Rain falling today across Victoria is a promising forerunner to what the Bureau of Meteorology predicts will be widespread rains across much of the eastern Australia cropping zone over the next few days.
November rainfall was above average across most of the Northern Territory, South Australia, the southern half of Western Australia, western Queensland, north eastern Tasmania, and large areas of New South Wales, but long timescale moisture deficiencies remain largely unchanged.
The tropical Pacific continues to meet some, but not all, El Niño criteria, while a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) persists in the Indian Ocean, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest climate outlook.
The majority of New South Wales remains in drought despite average to above average rainfall over the past month, according to the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) State Seasonal Update for October.
While climate forecasters point to the recent development of an El Niño as a sign of dry times ahead, summer crop producers throughout the eastern farming zone may take heart from other climate indicators that are more optimistic about the likelihood of summer rains.
Large parts of WA are likely to be drier than average, along with western Tasmania and scattered parts of central Australia and Queensland which are likely to experience a drier-than-normal summer period, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest climate outlook.
The importance of stored soil water comes to the forefront in seasons like this where, in the eastern farming zones, there has been little in-crop rain over winter followed by summer crop planting rain in those areas lucky enough to have received it.
A rain front that passed over the drought-affected cropping regions of New South Wales yesterday brought a degree of 11th-hour relief to struggling winter crops and helped kick along emerging summer crops.
Calculating soil moisture will be a critical consideration in summer crop planting decisions this season with wide spread rain continuing to prove elusive across large areas of Queensland and northern New South Wales.
Recent rains across much of eastern Australia have been welcomed by farmers, but the outlook for further substantial falls into summer remains low with ominous signs of a dry-weather, El Nino pattern taking hold.