Investment intentions of Victorian farmers have strengthened considerably over the past 12 months, according to new research from Commonwealth Bank.
The research, part of Commonwealth Bank’s biannual Agri Insights survey, shows investment intentions have rebounded strongly across a number of measures including technology, off-farm investment and staffing.
The results come as the Victorian Agri Insights Index reaches 11.9 points, the highest result for the state to date.
Commonwealth Bank’s Victorian regional and agribusiness banking general manager Darryl Mohr said the strengthened intentions reflected improved conditions across the state.
‘‘Poor climatic outcomes, including two droughts, and then a collapse in farm gate milk prices meant boosting investment was just not an option for many farmers over the past few years, but now with a record harvest and good water availability, we’re starting to see the focus shift to upgrading technology and bringing new staff on board,’’ Mr Mohr said.
Across the commodity sectors, the survey shows beef, lamb and wool sector intentions remain strong and dairy intentions have improved considerably.
Nationally, 18 per cent of wool and lamb producers say they will expand production while a record 15 per cent of beef producers nationally intend to expand production.
Dairy intentions have rebounded strongly, with 12 per cent of dairy farmers saying they’ll expand their enterprise, compared with just one per cent six months ago.
Horticulture also looks positive with 10 per cent of producers planning to increase production, but an overall nine per cent of winter grain producers have signalled an intent to reduce their enterprise.
‘‘While these strong results are offset by intentions in the grains sector, with summer and winter grain producers forecasting an overall lower level of production, the picture for Victoria overall is looking very positive,’’ Mr Mohr said.
Agri Insights found 31 per cent of Victorian farmers plan to increase investment in technology in the coming year, up a remarkable 20 percentage points from six months ago and 14 per cent from a year ago.
This result ranks Victoria alongside South Australia as home to the highest proportion of farmers intending to boost tech investment.