NORTHERN cyclones pummelled coastal residents in the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Western Australian Pilbara in the past week.
NSW farmers are hoping the wild northern weather is the catalyst for a major rainfall system, dragging much needed rain from the northern tropics into the drought-stricken south.
Shower activity has intensified across most of the NSW cropping regions in recent days with falls ranging from a few millimetres to 30mm in some parts. Rain has been patchy, but many farmers are reporting they have had enough to at least settle the dust.
The Central West has recorded some of the best rain with Nyngan, Trangie, Dubbo, Lake Cargelligo, Parkes, Forbes and Manildra receiving 10mm to 15mm, with an isolated 25mm in some parts.
The showers also extended into the Riverina with Hillston receiving 15mm.
Oats are expected to be planted on the rain, but farmers will be looking for more moisture to proceed with other crops such as canola and wheat.
Totals were lighter and patchier in the north ranging from 3mm to 5mm in the north west to 17mm at Quirindi.
More rain is expected through the week, but falls are now expected to be well short of what farmers are hoping for. Computer models indicate that the north west and central west may see 10mm to 20mm of rain through the week.
Australia's Bureau of Meteorology has moved its ENSO outlook from El Nino WATCH to ALERT. The Bureau said there is now a 70pc chance of an El Nino developing in the coming months, around triple the normal likelihood.
It's too late for rain to benefit sorghum crops in northern NSW crops but its critical for the upcoming winter crop planting.
Expectations of the NSW sorghum crop continue to decline amid the absence of rain in February and March. ABARES is forecasting the state's sorghum crop at 375,000 tonnes but this is now seen as optimistic.
The price outlook for barley remains unclear as China's antidumping investigation into Australia's barley imports continues.
Last week several grain industry bodies, including Grain Producers Australia, GrainGrowers and Grain Trade Australia issued a joint statement advising growers that the outlook for barley prices remained uncertain.
The statement said the industry was confident that Australian barley has not been dumped into China but said the outcomes of the investigation were still unknown.
They said the World Trade Organisation provisions under the antidumping investigation arrangements provides a range of avenues for China to imposed punitive measures against Australian barley that would adversely impact prices.
The fact that Australian barley prices tumbled by more than 12pc in a few days of the antidumping announcement indicates strong Chinese demand has been supporting Australian barley prices, rather than a location to dump barley exports.
China has moved to stamp its authority of grain and oilseed imports, by slowing or stopping imports when political views may diverge.
Most recently, China has stopped Canadian canola imports as tensions between Beijing and Ottawa fester after the arrest of a top executive of tech giant Huawei in early December.