If the heavy rain in many parts of Australia over February-March has not broken the drought in all areas, it has definitely improved the agricultural outlook in many areas.
The drought meant that only one-third of Australia's usual summer crops were planted this year. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) predicts the total summer crop production to fall by 66% to just 878,000 tonnes, which would be the first time in more than a decade it had been lower than 2.5 million tonnes.
But the situation looks a lot better for the winter crops (and for those who gambled on planting a late summer crop). The recent rain across much of Australia’s cropping and pastoral country is likely to see some drought-hit farmers planting winter crops for the first time in two or more years in areas of North-west NSW and southern Queensland. In general, the industry feels that Eastern Australia has not seen the prospect of such a good start to the cropping season for at least three years. Inflows into the Murray-Darling Basin from the big rains to the north have restored natural flows to parts of the basin that have not seen them since 2016.