Australian Wheat Plantings Delayed By Dryness

It's becoming an all too familiar story down under, with lack of rainfall causing delays to planting this season's winter wheat crop across much of the country.

Western Australia state, which typically produces around 40-45% of the nation's total wheat output, has seen virtually no rain so far this month.

The warm, dry weather threatens to break records in Perth, where not a drop of rain has fallen for 18 days and temperatures are sitting 4.4C above the average 22.3C.

If forecasters are right and it doesn't rain this week, the capital will break the 21-day record on Friday for no rain, marking the driest start to May on record.

In fact the whole of southern Australia saw virtually no rain last week, the culprit is a very large and strong high pressure system that has lingered in the bight for nearly a week, says an Elders. The high will finally weaken early next week allowing cold fronts to bring showers and cooler weather to coastal areas of southeastern Australia by about Wednesday. Unfortunately, there remains no suggestion of any inland rainfall of note on the horizon, they warn.

It's a worrying start for farmers who have seen their wheat crops slashed by drought in two of the last three seasons.

One said that his farm, where he grows canola, wheat, barley and lupins, was "dry as chips". Adding that there had been no rain for months on his paddocks in Kunjin, 217km southeast of Perth.

"Without significant rain in the next few weeks we will have to look at changing our seeding program for the rest of the year," he said.