Farmers expect business performance to improve despite worrisome agricultural economy

Jenna Hanson
Business and Technology Journalist

Jenna Hanson covers business news and technology for Smarter Business™

Jenna Hanson
Business and Technology Journalist

Jenna Hanson covers business news and technology for Smarter Business™

Australian farmers are less confident about the national agricultural economy but more confident about their own business performance, according to a recent report.

The latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey has found that weather and commodity prices are high on the list of concerns for farmers.

The quarterly survey monitors the outlook and sentiment in Australian rural industries, questioning an average of 1000 primary producers across a wide range of commodities and geographical areas throughout Australia.

farmer

Agricultural agitation

The survey found that 30 per cent of farmers were expecting the agricultural economy to improve in the coming year, down from 40 per cent with that view in the previous quarter, while those expecting conditions to deteriorate rose to 24 per cent, from 15 per cent. 

Peter Knoblanche, Rabobank group executive for Country Banking Australia, said the mood heading into winter had improved for parts of the country that had good rainfall, but not so much for the areas continuing to experience long periods of dry weather.

Circumstancial concerns

“For many farmers though, there’s a strong degree of confidence about what’s happening inside the farm gate. The general easing in farmer sentiment can be attributed more to increased concerns about external factors, including a weakening in some commodity prices as well as global oversupply issues in the dairy and grains sectors,” he said.

For 51 per cent of farmers with a negative outlook for the 12 months ahead, falling commodity prices were listed as the main reason for concern, compared with 42 per cent in the last survey. Seasonal conditions were also a significant worry, though mainly among farmers in Queensland and New South Wales.

Not all farmers were concerned about commodity prices, with rising prices chosen by 49 per cent of those who expected improved conditions in the year ahead. Good seasonal conditions were the top reason for confidence, nominated by 51 per cent. 

Business Competence

Despite a decline in confidence in the outlook for the agricultural economy, Australian farmers remained upbeat about their own on-farm prospects. This quarter, 33 per cent of the nation’s farmers expected their own farm business performance to improve, while 37 per cent expected performance to remain the same as last year. 

Dairy farmers remain the most optimistic sector when it comes to prospects within their own farm business, with 44 per cent expecting improvement in the year ahead, and just 18 per cent expecting worsening performance.

The next results are scheduled for release in December 2014.

Should farmers be concerned?

While falling commodity prices and seasonal conditions are causing concern among many farmers, not all farmers are concerned - 49 per cent expect improved conditions ahead.

New report reveals small businesses lagging behind customers in tech
Trends
New report reveals small businesses lagging behind customers in tech

According to the 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report, customers increasingly use technology to find products and research businesses. Yet many small businesses are ...

5 simple ways to earn your customers' loyalty online
Tech Solutions
Tech Solutions
5 simple ways to earn your customers' loyalty online

Do you know what experience your customers want online to keep them loyal? Keep them coming back with these 5 simple, effective strategies. Today’s customers have a lot of choi...

Woman swiping card
Customer Experience
Customer Experience
5 easy secrets to customer loyalty

When small businesses want to boost customer loyalty, they often focus on dis-counts and special offers. However, there are many more ways you can make customers feel all that ...

Man sitting down using tablet
Customer Experience
Customer Experience
Tech: the new customer charmer

While many businesses look at technology as a way to make them more productive, others see it as an opportunity to delight customers. Adding a little tech to your business coul...