* End of La Nina to favour Asian crops
* Conditions neutral between La Nina, El Nino
* Possibly drier Australian winter, spring
(Adds detail, quotes, background)
By Michael Perry
SYDNEY, May 25 The devastating 2010-11 La Nina
weather event has ended, said Australia's weather bureau, after
bringing record flooding to the country, disrupting major coal
exports and destroying thousands of homes, and damaging crops in
"The 2010-11 La Nina event has ended, with climate
indicators of the El Nino, the Southern Oscillation, having
returned to average levels," the Bureau of Meteorology said on
"Climate models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology
suggest that the Pacific Ocean will continue to warm over the
coming months, with neutral conditions likely to persist through
the Austral winter, that is, neither La Nina nor El Nino."
The 2010-11 La Nina was one of the strongest on record,
resulting in flooding in eastern Australia. It disrupted coal
exports and was blamed for heavy rains which hampered crop and
mine operations in Indonesia. [ID:nL3E7CB1WK] [ID:nL3E7G90GU]
News of the end to La Nina will be welcomed in India, which
has forecast the June-September monsoon to end on schedule,
strengthening the prospects of a plentiful farm output in 2011.
The monsoon irrigates some 40 percent of farms in India, the
world's second-biggest producer of rice, wheat, sugar and
cotton, and is crucial for the livelihoods of many of the
two-thirds of India's 1.2 billion people who live in rural
Agriculture contributes around 14.6 percent to the
trillion-dollar economy and rains can also impact inflation in
the country, one of the world's biggest consumers of farm
The end of the western Pacific rain event will also be
welcomed by Southeast Asian rice producers and governments, as
it will ease inflation fears over escalating prices of the food
Asia is forecast to record 3 percent growth to 434 million
tonnes of rice in 2011, says the United Nations Food and
"Peaking between late 2010 and early 2011, this La Nina
event was one of the strongest observed, in a record dating from
the late 1800s," said the weather bureau.
The bureau said that while conditions were currently
neutral, there were indications of less rainfall over southeast
Australia during the southern hemisphere winter and spring.
Australia is one of the world's top wheat exporting nations
and has had a good start to its 2011/12 winter crop season, as
grain growers accelerate planting, helped by timely rains.
La Nina events bring increased rains to the western Pacific
and drier conditions to the eastern, while El Nino conditions
are reverse, often bringing drought conditions to Australia.
(Reporting by Michael Perry; Editing by Gyles Beckford)