FAVOURABLE seasonal conditions and solid prices have given livestock producers certainty across the state, according to Rabobank’s Rural Confidence survey.
Rabobank SA regional manager Roger Matthews said prices continued to be a source of optimism for livestock producers.
He said although there was some anticipation of a price correction in the beef market at the start of the year, producers were 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 anticipating prices to stabilise at this higher price point for the next few months,” Mr Matthews said.
According to the survey, sheep producers were the most confident farmers in the state this quarter, while beef producers also showed considerable improvement in sentiment.
Reflecting on three good years of production, the investment plans among SA’s agricultural sector remained at high levels, with 92 per cent of farmers looking to increase or maintain their level of investment.
But the survey discovered some parts of SA were taking a cautious outlook on the year ahead following a less-than-stellar start to the 2017-18 cropping season.
Following an excellent rainfall and a bumper crop in 2016, the state’s grain producers were still looking towards the skies for additional sowing rain when Rabobank issued its survey.
Despite the lack of rain, Mr Matthews said the fall in confidence had not been huge.
“While cereal prices have been subdued for some time, the excellent seasons we’ve seen in the past few years have gone a long way to cushioning the impact,” he said.
But the Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a drier-than-average winter this year.
Mr Matthews said the outlook, combined with a dry start to the season, particularly in the Eyre Peninsula, had led to a less than optimistic view among graingrowers.
He said commodity prices continued to be the major worry.