Dry weather in some states dampens farmer confidence

Liv Casben |

Confidence among Australian farmers has dipped after surging earlier in the year, new research reveals.

The Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey found sentiment among producers has turned around after a dry autumn for some parts of the country including Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia.

The quarterly survey of 1000 producers found confidence was down in all states and sectors except cotton.

The survey, completed in May, found the number of Australian growers expecting the agricultural economy to improve in the coming year had declined to 15 per cent from 31 per cent the previous quarter.

The impact of economic pressures on farm business “bottom lines” was also found to be of increasing concern, with some farmers worried about softer commodity prices and higher input costs.

The downturn comes after a rebound in farmer confidence in the first quarter of 2024, driven by better-than-expected summer rainfall and a strong commodity market.

Rabobank’s Marcel van Doremaele said this quarter’s survey results reflected the “patchy” seasonal conditions across different parts of Australia during autumn.

Producers in the west and south of the country had struggled through a dry autumn that reduced the amount of winter crops planted, although conditions had been better in Queensland and parts of NSW. 

“There has been rainfall in many agricultural regions, setting up the planting conditions for the winter cropping season,” Mr van Doremaele said. 

“And although confidence has come down from the high levels we’d seen at the beginning of the year, overall conditions in the agricultural sector are still good.”