If rain and cooler temperatures are what you enjoy, NSW and Victoria were not the places to be in 2017, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Annual Climate Statement.
Last year was the warmest on record for NSW, while 2017 was Victoria’s sixth-warmest year on record, with the state’s mean temperature 0.89°C above average.
Rainfall in Victoria during 2017 was six per cent below the overall average, and it was the driest year for NSW since 2006 with statewide rainfall coming in at 18 per cent below average.
In contrast to these figures, overall Australia received slightly above average rainfalls. However, like NSW and Victoria it was also warm, with Australia recording its third-warmest year since records have been kept.
WB Hunter field services manager Graeme Talarico said the heavy falls that the Goulburn Valley recorded in December resulted in diminished grain quality.
‘‘Obviously we had rain late last year that flooded crops, which dropped the quality of grain that wasn’t (yet) harvested,’’ he said.
‘‘That’s the downside to rain coming so late. It lifted disease and mould threats. It was not a good time to get so much rain.’’
Mr Talarico said despite the rain, yields of horticulture crops were looking good.
‘‘Yields look pretty strong for apples, and pear yields look strong. Wine grapes outputs are strong as well, while tomatoes had some pressure but are doing quite well,’’ he said.
Rabobank senior analyst Michael Harvey said for northern Victoria and the southern Riverina, 2017 was a mixed season.
‘‘In reality, it was quite mixed. Dairy farmers would have been reasonably pleased at the start of the season with early rain.
‘‘The wheat crop for the country was damaged but as I understand it northern Victoria was shielded from some of the impact.’’
Mr Harvey said 2018 was, at this stage, looking to be a positive year for agriculture.
‘‘It certainly looks a good year for dairy. If we get a normal winter and the autumn break, it will go a long way to setting up the season,’’ he said.
Farmers for Climate Action chief executive Verity Morgan-Schmidt said the BoM statistics were damning.
‘‘Since Federation the country has warmed by 1.1°C,’’ Ms Morgan-Schmidt said.
‘‘Australian farmers must do more and more to adapt, but there’s only so much you can do about extreme weather like heatwaves and floods, and only so much you can prepare for.’’