ML. This is an increase of $2 from the same time last week.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 4 April 2018 rainfall was mainly recorded in western and northern Australia, western Tasmania and along Australia’s north-east coast. Little to no rainfall was received across the remainder of the country. Rainfall totals between 15 and 50 millimetres were recorded in central and northern parts of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Similar totals were recorded in coastal, south-western and northern parts of Queensland, and in western Tasmania. Higher totals (exceeding 100 millimetres) were recorded between Mackay and Townsville (associated with the reformation of Tropical Cyclone Iris) and in parts of the Cape York Peninsula. The highest recorded weekly total was 468 millimetres at Macknade Sugar Mill, north of Townsville.

Rainfall - week ending 4 April 2018

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 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 4/04/2018

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.

Temperature anomalies this week

For the week ending 3 April 2018, maximum temperatures were between 2°C and 4°C above average across most of mainland Australia. Higher anomalies (6°C to 8°C above average) were observed in south-western Queensland, and central and northern parts of New South Wales. Minimum temperatures were between 2°C and 4°C above average in Queensland and central parts of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. They were close to average for the rest of the country.

Maximum temperature anomalies - week ending 3 April 2018

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

©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 3/04/2018

Minimum temperature anomalies - week ending 3 April 2018

Map showing minimum temperature anomalies in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.] 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 3/04/2018

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 their long-term averages. Temperature anomalies are calculated using high-resolution gridded datasets from 1911 onwards. For further information go to Daily maximum temperature for Australia.

Monthly rainfall

For Australia as a whole, rainfall during March 2018 was close to average. However, there was high degree of variability across the country. Extremely high rainfall was observed in northern and eastern Queensland and southern parts of the Northern Territory. Parts of Tasmania and the mid-north coast of New South Wales also received extremely high rainfall. Below average rainfall was recorded across large parts of southern Australia, with areas of severe deficiency in central New South Wales, central South Australia and southern parts of Western Australia.

In cropping regions, March 2018 rainfall was close to average in Queensland, northern New South Wales and Western Australia. It was well below average in southern New South Wales, and below average in parts of Victoria and South Australia.

Rainfall percentiles for March 2018

 

Source: Bureau of Meteorology
Note: Rainfall for March 2018 is compared with rainfall recorded for that period during the historical record (1900 to present). For further information, go to Australian Water Availability Project

Monthly soil moisture

Relative upper layer soil moisture for March 2018 was extremely high across central and northern Queensland, and south-eastern parts of the Northern Territory. It was extremely low in central New South Wales and across the southern half of South Australia. Upper layer soil moisture was close to average across the remainder of the country. The pattern of relative upper layer soil moisture reflects March 2018 rainfall.

Upper layer soil moisture was close to average in all cropping regions, except southern New South Wales and parts of Victoria where it was well below average.

Modelling upper layer soil moisture for March 2018

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. 

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 March 2018. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during March 2018 compare with March conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2015). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in March 2018 than during the same period over 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 the most appropriate indicator of the availability of water, particularly for germinating plants. 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.

Relative lower layer soil moisture for March 2018 was extremely low in south-eastern Australia. It was extremely high in northern and south-eastern Queensland, south-eastern parts of the Northern Territory, and south-eastern parts of Western Australia.

In cropping regions, lower layer soil moisture was above average in Queensland and eastern parts of Western Australia. It was extremely low in southern parts of New South Wales, Victoria and eastern South Australia. Lower layer soil moisture close to average in northern New South Wales, western South Australia and Western Australia cropping regions.

Modelling lower layer soil moisture for March 2018

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. 

Source: Bureau of Meteorology (Australian Water Resources Assessment Landscape model)
Note: This map shows the levels of modelled lower layer soil moisture (10 centimetres to 1 metre) during March 2018. This map shows how modelled soil conditions during March 2018 compare with March conditions modelled over the reference period (1911 to 2015). Dark blue areas on the maps were much wetter in March 2018 than during the same period over 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 the most appropriate indicator of the availability of water, particularly for germinating plants. 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 deficiencies

Compared to the 11-month period (April 2017 to February 2018) presented in the previous Drought Statement, deficiencies have decreased in inland and western Queensland, and decreased slightly on the east coast of New South Wales between the Manning and Illawarra districts

Heavy rainfall associated with tropical cyclone No​ra toward the end of the month caused flooding, but did help to ease longer-term rainfall deficiencies in Queensland. In contrast, south-eastern Australia has had a very dry start to the year. This has resulted in some expansion of deficiencies in South Australia, and central New South Wales for the 12-month period 1 April to 31 March 2018 (Bureau of Meteorology ‘Drought Statement’, 5 April 2018).

Rainfall deficiencies for the 12-month period 1 April to 31 March 2018

 

Source: ©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 04/04/2018

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

During the next eight days, little to no rainfall is expected across most of mainland Australia. Rainfall totals between 25 and 50 millimetres are forecast along Queensland’s east coast, the Cape York Peninsula and parts of the Northern Territory’s Top End. Similar totals are predicted for western Tasmania.

This rainfall forecast is produced from computer models. As it contains no input from weather forecasters, it is important to check local forecasts and warnings issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.

Total forecast rainfall (mm) for the period 5 to 12 April 2018

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. 

Source: ©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 5/04/2018

Water

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Water availability

Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 5 April 2018 by 174 gigalitres (GL) to 11,569 GL and are at 51 per cent of total capacity. This is 17 percentage points or 3,743 GL less than at the same time last year.

Visit the interactive Tableau data dashboard

Water storages in the Murray-Darling Basin (NSW, Victoria and Queensland)

Line graph showing water storages in the Murray–Darling Basin (NSW, Victoria and Queensland) from 2001 to 2018, measured as a percentage of the total storage of 22,598 gigalitres. 

Information on water available in dams used for irrigation the Murray–Darling Basin from 1 January 2001 to 5 April 2018 is shown above. The top horizontal (short dash) line indicates the storage level during a similar time last year. The bottom horizontal (long dash) line indicates the amount of ‘dead’ or unusable storage.

Water storages

Changes in regional water storage for March 2018 and the previous 12 months are summarised in the table and graph below (current at 5 April 2018).

Region

Total capacity

Current volume

Current volume

Monthly change

Monthly change

Annual change

Annual change

 

(GL)

(GL)

(%)

(GL)

(%)

(GL)

(%)

Murray–Darling Basin (MDB)

22,559

11,569

51

–876

–4

–3,743

–17

Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) controlled storages

9,352

5,059

54

–463

–5

–996

–11

Queensland MDB

186

140

75

–5

–3

–38

–20

Central Queensland

3,154

3,154

100

–117

–4

120

4

South–east Queensland

3,517

2,152

61

–64

–2

–302

–9

New South Wales MDB

13,884

5,232

38

–591

–4

–3,727

–27

Coastal New South Wales

1,074

806

75

0

0

–149

–14

Victoria MDB

8,488

6,198

73

–280

–3

21

0

State water storages in the Murray–Darling Basin (NSW, Victoria and Queensland)

Line graph showing water storages in the Murray–Darling Basin (NSW, Victoria and Queensland) from 2001 to 2018, measured as a percentage of the total storage of 22,598 gigalitres. 

Water allocations

The current water allocations for the 2017–18 water trading season for licence holders in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia water systems are summarised in the following table and charts.

On  3 April 2018 the Resource Manager for Northern Victoria announced seasonal determination increases of:

  • 1 per cent for Victoria Campaspe low reliability to 59 per cent.
Water allocations in the Murray–Darling Basin (NSW, Victoria and South Australia)

Allocations at

5 April 2018

15 March 2018

New South Wales

General security

High security

General security

High security

NSW Murray

51%

97%

51%

97%

NSW Murrumbidgee

38%

95%

38%

95%

NSW Lower Darling

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Macquarie and Cudgegong

38%

100%

38%

100%

NSW Hunter

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Lachlan

2%

100%

2%

100%

NSW Lower Namoi

7%

100%

7%

100%

NSW Upper Namoi

100%

100%

100%

100%

NSW Gwydir

18%

100%

18%

100%

NSW Border Rivers

100%(a)/19.62%(b)

100%

100%(a)/19.62%(b)

100%

NSW Peel

100%

100%

100%

100%

Victoria

Low reliability

High reliability

Low reliability

High reliability

Victoria Murray

0%

100%

0%

100%

Victoria Goulburn

0%

100%

0%

100%

Victoria Campaspe

59%

100%

58%

100%

Victoria Loddon

0%

100%

0%

100%

Victoria Bullarook

100%

100%

100%

100%

Victoria Broken

100%

100%

100%

100%

South Australia

 

Class 3a/3b

 

Class 3a/3b

South Australia Murray

 

100%

 

100%

Select water allocation percentages in the southern Murray-Darling Basin

 

 

 

 

Water markets

Allocation prices in the southern Murray–Darling Basin remained the same in the week ending 5 April 2018 at $124 per ML. This is an increase of $2 from the same time last week. This contrasts with an average price of $117 in March across the whole southern MDB, and $42 during the same month last year.

Allocation trade activity in the southern Murray–Darling Basin

Allocation trade activity in the southern Murray-Darling Basin. The trades shown reflect market activity and do not encompass all register trades. The price line reflects locally fitted price values for the entire southern Murray-Darling Basin.  

The trades shown reflect estimated market activity and do not encompass all register trades. The price line reflects locally fitted price values for the entire southern Murray–Darling Basin. Data shown is current until 5 April 2018. Trade activity is shown as colour density.

 

Southern MDB

Victoria Goulburn

SA Murray

NSW Murrumbidgee

Victoria Murray

NSW Murray

Current week: 30/03/18 – 05/04/18

$124.08

$114.71

$123.03

$154.53

$132.80

$131.07

Last week: 23/03/18 – 29/03/18

$122.13

$110.01

$106.24

$158.15

$130.51

$127.17

March 2018

$116.98

$101.26

$106.56

$150.67

$122.36

$115.07

March 2017

$41.53

$44.63

$44.80

$17.66

$45.96

$41.03

Commodities

Current indicators – 5 April 2018

IndicatorWeek endedUnitLatest pricePrice week priorWeekly changePrice 12 months priorYear on year changeChart

Selected world indicator prices

Australian Dollar – AUD/USD Exchange Rate04-AprUS$/A$0.770.770%0.761%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf03-AprUS$/t233234<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.19122%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 Gulf04-AprUS$/t1721701%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.15710%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Europe, fob Hamburga03-AprUS$/t425426<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.430-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index04-AprUSc/lb90.891.4<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.86.35%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Sugar – Intercontinental Exchange, nearby futures, no.11 contract04-AprUSc/lb12.412.5<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.16.5-25%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator29-MarAc/kg clean1,7721,778<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.1,50218%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator23-MarAc/kg clean1,8691,8342%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1,53422%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart

Selected domestic crop indicator prices

Milling Wheat – ASW1, track quote, Port Adelaide, SA03-AprA$/t2442402%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.18036%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Wheat – General purpose, Sydney, NSW04-AprA$/t2782780%20635%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Barley – Sydney, NSW04-AprA$/t2792790%19047%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Portland, Vic.02-AprA$/t4924920%497-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Grain Sorghum – Sydney, NSW04-AprA$/t3503500%24443%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart

Selected domestic livestock indicator prices

Beef – Eastern Young Cattle Indicator29-MarAc/kg cwt540544<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.650-17%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Mutton – Mutton indicator (18-24 kg fat score 2-3), Vic23-MarAc/kg cwt4554218%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.467-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator29-MarAc/kg cwt615619<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.654-6%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Pig – Eastern Seaboard (60.1-75 kg), average of buyers & sellers23-MarAc/kg cwt270273-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.318-15%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Goat – Eastern States (12.1-16 kg)26-MarAc/kg cwt472468<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.651-27%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Live cattle – Light steers ex Darwin to Indonesia31-MarAc/kg lwt3103100%340-9%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Live sheep – Live wether (Muchea WA saleyard) to Middle East26-Mar$/head1291217%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.11314%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart

Global Dairy Trade weighted average pricesa

Dairy – Whole milk powder03-AprUS$/t3,2783,2262%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.2,92412%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder03-AprUS$/t1,8491,887-2%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.1,913-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese03-AprUS$/t3,6793,6092%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.3,28812%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat03-AprUS$/t5,8066,249-7%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.5,936-2%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.

Movements in selected fruit and vegetable prices
Data attribution

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Last reviewed:
05 Apr 2018