Western Australian Beef Commentary

Weather watch

In Western Australia, and Australia as a whole, the period from November 2015 to August 2016 provided a mixed season as far as rainfall was concerned, as seen in Figure 23. Much of the southern half of WA has experienced a relatively wet first half of 2016, reporting rainfall in deciles eight and above. The amount of rainfall received between 1 November 2015 and 31 July 2016 was above average or very much above average. This was welcome news as the previous winter had been very dry in parts, resulting in low stock water levels.

The situation has not been as favourable in the northern parts of the State, with the wettest part of the year providing average to very much below average rainfall levels. Parts of the Kimberley and Pilbara reported rainfall deciles between one and three. Conditions in many parts of these regions led to producers commencing mustering earlier than usual and selling a large number of cattle in the first trimester of 2016. Significant rainfall in May resulted in useful pasture growth in parts of the Kimberley and Pilbara, which produced much-needed additional feed. However, lower than average rainfall may result in a difficult season and excess cattle may come onto markets, either for live export or come south for slaughter due to a lack of feed availability in the north. Over the last nine months, the majority of Queensland and NSW have also received variable rainfall, varying from very much below average to very much above average in parts. In June the Eastern States experienced widespread rain. While still drought-declared, the rain has been welcomed by producers and may lead to the start of herd rebuilding. 

9 monthly rainfall deciles for Australia (November to August 2016)
Figure 23 Rainfall deciles from November 2015 to August 2016 (Source: The Bureau of Meteorology)