You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Fewer farmers feel pessimistic: Rabobank

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/03/2017 Rebecca Howard

Net confidence edged up in the latest Rabobank confidence survey of New Zealand farmers, with growing optimism in the horticulture, beef and sheep sectors.

The first quarterly survey of the year showed that net farmer confidence rose to 27 per cent versus 25 per cent in the December survey.

While the survey found the number of New Zealand farmers expecting the rural economy to improve in the year ahead fell to 34 per cent versus 39 per cent in the prior survey, those expecting conditions to worsen fell to 7 per cent from 14 per cent.

Hayley Moynihan, Rabobank New Zealand general manager for country banking, said it was the lowest reading for a pessimistic outlook on the agricultural economy since December 2013.

"Not surprisingly, the proportion of farmers with a pessimistic view on the outlook for the rural economy had been significantly higher over the past three years, reflecting the tough ride we've had with some commodity prices over that time, most notably dairy," she said.

"There are certainly fewer farmers who are taking a pessimistic view of the coming year," she added.

The latest survey also showed the number of farmers expecting the agricultural economy to remain stable over the next 12 months had climbed to 55 per cent of those surveyed, up from 42 per cent previously.

Ms Moynihan said horticulture producers and sheep and beef farmers had shown signs of increasing optimism.

The overall net confidence reading in the horticulture sector climbed 39 per cent from 26 per cent, while among the sheep and beef sector, confidence moved out of negative territory, lifting to 9 per cent from minus 5 per cent.

Dairy sector confidence, on the other hand, declined - from a net reading of 52 per cent in the previous survey to 41 per cent.

The survey sees approximately 450 farmers interviewed by an independent research agency. It has been conducted since 2003.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon