Ag Weather Forum

Australia Wheat Areas Rebound From Dryness

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , Ag Meteorologist Emeritus
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Improved Australia rainfall includes more than 6 inches in parts of Western Australia and New South Wales during May. (Australia Bureau of Meteorology graphic)

As the Northern Hemisphere moves further into the astronomical summer season, the Southern Hemisphere enters winter. And for the biggest wheat-growing regions of Australia, winter is starting out on a much-improved note when it comes to soil moisture. That's because the weather pattern for most areas has shown a marked change from dry to wetter since about the first of May. May rainfall totals topped 6 inches in central New South Wales in the eastern part of Australia. Farther west, a few locales in Western Australia saw that magnitude of month-total rainfall as well.

Market advisory service Lachstock Consulting, based in South Australia, noted in a market review June 25: "Rainfall is developing again for the WA (Western Australia) wheat belt where it is now in stark contrast from where they were 6 weeks ago when most of the state was on a knife's edge. NDVI (vegetative index) imagery shows the uptick in growth which is now tracking at just below average."

Western Australia isn't the only location with more robust crop conditions. Crop areas of New South Wales and Victoria states are also reportedly showing average to above average crop growth. Even better, parts of west, northwest and northern New South Wales have crop growth which is at the top of the 20-year range.

The rest of Australia's crop regions have a more mixed crop condition story. Central Queensland is showing average to below-average crop vegetation conditions. And in South Australia, the condition of crops is much-below average and near the bottom of its 20-year range in parts of the state. Recent scattered rainfall has improved both crop conditions and yield prospects in the southeastern portion of the state.

The Australia agricultural ministry, ABARES, noted in its latest crop estimates that national planting to winter crops likely will reach a new record for 2024-25 at 23.6 million hectares (59 million acres). Australia's total national winter crop production is projected to increase to 51.3 million metric tons (mmt). ABARES projects Australia wheat production to increase by 12% to 29.1 mmt in 2024-25, 10% above the 10-year average to 2023-24. That's very close to USDA's June World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) estimate of 29.0 mmt.

Bryce Anderson can be reached at


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