Across Australia, rainfall recordings were slightly above the long term (1961-1990) average. However, the distribution of rainfall totals favour northern Australia, while much of the east coast of NSW, Victoria, eastern Tasmania and southwest Western Australia recorded below average rainfall. The impact of these events, combined with above average temperatures have strongly influenced the national pasture biomass.
For the week ending 18 August 2023, the levels of Total Standing Dry Matter across the country show high levels of biomass in the northern regions of the Northern Territory, Gulf and Cape regions of Queensland and reasonable levels north of Rockhampton. The impact of drier and warmer conditions across the Pilbara and Gascoyne of Western Australia is noticeable with significant areas of low or limited pasture biomass.
Seasonally these conditions are reflected in the seasonal ranking of Total Standing Dry Matter. The Hunter, Northern Tablelands, North West Slopes and Far West of NSW are either in or below the 50% range of seasonal average. Gippsland and north east Tasmania are also below average for seasonal levels of Total Standing Dry Matter.
Pasture Biomass Growth events (as indicated by Fractional Cover) highlight early growth events in southern NSW, Victoria and southwest Western Australia, reflecting crop and early pasture growth in response to warmer conditions. Northern NSW, the downs and central Qld are yet to see significant growth events, as is much of inland Australia.
Within Total Standing Dry Matter levels, the proportion of green biomass is relatively limited, particularly in northern NSW, across Queensland and northern Australia. The exception in northern Australia is the impact of recent floodwaters moving through inland river systems which continue to provide moisture for pasture growth.
While growth is indicated through Fractional Cover imagery the greater component of the pasture biomass for the majority of southern & inland Australia continues to comprise dead (or non-actively growing) plant matter. The high levels of dead material in northern Qld and across the Barkly region of the NT and down through Queensland reflect earlier growing conditions and offer a reasonable feed bank of material for grazing with the use of appropriate supplements