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El Nino weather could affect Australian agriculture industry

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A recent warming of the Pacific Ocean is leading to a 50% chance of an El Nino weather event developing this year.

Sea surface temperatures in the central to eastern tropical Pacific have been warming since April, and are set to reach El Nino levels, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

The last El Nino in Australia in 2015-16 cut agriculture production, and with conditions in some parts of northern New South Wales and parts of Queensland already in drought, this news could be the last thing farming communities want to hear.

NAB Agribusiness Economist Phin Ziebell tells Ross Greenwood weather bureaus have been warning of this for a while now, but “it’s certainly something to watch”.

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview 

GrainGrowers CEO Dr Michael Southan tells Ross there’s “not really” a lot farmers can do to avoid the effects of El Nino.

“We’ll have to see what happens, particularly in the springtime when we have a lot of the grain being set.

“You can get the odd rain event which will get the crop through potentially. However, it’s been very very dry and the ability to store some soil moisture has been quite limiting for growers, so there is a lot of concern.”

“There’s a significant cost to get the crop in the ground, many growers have to finance that operation and to see this expense having been put in the ground and nothing come of it is a real heartache.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview with Dr Southan