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What is the soil moisture status in your state?

27 June 2024

Key points:

  • NT has the highest soil moisture currently, sitting in the 65th percentile.
  • SA and western Victoria have the lowest levels of soil moisture. 
  • Soil moisture is the highest in northern Australia as opposed to southern Australia.

The Australian Water Outlook, which uses data from the Bureau of Meteorology, provides information on key landscape water balance components including:

  • soil moisture
  • runoff
  • evapotranspiration and precipitation over different timescales.

This data is based on historical water availability as well as short-term and seasonal forecasts and future hydrological projections.  

Australia is currently on a La Niña watch, where northern parts of WA, NT and NSW are experiencing above-average soil moisture (see Figure 1 below). Meanwhile, the majority of southern Australia is experiencing below-average soil moisture – western Victoria has recorded the lowest 1% of soil moisture.

Figure 1: Root zone soil moisture in Australia, June 2024. Source: BOM.

Read on for a state-by-state breakdown.


Victoria started the year with the strongest rainfall (99th percentile), resulting in more ewes being joined due to good weather conditions. However, soil moisture levels fell very quickly after February, with a slight recovery in April. Despite this, moisture levels remain in the bottom 10th percentile.


NSW soil moisture has remained strong throughout 2024, sitting in the average to above-average range. Soil moisture is currently in the 63rd percentile. There have been reports of green pasture particularly near Dubbo, which indicates a strong season ahead.


Soil moisture started the year in the 75th percentile, however, it eased to the 34th percentile, indicating drier soil conditions. These conditions are expected to allow for mustering and for weaning to begin.


NT rainfall has been consistent for most of 2024. During some points in early 2024, soil moisture was sitting in the 99th percentile. In June, however, the soil moisture dropped down to the 65th percentile.


SA soil moisture is following a similar pattern to western Victoria. In January there was strong soil moisture, sitting in the 96th percentile. Soil moisture has not returned to those levels since, now sitting at the 17th percentile. Producers had based decisions on the basis of the strong rainfall and subsequent good soil moisture earlier this year, however conditions have now flipped.


WA’s soil moisture is currently in the 53rd percentile. The graph does not tell the whole story, as the north is experiencing better soil moisture compared to south-west WA.