Recent warming in the Pacific Ocean results in a 50% chance that an El Niño weather event will develop this year.
Sea surface temperatures in the central to eastern tropical Pacific have been warming since April and are expected to reach El Niño levels, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
The last El Niño in Australia in 2015-16 reduced agricultural production, and with conditions in parts of northern New South Wales and parts of Queensland already in drought, this news could be the last thing farming communities want to hear.
NAB agribusiness economist Phin Ziebell said Ross Greenwood’s weather offices have been warning about this for some time now, but “it’s definitely something to watch out for.”
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GrainGrowers CEO Dr Michael Southan told Ross there was “not really” much that farmers could do to avoid the effects of El Niño.
“We’ll have to see what happens, especially in the spring when we have a lot of the grain being prepared.
“You can get occasional rains that will potentially allow the harvest to pass. However, the weather has been very, very dry and the ability to store some moisture in the soil has been quite limiting for growers, so there is a lot of concern. “
“There is a significant cost to put the crop in the ground, many producers have to finance this operation and to see this expense having been planted and nothing resulting from it is a real heartache. “
Click PLAY below to hear Dr. Southan’s full interview