Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for March to June 2008

The bottom line

The north eastern cropping region has an above average crop yield expectation, in the top 10% of all years, for the 07-08 summer cropping season. At the end of February soil water conditions and the rainfall outlook point towards a very good chance of shire yields very much above average.

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

There is an increased risk from pests and diseases, as well as possible harvesting problems, with a wet finish to a summer cropping season. This can lead to a reduction in crop yield and quality, especially for late sown crops.

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

Average to above average rainfall during February resulted in soil water profile replenishment in many areas. This contributed to a general improvement in yield outlook.

The range in likely cropping yield outcomes for the 07-08 growing season has narrowed considerably, as the actual growing season draws to a close, and much of the seasonal information has been taken into account.

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 17.3 The average SOI for February was plus 21.0.

Based on this SOI and historical rainfall records there is a 50 to 70% chance of getting above median rainfall throughout most of Australia March through to May. Some regions, in southern South Australia and Victoria and western Tasmania, have a lower 20 to 40 % chance of exceeding their median rainfall. Go to for more detailed information.

Last updated: 18 March 2008