Weekly update - 8 March 2018

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 7 March 2018 rainfall was mainly recorded in western, northern and eastern Australia and Tasmania. Widespread thunderstorms brought rainfall totals exceeding 300 millimetres to northern and central Queensland.
  • While these falls have come towards the end of the wet season, a number of regions will benefit from the resultant increases in pasture production and on farm water storages.
  • During the week ending 6 March 2018, maximum and minimum temperatures were above average (2°C to 6°C) through central and eastern Australia
  • According to the Australian Plague Locust Commission, the locust population level remained low in most regions during February. The outlook for autumn is for population densities to remain generally low in most regions of inland eastern Australia.
  • In eastern Australia serious or severe rainfall deficiencies were observed across most of western to central inland Queensland, south of the Gulf Country, and a large area of eastern New South Wales for the 11-month timescale April 2017 to February 2018.
  • Heavy rainfall in the past few days in north-western, central, and southern Queensland is likely to ease deficiencies in small parts of central-western Queensland. A number of areas are now tracking at or above average rainfall for the current northern wet season (October to April).
  • During the next eight days, rainfall is expected in northern and central Australia, in some areas of coastal eastern Australia and western Tasmania.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 8 March 2018 by 225 gigalitres (GL) to 12,445 GL and are at 55 per cent of total capacity. This is 15 percentage points or 3,452 GL less than at the same time last year.
  • Allocation prices in the southern Murray-Darling Basin remained the same in the week ending 8 March 2018 to $107 per ML.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 7 March 2018 rainfall was mainly recorded in western, northern and eastern Australia and Tasmania. A series of troughs, low pressure systems and widespread thunderstorms brought rainfall totals exceeding 300 millimetres to northern and central Queensland. Rainfall totals exceeding 25 millimetres were recorded in north-eastern New South Wales, most of Queensland, western Tasmania, the Top End of the Northern Territory and parts of central-eastern and northern Western Australia. Through central and south-eastern Australia little to no rainfall was received. The highest recorded weekly total was 391 millimetres at Carsland east of Mount Isa in north-western Queensland.

Heavy rainfall in the past few days in north-western, central, and southern Queensland is likely to ease deficiencies in small parts of central-western Queensland (refer to section 1.4 Rainfall deficiencies for further information). A number of areas are now tracking at or above average rainfall for the current northern wet season (October to April). While these falls have come towards the end of the northern wet season, a number of regions will benefit from the resultant increases in pasture production and on farm water storages.

Rainfall - week ending 7 March 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: 7/03/2018

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 6 March 2018, maximum and minimum temperatures were above average (2°C to 6°C) through large areas of central and eastern Australia. Maximum temperatures were below average across north-western Queensland and isolated areas on Western Australia. Minimum temperatures were generally average for the rest of Australia.

Maximum temperature anomalies - week ending 6 March 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: 6/03/2018

Minimum temperature anomalies - week ending 6 March 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: 6/03/2018

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.

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).

According to the APLC, the locust population level remained low in most regions during February. Low numbers of adults were recorded in the Central West, Northwest Plains, Far West and Far Southwest of New South Wales, and in the Central West, Southwest and South Central regions of Queensland. Small increases in population density from very low levels in previous months were detected in part of Central West NSW and in Southwest Queensland. Although some localised low density breeding is likely to have occurred in other regions during January and February, most habitats dried out rapidly and prolonged high temperatures are likely to have caused increased mortality of nymphs and adults.

The outlook for autumn is for population densities to remain generally low in most regions of inland eastern Australia. Rainfall during February was dominated by heavy storm events in eastern and northern Queensland. This will maintain favourable habitat for locust breeding in the Central Highlands, Central West and South Central regions, although aggregation and high density autumn egg laying is unlikely. Sporadic breeding will continue during autumn, and an autumn nymph generation is possible in several regions of Queensland. The majority of eggs laid in NSW, Victoria and equivalent latitudes in South Australia during March will enter diapause and not hatch until spring. Given the current low population levels, there is a low risk of regional infestations developing and a very low risk of swarms affecting any agricultural region during autumn. At this stage there is no indication of high density nymph infestations developing in any region during spring (Locust Bulletin March 2018).

For further information, go to Australian Plague Locust Commission

Australian Plague Locust Distribution 1 to 28 February 2018

 

Densities estimated for areas of locust habitat, based on current surveys and reports from current and previous month.       
©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources  Issued: 05/03/2018

Rainfall deficiencies

Rainfall for February 2018 was below average for western to central Queensland and much of the Cape York Peninsula, large parts of the Northern Territory, the western two thirds of New South Wales, nearly all of Victoria, and parts of the east of South Australia.

Compared to the 10-month period (April 2017 to January 2018) presented in the previous Drought Statement, deficiencies have increased in inland and western Queensland, and on the east coast of New South Wales between the Manning and Illawarra districts.

Heavy rainfall associated with tropical cyclone Kelvin during mid-February caused flooding in the Kimberley and was largely responsible for above average rainfall over Western Australia, although the rains did not reach the west coast and rainfall deficiencies there remain largely unchanged.

Despite flash flooding around Canberra and adjacent south-eastern New South Wales, and around south-eastern Queensland, heavy rainfall in the last week of the month was insufficient to reduce deficiencies in those parts of eastern Australia experiencing serious or severe deficiencies. Some rain events in Tasmania, including some locally heavy falls, had little impact on longer-term deficiencies.

Below average February rainfall also increased rainfall deficiencies in eastern Australia at the longer timescale. In the west, rainfall deficiencies remain generally similar along the west coast of Western Australia, but continue to develop along the coast of the South West Land Division.

Serious or severe rainfall deficiencies were present along the coast between around Onslow in the Pilbara and Cervantes in the Central West District. Isolated pockets of serious rainfall deficiencies were also analysed in the southwest.

In eastern Australia serious or severe rainfall deficiencies were observed across most of western to central inland Queensland, south of the Gulf Country, and a large area of eastern New South Wales. Small patches of deficiencies were also present in central northern New South Wales, north-western New South Wales, and south-east Queensland (Bureau of Meteorology ‘Drought Statement’, 5 March 2018).

Rainfall deficiencies for the 11 month period 1 April to 2017 to 28 February 2018)

 

©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australia Bureau of Meteorology   Issued: 05/02/2018

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

During the next eight days, rainfall is expected in northern and central Australia, in some areas of coastal eastern Australia and western Tasmania. The system that brought heavy rainfall to central and western Queensland will continue to move slowly west and is expected to bring rainfall exceeding 50 millimetres to northern and western Queensland, southern and the Top End of Northern Territory, and northern Western Australia. Totals between 5 and 25 millimetres are expected for coastal New South Wales and Queensland, western Tasmania, northern South Australia and northern Western Australia. For much of southern Australia little to no rain is forecast.

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 8 to 15 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: ©Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 8/03/2018

Water

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Water availability

Water storage levels in the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) decreased during the week ending 8 March 2018 by 225 gigalitres (GL) to 12,445 GL and are at 55 per cent of total capacity. This is 15 percentage points or 3,452 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 8 March 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 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.

Water allocations in the Murray–Darling Basin (NSW, Victoria and South Australia)

Allocations at

8 March 2018

15 February 2018

New South Wales

General security

High security

General security

High security

NSW Murray

49%

97%

49%

97%

NSW Murrumbidgee

34%

95%

34%

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

55%

100%

55%

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 8 March 2018 to $107 per ML. This contrasts with an average price of $105 in February across the whole southern MDB, and $42 during the same time 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 8 March 2018. Trade activity is shown as colour density.

Allocation trade prices, southern Murray–Darling Basin trade zones

 

Southern MDB

Victoria Goulburn

SA Murray

NSW Murrumbidgee

Victoria Murray

NSW Murray

Current week:
02/03/18 – 08/03/18

$107.33

$89.55

$97.51

$147.44

$108.45

$106.60

Last week:
23/02/18 – 01/03/18

$107.63

$88.18

$106.89

$141.88

$107.81

$106.58

February 2018

$105.21

$82.02

$112.79

$130.91

$108.24

$108.51

February 2017

$41.86

$50.76

$54.28

$21.49

$49.71

$43.83

Commodities

Current indicators – 8 March 2018

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

Selected world indicator prices

Australian Dollar – AUD/USD Exchange Rate07-MarUS$/A$0.780.780%0.763%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf06-MarUS$/t2612428%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.20726%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 Gulf07-MarUS$/t1751694%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1656%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Europe, fob Hamburga06-MarUS$/t435436<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.436>-1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index07-MarUSc/lb92.390.62% This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.87.06%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 contract07-MarUSc/lb13.413.5<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.19.0-29%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator01-MarAc/kg clean1,8301,820<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1,50022%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator02-MarAc/kg clean1,9051,895<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.1,54723%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, SA06-MarA$/t240241<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.18232%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Wheat – General purpose, Sydney, NSW07-MarA$/t2782751%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.21132%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Feed Barley – Sydney, NSW07-MarA$/t2792790%19047%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Canola – Portland, Vic.05-MarA$/t497493<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.520-4%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Grain Sorghum – Sydney, NSW07-MarA$/t3503451%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.25438%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 Indicator01-MarAc/kg cwt5395213%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.614-12%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), Vic02-MarAc/kg cwt4083875%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.457-11%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator01-MarAc/kg cwt624619<1%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.6112%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 & sellers16-FebAc/kg cwt2772770%355-22%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)05-MarAc/kg cwt4664660%651-28%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 Indonesia03-MarAc/kg lwt3203200%375-15%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 East05-Mar$/head124125<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.nana chart

Global Dairy Trade weighted average pricesa

Dairy – Whole milk powder06-MarUS$/t3,2323,246<1%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.2,78216%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder06-MarUS$/t2,0511,83212%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.2,118-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese06-MarUS$/t3,7593,6862%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points.3,4359%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase in percentage points. chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat06-MarUS$/t6,2456,458-3%This is an image of a white arrow in a red circle indicating a decrease in percentage points.5,63511%This is an image of an white arrow in a green circle indicating an increase 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:
08 Mar 2018