Believe it or not farmer confidence is improving …from a very low base. After dropping to an historic low in late 2022, the latest survey — completed late last month and after the February weather events — found farmer confidence was 13% better than the previous quarter but still at -58%, from -71% previously. However confidence remains deep in negative territory overall with only one in 20 farmers holding an optimistic view on the prospects for the ag economy in the year ahead. The latest survey found the number of farmers expecting conditions to improve have risen to 5% from 4% in the previous quarter while those expecting conditions to worsen improved to 63% – from 75%. Rabobank New Zealand CEO Todd Charteris says the uptick in confidence came despite incredibly challenging climatic conditions for many of New Zealand’s primary producers during the early part of 2023. Growers continue to be the most optimistic about their own business performance with Sheep and beef farmers next and dairy farmers now the least confident.
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