22 November 2023
Good rainfall and soaring livestock prices have doubled Victorian farmers’ confidence in the agriculture economy since last quarter. According to the Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey released on Monday, 41% of responding Victorian farmers expect the farming sector to improve over the next 12 months. This has come at a good time too, with demand for agricultural products expected to grow with recent changed market conditions.
Good rainfall and soaring livestock prices have doubled Victorian farmers’ confidence in the agriculture economy since last quarter.
According to the Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey released on Monday, 41% of responding Victorian farmers expect the farming sector to improve over the next 12 months. This has come at a good time too, with demand for agricultural products expected to grow with recent changed market conditions.
75% of the responding farmers cited steady summer rainfall as the driver of their renewed confidence. Although most of the rain fell over the Mallee and the Wimmera, this improvement in seasonal conditions has also given new hope to drought-stricken and fire-affected farmers in the High Country and Gippsland.
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Compared to last quarter, the sheep, grain, beef, and dairy subsectors in Victoria have increased confidence that their businesses will improve in 2020. 29% of sheep graziers are confident they’ll see better business this year, up 9% from last quarter.
37% of the surveyed farmers expect the improved weather conditions and high commodity prices to bring in more money this year. Last quarter, that figure was at 30%.
Sheep producers are currently attracting the strongest prices on record. The spread of African Swine Fever through Asia’s meat industry has driven demand for Australian and US-grown protein. In comparison to the American dollar, the lower value of the Australian currency means the Asian market can import Australian meat at a more attractive price than the US equivalent.
“Sheep producer sentiment is very high with the year kicking off with exceptional prices for lamb and a record-breaking mutton market,” said Hamish McAlpin, Rabobank’s Regional Manager for Southern Victoria. “Sheep producers are in a very strong position and confident about the year ahead providing the season sticks with them.”
Although there will need to be more rain yet, McAlpin said that drought-stricken farmers feel positive that things look like they’re finally going their way.
Although Fiona Simson, President of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) said coronavirus could be another potential supply chain and export hindrance to Victorian farmers, she remains optimistic.
“We have some concerns and some unknowns in the virus space, but it’s balanced by the positivity about producing something for which there’s a high demand and high need,” Simson said.
“We know in previous economic shocks, like the global financial crisis, for example, agriculture still remains strong and we expect that to continue. There’s a growing global population, people need to eat, clothe themselves” she said.
While a lot of ambiguity may remain about the Coronavirus, it is not unfair to say that people’s priorities have shifted to more basic priorities. It certainly shapes as an interesting year for the agricultural sector in Australia.
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