Weather patterns across northern Australia have been robust over the past week with cyclones hitting both northern Queensland and north western WA.
Heavy rain has and or will fall across central Australia and Queensland over the next week with heavy rainfall expected to fall across many parched parts of Queensland.
In some areas, hopefully drought breaking rains will fall.
These rains are a welcome relief from the extended dry period that has prevailed.
Now all that is needed is some decent opening rains here in Victoria. East Gippsland has recorded some pleasing rain over the past week. This part of Victoria has had an extended dry period and so this rainfall has been very welcome.
In the short term the BOM forecast continues to be dry for much of western Victoria, the Wimmera and Mallee regions.
As we keep commenting this is not unusual for March and April weather here in Victoria.
Farmers and graziers are starting to work up paddocks in readiness for fodder and pasture establishment. This is occurring across the State. Dairy farmers will look to sow oats and other fodder crops and hoping the opening autumn rains arrive soon.
For many, especially across north-eastern Victoria, winter forage crops will be required as hay supplies diminish. From all reports hay is difficult to source locally across the north-east as farmers found the cost of irrigation too expensive this past summer.
Last Tuesday, the Bureau issued an El Nino Alert, meaning there is a 70 per cent chance of an El Nino event occurring during the coming months. This likelihood is up from a 50 per cent chance at the beginning of March.
Dairy and livestock farmers who do not feel they have adequate fodder cover on their own farms are stepping in and buying hay to ensure they have sufficient stocks to see them through 2019.
Cereal and canola hay is being trucked in from the Wimmera and Mallee regions to both the north-east and into Gippsland. Victorian cereal hay is also moving to NSW and Queensland.
The best case scenario for Victorian hay supplies will be if these rains in the north slow the interstate movements of hay in the weeks ahead.
More pleasing developments on the milk front this week for Victoria's dairy farmers with both Coles and Aldi finally relenting and no longer selling milk for $1 a litre.
Global milk prices lifted for the eighth consecutive time, rising 1.9 per cent at the latest global auction.