Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for February to May 2009

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Crop Outlook Remains Optimistic Dave McRae, Qld Climate Change Centre of Excellence, 24 February 2009

The latest summer Sorghum Crop Shire Yield Outlook has been released. In what would not be a surprise there is a reasonable chance of getting an above median sorghum yield on a shire basis throughout the north east Australian cropping region for the 08/09 summer growing season.

There are though the usual variations. For example at the end of January, the summer cropping regions of central Queensland and northern NSW had an average to above average sorghum crop yield expectation. This is comparison to southern QLD where sorghum crop yield expectations are closer to or slightly below long term average yields.

The attached map shows the forecast departure of sorghum crop yields on a shire basis for the current season from long-term average shire yields.

The regional sorghum crop outlook is based on the assumption of a winter fallow and does not take into account effects of poor crop nutrition or damage due to pests, diseases, heat or frosts. Given ongoing positive SOI values there is potential for a wet finish to the summer cropping season potentially increase the risk of pests and diseases.

For more information on the crop outlook contact Andries Potgieter on 4688 1417 or try

Despite recent rain throughout much of central and northern Queensland drought declarations under state government processes remain stable.

Drought declarations in Queensland are made following recommendations from the local drought committees to the minister. The local drought committees also make the recommendations to the minister for drought declarations to be revoked. This occurs when in their opinion there has been sufficient rainfall to promote enough pasture growth to permit stocking at 'near-normal' carrying capacities for the given time of year.

There will be a review of the drought declaration status of all regional councils/shires at the end of the summer rainfall season. For a full list of drought declared shires and a seasonal conditions report go the Long Paddock internet site

Other information on the current drought situation and available financial assistance, drought planning advice, social, and community counselling services can be found at or through the DPI Call Centre on 132523.

The 30 day average of the SOI is plus 15.8. If the SOI remains consistently positive through to the end of February (as expected) this would be for the sixth month in a row.

You can receive a text message with the latest SOI values sent to your mobile phone. To subscribe to this free service, call (07) 4688 1459. For more information on the seasonal outlook, go to

Last updated: 23 February 2009