WA farmers remain confident on season ahead: survey

Zach RelphCountryman
Farmers are maintaining a positive confidence following last year’s bumper grain harvest in WA.
Camera IconFarmers are maintaining a positive confidence following last year’s bumper grain harvest in WA. Credit: Justine Rowe

WA farmers are still boasting an upbeat outlook on the back of a bumper harvest and firming sheep prices despite lowering expectations for the year ahead, a rural confidence survey has revealed.

Rabobank’s latest Rural Confidence Survey, released this morning, reported the State’s primary producers continue to be the nation’s most confident.

However, while confidence in WA’s agricultural economy remains high, the study found farmers have lowered their expectations for 2019 from the bullish confidence shown late last year.

Fifty-seven per cent of producers surveyed are anticipating similar conditions and returns to last year, while 18 per cent indicated they were expecting the agricultural economy to worsen.

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Rabobank regional manager for WA Crawford Taylor said grain growers, who delivered a more than $6 billion crop last year, were in strong positions.

“For grain farmers, particularly in the northern agricultural zone, 2018 will be one of the most profitable years they have had,” he said.

“Not only did they achieve above-average yields, but prices were exceptional.

“For those producers banking the proceeds, farm positions will have strengthened further with an increase in equity.

“We’re already seeing that improved equity position stimulate further investment both within the farm boundaries and prices above what we’ve seen previously for land acquisition.”

Confidence levels among the State’s sheep producers are rising, with 41 per cent of sheep graziers having an optimistic view about this year.

It marked a 2 per cent rise from last quarter.

In WA’s beef sector confidence has eased the report found, with 35 per cent of surveyed cattle producers anticipating deteriorating conditions.

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