Rabobank Farmer Confidence Survey is low due to the drought

Photo: Neville Owen.
Photo: Neville Owen.

The ongoing dry conditions has resulted in farmers confidence across NSW to remain at subdued levels, according to a recent survey.

The first quarterly Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey for 2019 has shown 41 per cent of farmers expect conditions to deteriorate over the coming 12 months, down from 46 per cent in the previous quarter.

The latest survey was completed in February 2019 and found a whopping 92 per cent of farmers had a negative outlook, citing the dry weather as their main concern.

A majority of NSW cotton growers expect conditions to worsen and blame the drought for their outlook.

It is a similar outlook in the NSW sheep and beef sectors and although confidence remains steady, more graziers expect conditions to worsen than to improve.

Rabobank regional manager for central west NSW Toby Mendl said the 12 month outlook hinges on an autumn break with farmers looking to see what April and May bring.

"After two very dry years this autumn break is critical," he said.

"With liquidity reserves starting to run down, management decisions are becoming more difficult to make, particularly at the moment when the seasonal outlook us still uncertain.

However, good autumn rainfall would significantly change farmers outlook, Mr Mendl said.

"That said, it will take time to recover from prolonged drought, particularly in terms of stock numbers," he said.

Despite the dry wreaking havoc across most parts of the state, Mr Mendl said some farmers in central and southern parts of NSW had “jagged a summer storm” although it hadn’t been enough to turn around the season.

"Summer storm activity has allowed some graziers to halt their feeding programs for a few weeks," he said.

“This has given some welcome short-term relief from the daily grind and the high feed prices, which are likely to stay elevated until the new crop becomes available later in the year.”

According to the survey grain was the only commodity sector to report an upswing in confidence, with 37 per cent of the state’s grain growers expecting conditions to improve in 2019.

“This reflects there is still time for the moisture profile to fill for this season’s crop as well as, the hope that this year’s winter crop will be well up on last year’s,” Mr Mendl said.

“There has been no real summer crop to speak of, and certainly not enough to alleviate the low grain stock situation.”