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Season Outlook – Mixed Bag Across the Regions

After enjoying excellent rainfall and a bumper crop in 2016, there have been mixed results for the farming season outlook across the regions.

Rabobank’s latest Rural Confidence Survey has found Victorian farmers have enjoyed a stellar start to the season, while South Australian farmers have seen patchy planting conditions.

David from the Warracknabeal Herald spoke to Flow FM for the Victorian outlook.

Over in SA, Rabobank are reporting variable rainfall in the lead up to planting has impacted the confidence of cereal producers in particular.

Rabobank regional manager for South Australia Roger Matthews said the dry autumn conditions had been a key factor in the altered sentiment.

“The fall in confidence hasn’t been huge and we are also coming off a very successful few seasons across the state,” he said.

“While cereal prices have been subdued for some time now, the excellent seasons we’ve seen over the past few years have gone a long way to cushioning the impact of that.

“However, the Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a drier-than-average winter this year and that outlook – combined with a dry start to the season particularly in the Eyre Peninsula – has led to a less optimistic view among grain growers.”

In the livestock sector, strong prices continue to keep confidence afloat, with sheep producers the most confident farmers in the state this quarter.

Beef producers also showed considerable improvement in sentiment.

Mr Matthews said although there had been some anticipation of a price correction in the beef market at the start of the year, producers were now counting on stronger prices throughout winter.

“While we did see prices pull back a little at the start of the year, there was a rally in March and Rabobank is now anticipating prices to stabilise at this higher price point for the next few months,” he said.

“For sheep producers, the global demand for sheep meat and wool continues to put pressure on supply and our analysts are again anticipating these price levels to maintain at least until August.”

Reflecting 3 good years of production, the investment plans among the South Australia’s agricultural sector remained at high levels, with 92% of farmers looking to increase or maintain their level of investment.

The Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey has been conducted since 2000 by an independent research organisation, with the next results scheduled for release in September 2017.