With another dry winter coming to a close at the end of this week, many producers will be anxiously hoping for a wet start to spring in order to boost crop prospects and enhance pasture growth. However, the latest three month rainfall outlook from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) provides a mixed outlook for spring, ranging from wetter conditions in southern WA, through to a neutral to drier outlook across southeast Australia.
According to the BOM, the best outlook for above average rain through spring is across southwest WA, with a 60-75% chance of exceeding median falls. In the east, the majority of central and northern NSW, along with most of Queensland has a 50-55% chance of exceeding median falls. Unfortunately, the drought-ravaged areas of southern NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and SA have again been assigned a drier than average outlook, with only a 35-45% chance of exceeding median falls.
Most of the eastern winter grain crops managed to make the most of patchy falls throughout the past three months and the rainfall outlook for the coming two weeks is encouraging. A widespread system is expected to spread across eastern Australia over the weekend, with patchy rain to linger through the following week. Unsettled conditions are also forecast throughout Queensland and northern NSW.
As in previous seasons, the dry winter has again placed increased importance on favourable rains in September. With little subsoil moisture in most areas, dry conditions would significantly reduce the winter harvest and pasture growth, again placing pressure on livestock numbers. In contrast, a favourable spring should boost crop prospects and tighten livestock turn-off, especially across the southern states.