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Above-Average Rain Seen In Australia

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Eastern Australia is expected to see wetter-than-average weather in the April to June period, the weather bureau said Mar. 22, indicating the region may see ideal wheat-planting conditions when seeding of the 2011-12 crop starts in April.

The chances of above-median rainfall from April through June are between 60 per cent and 75 per cent for the key grain regions of New South Wales, which last season harvested a record 10.6 million tonnes of wheat.

However, in Victoria, another key grain region, the chances of above-median rainfall ranged between 45 and 55 per cent while in Western Australia’s grain region, average rainfall was expected.

“Computer models surveyed by the (weather) bureau suggest the current La Nińa event will persist through the Southern Hemisphere autumn and return to neutral levels by the southern winter,” the bureau said in a statement.

A wetter-than-average autumn would raise the chance of Australia, the world’s third-largest wheat exporter, producing another bumper crop.

Australia is forecast to have produced a record 26.3-million- tonne wheat crop in the 2010-11 season but excessive rain during the harvest period is seen having lowered quality.

In the key sugar-growing regions of Queensland state, devastated by floods and a powerful cyclone in recent months, above-median rain is expected with the northern part of the state seen having a 55 to 65 per cent chance for above-median rainfall.

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