Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for May to August 2008

The bottom line

Average Winter Crop Outlook

At the end of April, soil water conditions and the seasonal rainfall outlook indicate average chances of an above median yielding wheat crop for the 2008 winter growing season for most of the North-Eastern Australia cropping region. The crop yield outlook is a reflection of the pattern of summer rainfall over the cropping region.

There remains, however, variation in the outlook among local regions. This is due to the patchy summer rainfall and also because it is early in the winter cropping season. The range of yield projected will narrow as the outlook is updated over the season.

The probability of exceeding the long median yield is shown. Areas coloured yellow to red have a low chance of exceeding the median yield, whereas areas coloured green to blue have a higher than average chance of exceeding the median yield. Neutral white and grey tones show an average chance of exceeding their long-term median.

This regional wheat outlook is stronger than for this time last year, when a neutral SOI combined with very low starting soil moisture to indicate relatively poor crop chances.

However, this yield forecast does not take into account loses from disease and/or frost.

The regional wheat crop outlook assumes cropping after a summer 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.

As at 14th May the 30 day average of the SOI was plus 4.8. The average SOI for April was plus 4.4. Based on this SOI and historical rainfall records there is a 50 to 70% chance of getting above median rainfall throughout most of southern Australia May through to July.

The odds are a poorer 40 to 60 % chance of above median rainfall across much of northern Australia for its dry season. Go to SOI Phase Maps on this longapddock site for more detailed information.

Last updated: 12 May 2008