Farmer confidence varies widely

By Country News

While many farmers are struggling with the dry conditions, the last three months of 2018 saw positives in many sectors across the agricultural industry.

That is according to NAB’s new agribusiness performance measure, the NAB Agribusiness Banker Survey.

According to the survey, conditions in the last quarter of 2018 were strongest in net terms for wool, lamb and mutton farmers, orchardists and winemakers, while conditions were weakest for broadacre cropping, dairy cattle, pig and cotton farmers.

NAB’s Agribusiness Conditions Index is based on banker assessments of trading (i.e. sales/turnover) conditions, employment and profitability and found national agribusiness conditions were negative 19 in the time frame, indicating that on balance the number of bankers who said conditions were weaker, outweighed the number of bankers who said it was stronger.

NSW had the weakest conditions for agribusiness (negative 53), while Victoria had a positive outcome (17), ‘‘although this masked considerable divergence in conditions across different agriculture types in the state’’, the report said.

Confidence levels in agriculture varied widely across the country, with seasonal conditions positioning Western Australia as the clear standout performer.

WA recorded a positive 78 result, based on bankers’ perceptions of conditions facing their agribusiness customers in three months’ time.

Victorian bankers suggested no change to farmer confidence would be seen and NSW bankers believed confidence would drop (negative 17).

When NAB bankers were asked to identify what was having the biggest influence on confidence, about one in five (19 per cent) cited weather-related events as the top issue.