Australia's wheatbelt moisture favourable ahead of winter planting: NAB

22 Mar 2021 | Masha Belikova

Moisture levels in most of Australia’s productive regions are rated as good ahead of the start of the winter crop planting campaign in around a month, National Australia Bank's Rural Commodities Wrap report showed Monday.

Subsoil moisture conditions look good across much of the Western Australian, key export region, and the New South Wales wheatbelt, as well as parts of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania after the La Nina weather pattern brought rains and cooler temperatures into Australia.

“Summer was generally wetter and cooler than average (with the notable exception of Queensland), giving southern Australian producers a much-needed summer respite and generally good soil moisture levels,” the report said.

Queensland's situation is more mixed, however, as the region missed out on most of the moisture during the rainy season despite rain last week, and although the forecast for the next three months is above average, the report sees it as a challenge for the cattle industry.

In general, NAB expects the La Nina effect to conclude soon meaning weather conditions should return to more neutral, and therefore drier, over the June-August period.

On top of that, the bank also warned of challenges ahead as input costs for some phosphates and urea have continued to rally in recent weeks.

As such, the NAB’s fertilizer index soared 39% higher month-on-month in February - to over $240/mt and making it the highest in the last ten years.