Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for February to May 2008

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High Yielding Summer Crop Expected

The north eastern cropping region looks set for an above median yielding sorghum crop for the 07-08 summer cropping season. At the end of January soil water conditions and the rainfall outlook point towards a very good chance of shire yields above average.

The yield outlook is based on the soil water conditions at the end of January and the seasonal rainfall outlook for February to April. However, some variation in yield outlook amongst the regions remains.

This high yield outlook is tempered by reports of flood damage and also by the increased risks from pests and diseases that can come with a wet finish to the summer cropping season.

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 rainfall during the seaon in the central Queensland highlands and northern New South Wales made a strong contribution to this outlook.

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.

It should also be noted that the outlooks are calculated as broad indicators for shire scale yields. They do not apply at farm level. 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. The average SOI for January was plus 12.7.

Based on this SOI and historical rainfall records there is a 50 to 70% chance of getting above median rainfall throughout most of Australia February through to April. Some regions, predominantly near the Bight, have a lower 30 to 50% chance of getting above median rainfall. Go to for more detailed information.

Further analysis indicates rainfall for most of Australia is more likely to be close to or above the long term average (or middle third to upper third) rather than below or well below average. The Bight coastal regions are more likely to be below average, rather than close to or above average.

Last updated: 18 February 2008