SINGAPORE: A weak El Nino weather pattern forecast to develop across Asia this year will have only slight impact on production of crops such as wheat, palm oil, rice and oilseeds, a meteorologist said on Tuesday.
"The forecast is for a weak El Nino, which means slightly below normal rainfall in Australia, Southeast Asia and India," said Kyle Tapley, an agricultural meteorologist with U.S.-based MDA Weather Services. "It will have small impact on production."
Australia is expected to receive normal rainfall in the period from April to May, followed by slightly drier weather between June and August, Tapley told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry conference in Singapore.
Australia is heading into next year's planting with near perfect growing conditions and farmers are expected to plant more canola, a senior official of top exporter CBH Group said earlier.
In top palm oil producers Indonesia and Malaysia, rainfall is likely to be slightly below normal from April until August, Tapley said.
This could affect yields of oil palm trees marginally, at a time when plantations are still recovering from a previous El Nino weather event in 2015 and early 2016.
It typically takes about eight months for the impact to show up in the yields of palm oil producing trees.
Tapley said weather models show a marginally weaker monsoon for India, which starts planting rice, soybeans and other crops by the middle of the year, when its four-month monsoon season kicks off.
"The early part of the monsoon season looks slightly below normal," he said. "It is too early to talk about the second half." - Reuters