Confidence rise hinges on spring rainfall

Confidence rise hinges on spring rainfall

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SA's farmers have increased confidence about the season ahead but a lack of rainfall and recent frost damage to crops across the state remains at the forefront of concerns.

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SA's farmers have increased confidence about the season ahead but a lack of rainfall and recent frost damage to crops across the state, remains at the forefront of concerns.

Rabobank's most recent Rural Confidence Survey revealed confidence has continued to cautiously build in SA's farm sector but the outlook for the year remains heavily dependent on spring rainfall.

Rabobank's most recent Rural Confidence Survey has revealed that graingrowers hold the strongest income projections for their farm businesses in the next 12 months.

South-East farmers are more upbeat, in fact 87 per cent were, which has flowed into strong investment interest - in particular land investment.

The report also revealed that after parts of the state began this year's winter cropping season with the driest conditions in a century, rainfall that arrived in the past quarter had helped ease concerns.

The report found that 37 per cent of surveyed SA farmers were optimistic about the outlook for the agricultural economy in the coming year, up from 29pc with that view in the previous quarter.

The percentage of farmers expecting conditions to remain stable fell slightly from 43pc to 37pc, while the number expecting a deteriorating rural economy remained stable at 21pc.

Rabobank SA regional manager Roger Matthews said rain received across the state in June and early July had eased the uncertainty that many growers had been feeling after such a late break.

"For close to half the state, it would be fair to say that rain over the last quarter has been more in line with average rainfall, but even those areas are short of their yearly average, with subsoil moisture still lacking in many areas," he said.

"But the Mallee I would say is still sitting well below average and parts of the eastern Eyre Peninsula have had poor rainfall and inadequate subsoil moisture."

Mr Matthews also said the northern pastoral region that missed out on autumn rainfall, counted on an early spring break.

The improved season, along with commodity price potential, almost evenly contributed to the increase in SA farmer sentiment this survey, respectively cited by 57 pc and 53pc of farmers who had an optimistic view on the year ahead.

Of the farmers surveyed in the SE, 92pc intend to maintain or increase the current level of investment in their farm businesses.

This is the highest in the state and a more substantial appetite for investment than in the Yorke Peninsula, 86pc, and EP, 83pc.

Farmers in the South East also held the most expansionary intentions with 46pc of farmers interested in increasing investment intending to put more money into land.

"The SE continues to experience a golden run and it is perhaps also helped by the spread of commodities produced in the region," Mr Matthews said.

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