Rainfall lifts region amid national harvest downgrade

October rain has helped put the winter cropping season back on course across the Riverina and Northern Victoria but analysts tip the national harvest to be the smallest since 2006-07.

A rain band passing over NSW and Victoria on Thursday saw 10.4mm fall in Albury, keeping it on track for an average October.

Yarrawonga recorded 42mm, with most of that falling in the two hours from 4pm Thursday. Elsewhere, Wangaratta and Bright had 13mm and 17mm was recorded at Rutherglen.

The Bureau of Meteorology said mid-spring rainfall had been lacking in many parts of NSW but forecasts above average rain for the remainder of the year.

Some central and southern regions of NSW received less than 20 per cent of their average October totals so far this month.

Despite pockets of localised storm dumps, Deniliquin had recorded only 8.2mm of rain so far this month, which was less than one fifth of its long-term October average. 

This follows on from the town's equal second driest start to spring in 45 years, with a meagre 4.8mm recorded in the gauge during September.

In its Crop Annual Review, Rural Bank expected this year’s Australian production to be about 30 per cent lower than last season’s record levels, and to dip 10 per cent below the five-year average.

“Favourable weather conditions over the next two months will be essential if production levels close to average are to be delivered,” Rural Bank’s agribusiness general manager Andrew Smith said.

The report also believed that despite lower crop production in Australia, high ending stocks overseas mean that the likelihood of a large rise in prices in the short to medium term was unlikely.

National Australia Bank agribusiness economist Phin Ziebell said varied weather would continue to cast a shadow over production.

“To put it bluntly, the weather has been wildly varied this year,” Mr Ziebell said.

“One of the biggest drops in wheat production will come from NSW, which has suffered from very low rainfall, frosts and heatwaves in the space of a single season.”

The NAB expected the wheat harvest would deliver 18.7 million tonnes, the the smallest harvest in a decade, and down almost 47 per cent on last year’s record crop.