Dry conditions to curb Australia's wheat crop for 3rd yr -weather forecaster
* Australia east coast to remain dry for 3 to 6 mths
* Sees dry weather in parts of Malaysia, Indonesia for 2-3
* Normal forecast for Indian monsoon rains, northern
By Naveen Thukral
SINGAPORE, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Dry conditions for up to six
months in parts of Australia's east coast are set to curb wheat
crop yields for a third straight year in the world's No.4
exporter of the grain, a private U.S.-based weather forecaster
said on Wednesday.
Australia has been grappling with successive years of
drought that have wilted crops and left some farmers struggling
to stay in business.
Declines in Australian wheat production in the 2019/20 crop
year could buoy global prices that on Wednesday struck their
lowest in 10 months.
"Over the next three to six months we expect
drier-than-normal weather in parts of (the states of) Queensland
and New South Wales," said Kyle Tapley, senior agricultural
meteorologist at Radiant Solutions, formerly MDA Earthsat.
"This is an area of concern as it is already dry," Tapley
told Reuters on the sidelines of a grains conference in
Australia's wheat production fell to an 11-year low during
the 2018/19 season, according to the country's chief commodity
Output totalled 17.3 million tonnes, down from 21.24 million
tonnes a year earlier, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and
Resource Economics and Sciences said in its final tally for the
Australian farmers will begin sowing wheat for the 2019/20
season in April.
Top palm oil producers Indonesia and Malaysia are forecast
to remain drier-than-normal over the next two to three months,
"For Malaysia and northern parts of Indonesia, we expect
drier weather which could impact palm oil output towards the
later part of the year as there is a lag," he said.
India's June-September monsoon season is forecast to be
normal this year, Tapley said.
The four-month monsoon season delivers about 70 percent of
India's annual rainfall and is key to the success of the farm
sector in Asia's third-biggest economy.
Meanwhile, Tapley expected weather across much of the
northern hemisphere to be normal over the summer.
El Nino weather conditions associated with droughts and
flooding have a 50-60 percent probability of developing by May
this year, the U.N. World Meteorological Organization said on
Tuesday, but any El Nino was not expected to be strong.
The last El Nino, a warming of ocean surface temperatures in
the eastern and central Pacific every few years, occurred from
around 2015 to 2016.
(Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Joseph Radford)
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