Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for November 2006 to February 2007

The bottom line

Early Sorghum Outlook Shaky Dave McRae 20/11/06

The first of the Sorghum Crop Shire Yield Outlooks for this season has been released by the DPI&F. In what would not be a surprise the chance of getting an above median sorghum yield on a shire basis during the 06/07 summer growing season is below average for most of northern NSW and Queensland.

Based on soil water conditions at the end of October and the seasonal rainfall outlook for November to January most cropping regions on a shire basis in central and southern Queensland have a below to very much below average (0 to 30%) chance of average crop yields. Throughout northern NSW, the chance of getting average sorghum shire yields is marginally higher (30 to 40%).

As it is early in the growing season, widespread useful rain would improve the current outlook. The regional sorghum crop outlook is based on the assumption of cropping after a winter fallow and does not take into account effects of poor crop nutrition or damage due to pests, diseases, heat or frosts. For more information on shire wheat yields contact Andries Potgieter on (07) 4688 1417.

The 30 day average of the SOI has remained in negative values and is minus 7.9. Daily updates on the SOI are available on (07) 46881439. In terms of helping improve overall conditions it would help if the SOI where to go into positive values and remain there for months.

The last passage of the MJO occurred during early November (2nd to the 5th). Unfortunately the strength of the MJO did weaken somewhat due to it moving away from Australia towards the South China Sea. However the trough system that crossed Australia soon after was strongly influenced by the MJO. Based on its current timing it would be reasonable to expect it in very late November or early December. For more information try

Information on ocean temperatures in the central Pacific (running eastward along the equator from the international dateline) continues to indicate a warming trend characteristic of an El Nino. If this pattern persists it most likely will have a drying effect on our expected rainfall in spring and early summer as it did this winter over much of eastern Australia. A common feature of an El Nino SST pattern is a later than normal start to the monsoon season. Its effect (or impact on expected rainfall) is usually less noticeable by mid to late summer for the northern half of Australia. For more on conditions in the Pacific try the Bureau of Meteorology at

Current rainfall probability maps are at or For more information contact the DPI&F on 132523.

Last updated: 19 November 2006