Rainfall in WA is making an uncharacteristic pattern during the harvest periods, with much of the state being inundated with rain. However unlike last year most of the crop was off in the heaviest hit regions. For summer crops, the dry pattern is starting to be a concern. Only an estimated 40 - 50% of dryland sorghum has been planted (past the optimum window) in southern QLD and northern NSW.
QLD summer crop growing regions are still hanging on for a summer deluge, after another month of below average rain. On a weighted state average only 29mm fell last month (28mm deficit), and is now the fourth straight month of below average rain (64mm deficit). Quite a contrast to the previous two years when 126mm fell in Oct/Nov in 2011 and 160mm in 2010, down grading crop quality. Although the dry finish has allowed the winter crop to escape major harvest interruptions and quality downgrades, sorghum planting prospects are diminishing.
Apart from the regions around Griffith that had around 100mm in two days, most of NSW had average to below average rain in November. 27mm fell across the state (13mm deficit), but was still the wettest month since July! The Northern area (25mm) in particular has had a dry run over the last four months with totals running at a 100mm deficit.
There was some good rain through VIC last month; however what has been the theme of the last four months, all key regions still had below normal rain. Mallee, Wimmera 10mm, Loddon 9mm and Western District 27mm. In the Mallee harvest will be wrapping up, while about half way through in the Wimmera. Western parts of the state around Kaniva, got hit by freak hail storm over the weekend and rain up to 20mm, which would have damaged grain on the stalk and delayed harvest.
No rainfall of note fell across SA, with 8mm falling across growing regions and was the fifth consecutive month of double digit rainfall deficits (-86mm). November was actually the driest month since February ‘09. The dry month has enabled harvest to make quick progress, with most parts of the EP and Murray about finished. Although it has been a dry year, some good yields have been achieved on such little GSR.
The wet weather started at the start of the month in WA and continued right through to the end. The latest rain event hit on the 22nd, and was on and off over the week. The worst hit regions were the eastern fringes of the Kwinana and Esperance zone. But with all storms it was erratic rainfall with totals ranging from 70mm near Merredin to 30mm east of Esperance. November rainfall was 45mm (31mm above the mean), this compares to only 5mm in Oct.