Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for June to September 2008

The bottom line

17 June 2008

Sub-soil moisture levels for the 2008 winter cropping season are quite patchy. Despite good summer rainfall in some areas, the very dry autumn impacted starting soil moisture.

At this stage most shires show a below average wheat yields are likely for Queensland.

This is based on the soil water conditions at the end of May and the seasonal rainfall outlook for June to August.

However, if there is close to average rain falls, and with a fairly long planting window, there is still plenty of opportunity for wheat yields to improve throughout Queensland's cropping belt. Yield improvement and expectation will also strongly depend on receiving planting rains.

This early in the winter growing season there is still considerable variability. Areas of southwest Queensland and northern New South Wales only have yield expectations below the long-term average. Further widespread rainfall is need in these districts to encourage further planting and improve the crop outlook.

The wheat yield outlook is based on the assumption of cropping after a summer fallow and does not take into account the effects of poor crop nutrition, damage due to pests, diseases or frosts. Crop yield expectations will therefore vary within a shire and from property to property due to variability in crop management practices, soils and rainfall. For more information contact Andries Potgieter at the DPI&F on (07) 4688 1417 or 132523.

In the mean time the monthly value of the SOI fell from plus 4.4 for April to minus 3.5 for May. Based on a 'Rapidly Falling' SOI phase and historical rainfall data there is a 20 to 50 % chance of getting above median rainfall throughout most of the state. This represents a shift in the odds towards drier conditions for winter. This does not mean that it will not rain, just that there is a lower probability of getting above median rainfall for June to August. The 30 day average of the SOI as of the 17th June was minus 0.4.

More than half (54.6%) of Queensland is now drought declared under State processes. Following recommendations from the Local Drought Committees, the Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries has drought declared Mt Isa City Council and parts of Cloncurry Shire Council and McKinlay Shire Council. The Minister has also revoked the drought status of 26 former shires, part shires and/or regional councils. For information on drought declarations and revocations try the Queensland Drought Monitor page on

For those who blinked and missed it, the MJO passed north of Australia last week. The next passage of the MJO is now due in around 40 days or 15th to the 20th of July.

Last updated: 16 June 2008