The confidence of farmers in NSW is split in their outlook for the next 12 months, a survey has revealed, with nine out of 10 blaming the drought for their pessimism.
The latest Rabobank Farmer Confidence survey was released on June 17 and reveals a majority are bracing themselves for a tough winter following from below average autumn rain.
Of those surveyed 31 per cent expect agricultural economic conditions to deteriorate (down from 41 per cent in the last quarter) and 29 per cent expect an improvement.
Just 26 per cent forecast for it to remain relatively unchanged.
Rabobank regional manager for Riverina Sally Bull said many of the state's farmers had now seen two failed autumns in a row and, while good rain in parts of the south and west of the state had provided some reprieve in recent weeks, it was far from drought-breaking.
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Locally 41.8 millimetres of rain fell at Wellington during the month of May and for the first 16 days of June just 9mm of rainfall was recorded, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
It was similar rainfall figures in May at Walgett when a total of 43.4mm fell, while just 2mm fell over the first 16 days in June.
During the month of May at Bourke, 31.6mm of rain was recorded, yet nothing has fallen so far in June.
The mixed start to the NSW cropping season saw overall confidence in the grains sector rise, with 45 per cent of grain growers expecting their prospects to improve (up from 37 per cent).
However, there were still 21 per cent expecting a similar outcome to last year and 26 per cent thought conditions would deteriorate.
Confidence remained relatively sound in the sheep sector, with 65 per cent expecting conditions in the agricultural economy to improve or remain similar to last year.
While in beef, sentiment was more subdued.
While the drought continues to hang over overall rural confidence levels, Ms Bull said the longer-term outlook among farmers remained sound, reflected in ongoing investment in the sector.
Ms Bull said in light of the season, sheep prices thankfully remained high, with strong demand for lambs, ewes and wethers in good condition.
"Cattle in good condition are also fetching reasonable returns," she said.
"But prices for lighter stock have come off. And while there is upside for cattle prices, it all hinges a decent break in the season to see restockers re-enter the market."