Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for January to April 2008

The bottom line

At the end of December the seasonal rainfall outlook and soil water conditions show a good chance (50 to 90 %) of sorghum yields equalling or exceeding the median yield in central and southeast Queensland, and northern New South Wales.

The improvement to yield outlook for 07-08 summer growing season sorghum crop is due to the average to above average rainfall recorded for most of the cropping region in November, and further patchy rainfall through December.

However, the range of likely sorghum yield outcomes remains wide.

The yield outlook is based on the soil water conditions at the end of December and the seasonal rainfall outlook for January to March.

The regional sorghum outlook is much stronger than for this time last year, when a rapidly falling phase of the SOI indicated dry summer conditions, combined with very low starting soil moisture.

Widespread average to above average follow up rainfall is needed, during the next fortnight to a month. This would encourage further plantings and improve the current crop outlook especially for some parts of the central Queensland cropping region.

The regional sorghum crop outlook assumes cropping after a winter fallow. It does not take into account effects of poor crop nutrition or damage due to pests, diseases, or weather. Without taking these exceptions into account, there is a very low chance (0 to 10 %) of the yield being very low.

For more information follow the link to the seasonal crop outlook at or contact Andries Potgieter on (07) 4688 1417.

The 30 day average of the SOI is plus 22.3. This is the highest the averaged SOI has been since 1975. The averaged SOI for December was plus 13.3. Based on this SOI and historical rainfall records there is a 50 to 70% chance of getting above median rainfall throughout eastern Australia and in Western Australia during January to March. Some regions, predominantly coastal, have a higher 70 to 80% chance of getting above median rainfall.

Central and eastern southern Australia, in particular southern South Australia, south-western Victorian and western Tasmania have a much lower (20 to 50 %) chance of receiving their median rainfall over the 3 months January to March. Go to for more detailed information.

Last updated: 20 January 2008