Record low rain

Shepparton News - Country News - - EL­MORE FIELD DAYS 2017 -

Some of Aus­tralia’s prime agri­cul­tural re­gions have re­ported record low Septem­ber rain­fall, threat­en­ing an al­ready down­graded es­ti­mate for crop pro­duc­tion.

Dur­ing the past four months there have been se­ri­ous to se­vere de­fi­cien­cies across the ma­jor­ity of NSW, south­ern and coastal parts of Queens­land, a large area of south­ern South Aus­tralia, east­ern Vic­to­ria and east­ern Tas­ma­nia.

Septem­ber rain­fall in the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin, re­garded as the na­tion’s food bowl, was the low­est on record, the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy said in its lat­est drought state­ment last week.

Rain­fall was well below av­er­age — ranked in the low­est 10 per cent of records — for a large area of the main­land’s south-east.

For NSW as a whole, Septem­ber rain­fall was the low­est on record, while for Queens­land it was the tenth-dri­est Septem­ber since records be­gan in 1900.

Rain­fall de­fi­cien­cies have in­creased in both ex­tent and sever­ity across east­ern Aus­tralia at the four and seven-month time-scales, most no­tably in NSW and the south­ern third of Queens­land.

Lower-layer soil mois­ture for Septem­ber was below av­er­age across most of SA, Vic­to­ria, NSW and Queens­land, the south of the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, east­ern Tas­ma­nia, and ar­eas of south­ern WA.

Dry con­di­tions were ex­ac­er­bated by ex­cep­tion­ally warm tem­per­a­tures across most of the con­ti­nent in Septem­ber, fol­low­ing the warm­est win­ter on record.

Fore­cast mod­els in­di­cate good rain for many ar­eas is off the radar un­til De­cem­ber, en­dan­ger­ing sum­mer crop pro­duc­tion and the spring-sum­mer har­vest.

Dry con­di­tions and late frosts wiped out many win­ter crops, forc­ing the Aus­tralian Bureau of Agri­cul­tural and Re­source Eco­nom­ics and Sciences to es­ti­mate this sea­son’s har­vest will be nearly 40 per cent down on 2016-17.

Wheat pro­duc­tion is fore­cast to de­crease by 38 per cent to 21.6 mil­lion tonnes, bar­ley by 40 per cent to 8 mil­lion tonnes and canola by 33 per cent to 2.8 mil­lion tonnes.

But those fore­casts would only be achieved if spring rain­fall was suf­fi­cient and timely, ABARES said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.