27 Apr 2012

Farmer confidence drops significantly

6:32 am on 27 April 2012

Farmer optimism about the future has taken a significant knock.

The latest Rabobank confidence survey shows only 17% of farmers expect the agricultural economy to improve in the next year, down from 33% in the last survey.

Nearly a third of farmers now expect conditions to worsen.

Rabobank spokesperson David Clarke says there are two key reasons for the drop.

He says through February and March most farmers have seen a drop in product prices. As well as that they have had a very good season productively and most believe it's unlikely to continue on that basis.

Mr Clarke says the quarterly survey shows confidence is lowest among sheep and beef farmers.

However investment intentions, which is an indicator of long-term confidence in the sector, remain robust.

Mr Clarke says the best example of that is in the horticultural sector, where only 11% of growers expect to decrease their investment, compared with 40% in the last quarter.