5 Dec 2014

Farm confidence picking up: survey

3:26 pm on 5 December 2014

Sheep and beef farmers are feeling a lot more chipper, and that has nudged up farmer confidence levels in the latest survey.

Rabobank's quarterly Rural Confidence Survey shows that while the level of optimism overall remains low, a strong spike in optimism in the sheep and beef sector has seen it edge up from the two-year lows recorded in the previous survey.

Dairy farmers, not surprisingly, are the most pessimistic as world dairy prices and milk payouts continue to slide.

Rabobank New Zealand chief executive Ben Russell said with three-quarters of sheep and beef farmers in the latest survey are expecting an improvement in the performance of their own farm businesses in the coming 12 months. That is up from 48 percent in the last quarter.

Driving that optimism are record prices in the main export beef market, the United States, as well as higher lamb prices.

By comparison, 52 percent of dairy farmers expected the performance of their own farming business to worsen in the next year.

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