Results at a glance:
- Australian rural confidence bounces back to four-year high
- Commodity prices drive upswing in confidence – particularly in beef, sheep and grain
- Production prospects for winter crop also positive – but follow-up rain critical in light of El Nino forecasts
- Nearly 60 per cent of farmers report productivity growth in past five years
Beef, sheep and grain producers drove much of the upswing in confidence, buoyed by the price outlook and production prospects – particularly for the upcoming harvest.
While across all commodities, 57 per cent of farmers reported an increase in productivity levels over the past five years.
After moderating last quarter, farmer confidence levels bounced back above the highs seen at the beginning of the year, the latest survey – completed last month –has shown.
A total of 47 per cent of farmers said they expected conditions in the agricultural economy to improve over the coming 12 months. This was up from 38 per cent with that view in the previous quarter.
A further 37 per cent expected conditions to remain stable, while those with a pessimistic outlook stood at just 13 per cent.
Commodity prices were a big cause for optimism among beef, sheep, grain and cotton producers this quarter. Overall, 74 per cent of farmers surveyed who expected conditions to improve identified rising commodity prices as reason for their optimism – up from 63 per cent last survey.
Outside of regions continuing to be impacted by drought, seasonal conditions also remained a significant driver of positive outlook – nominated by 48 per cent of those expecting conditions to improve.
Other factors underpinning confidence were the state of overseas markets (cited by 21 per cent), 'improved marketing' (16 per cent) and the lower dollar (16 per cent).