The latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey has recorded a significant upswing in sentiment among farmers across all sectors.
The quarterly survey for early June found the number of farmers who expected the
rural economy to improve in the next year had climbed to 25 percent, up from 11 percent in the previous quarter.
And the number who expected the rural economy to worsen fell to 22 percent down from 53 percent, while 52 percent expected similar conditions - up from 34 percent.
Rabobank New Zealand's country banking general manager Hayley Moynihan said she was pleased to see farmer confidence shoot up from the near-decade lows recorded last quarter.
"Since the last survey was undertaken in early March, dairy price have increased in five out of the last seven Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auctions and Fonterra posted an opening forecast farm gate milk price for the 2016/17 season of $4.25."
She said while neither the auction prices nor the forecast price would have convinced farmers that the dairy sector was out of the woods, there were signs that demand for dairy products was rebalancing.
And the improved expectations for the overall rural economy were also reflected in farmers' expectations for their own businesses in the coming year, she said.
"Overall 34 percent expected the performance of their own farm business to improve over this period, 48 per cent expected it to remain the same and 16 per cent for it to worsen," Ms Moynihan said.