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El Niño Arrives, but What Will He Do?

El Niño Arrives, but What Will He Do?

14 May 2015

GLOBAL - The Australian Bureau of Meteorology and Japan Meteorological Agency both announced the emergence of El Niño conditions this week, following months of being on alert.

Climate models from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology currently suggest conditions continuing through to February 2016, with the event described as likely to be substantial, though forecasts are always subject to change. The potential impact of El Niño varies dependent on the actual duration and intensity.

If current models do prove correct, development of substantial El Niño conditions through the southern hemisphere’s spring has the potential to impact Australian cereal crops with dry weather at important stages.

Australian cereal yields in some extreme El Niño years (such as 2006) have been around half their 2014 level.

With the USDA’s first forecasts for the 2015/16 season now available, this allows potential impacts on Australian crops and world supplies to be quantified.

Australia is initially forecast to account for 4 per cent of world wheat production and 6 per cent of world barley output.

With the world wheat stocks-to-use ratio currently projected to increase slightly, if Australian wheat yields fall to 2006 levels then the ratio would remain above 2012 levels (all else being equal).

However, there is much greater sensitivity on the barley side – if Australian yields only achieve 2006 levels then world barley stocks-to-use could fall dramatically, implying a substantial tightening of world markets. Note that this is holding consumption equal – in reality a tighter market would affect both consumption and stock levels.

TheCropSite News Desk

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