FARMERS making management decisions for the summer ahead have received little assistance in the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) summer outlook.
BOM data did not give a strong push either way for above or below average rainfall, although there is a statistically significant chance of it being hotter than average across most of the country, especially in the north-east.
The Bureau's manager of long-range forecasting Dr Andrew Watkins said the outlook showed most of the country had an 80 per cent chance of exceeding normal temperatures over the next three months.
Regarding all-important summer rainfall through the northern agricultural regions, Queensland has a relatively high chance of not exceeding average summer rain, especially in areas north of a rough line from Gladstone to the NT border.
In poor news for drought-ravaged western Queensland, it is one of the most likely spots to be hotter and drier.
Most of the tropics, including WA, the Northern Territory and Queensland is set to be drier than average according to the BOM forecast,
For those looking for grain production to help feed the nation’s animals following a poor winter crop, the prognosis is at least neutral.
Following a promising start, odds of average summer rainfall through key summer cropping regions such as the Darling Downs and the Liverpool Plains are smack-bang on the flip of a coin at 50 per cent.
Only Central Queensland, out of the major summer cropping zones, has a significant chance of receiving below average rainfall.
In NSW, graziers hoping to benefit from feed generated by heavy rainfall last week, especially in coastal and mountain areas, have a neutral rainfall outlook, but feed may be burnt off by the highly probable hotter than average temperatures.
In the southern states, Victoria, South Australia and southern Western Australia are all likely to be closest to neutral temperatures along southern coastlines, grading more likely to be hot in the north.
Rainfall is expected to be average, but as these regions have Mediterranean climates, summer rainfall is not so critical in farming systems.
In terms of weather drivers, the BOM still has an El Niño alert, meaning the chances of an El Niño forming are roughly triple the normal risk, but the impact on rainfall is less pronounced in summer, especially in the south.