Good autumn rain in much of Australia has lifted confidence among farmers to a three-year high.
Good autumn rains have helped Australian farmers feel their most confident in three years.
Rain in key cropping regions and southern grazing areas along with an improved outlook for the beef, sheep, and grains markets has buoyed farmers, the latest quarterly Rabobank rural confidence survey shows.
Dairy farmers were the most upbeat about their prospects for the coming year, according to the survey, which was carried out in May.
Farmers are feeling positive about the longer term, too, with nearly two-thirds looking to pass on their business to the next generation through transfer of the farm to family or shared ownership.
Forty per cent of farmers expect conditions in the agricultural sector to improve, up from 29 per cent in the previous survey.
Just under half expect similar conditions to last year.
Good autumn rains boosted production prospects across Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, and central and southern NSW, Rabobank group executive for Country Banking Australia, Peter Knoblanche, said.
“The rains couldn’t have come at a better time, with much of the winter crop planted on an excellent sub-soil moisture profile,” he said on Monday.
“Graziers in many parts of Australia also have had more reason to smile, with the markets responding in March and April to the improved climatic conditions.”
However, three-quarters of Queensland remains hit by drought, and there had been little relief from dry conditions in north-west and western NSW.
The survey also found that Australian farmers had stronger income expectations and investment intentions.
Eighty-five per cent of farmers expected their own farm business performance to either improve or remain the same as last year.
Sentiment lifted across all states, with confidence reaching three-year highs in Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Queensland.
Victorian farmers were the most confident, while confidence was weakest in Queensland.
However, Queensland did lift to its highest level since mid-2011 on the back of rain in some parts of the state and some positive signals in the beef industry.
The Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey questions about 1000 primary producers across Australia every three months.