Tuesday, 06 October 2020 09:25

Water regs wash away farmer confidence

Written by  David Anderson
Rabobank New Zealand chief executive Todd Charteris says farmers with a pessimistic outlook cited government policy as a key reason. Rabobank New Zealand chief executive Todd Charteris says farmers with a pessimistic outlook cited government policy as a key reason.

Government policies and the ongoing fallout from Covid-19 are being blamed for a continuing drop in farmer confidence.

According to the latest Rabobank Farmer Confidence Survey, New Zealand farmer confidence remains deep in negative territory, with significantly more farmers pessimistic than optimistic about the year ahead.

“After staging a strong recovery last quarter from historic lows recorded early in the year, New Zealand farmer confidence has reversed course again, sliding deeper into negative territory,” says Rabobank New Zealand chief executive Todd Charteris.

The quarterly survey – taken during September – found farmer confidence across NZ fell to -32% down from -26% previously. It also discovered that more farmers are now expecting the rural economy to deteriorate during the next 12 months. 

It points out that the chief contributor to the lower confidence reading was markedly lower sheep and beef farmer sentiment, negating higher confidence levels reported among both dairy farmers and horticulturalists. Rabobank says this negative sentiment is driven by lingering concerns over government policy and the on-going impacts of Covid-19. 

“More than half of all sheep and beef farmers with a pessimistic outlook cited government policy as a key reason for concern, with many likely to be worried about the potential for freshwater regulations announced in late May to negatively impact their operations,” Charteris added.

While sheep and beef farmers were more pessimistic, the survey found dairy farmers and horticulturalists more upbeat about the fortunes of the agricultural economy. Improving demand was the key reason for optimism among both dairy farmers and growers – cited by 45% of dairy farmers and 92% of horticulturalists who had a positive outlook on the year ahead.

However, while confidence in the broader economy lifted among dairy farmers and growers, Charteris said there were still more farmers in both those sectors adopting a pessimistic stance over an optimistic one. 

“As with their sheep and beef counterparts, pessimistic dairy farmers cited government policy and Covid-19 as the most two most pressing concerns for the ag economy, while horticulturalists identified overseas markets as their major source of apprehension.” 

More like this

Wine tour woes

Bookings for premium wine tours “vanished” when New Zealand’s borders closed, say operators struggling under Covid-19.

Vintage update

Wine companies, large and small, are grappling with the potential shortage of a reliable labour force for vintage 2021, with borders closed to international workers.

Covid-19 a big hit to small wineries

Losing boutique wineries to Covid-19 would be a blow for New Zealand’s wine industry, say the authors of a new report into challenges for small operators.

Digital juice

Covid-19, e-commerce and the risk of digital debt.

Open doors

As wineries enter the spring season, many opening cellar doors after a period of Covid-19 closure, the mood appears one of cautious optimism.

Featured

Back the sector that backs NZ

OPINION: The biggest issue currently facing our industry is environmental policy, writes Beef+Lamb NZ chief executive Sam McIvor.

 

National

Lamb price down, but not weak

While lamb prices are starting the new season at around 16% below last year’s levels, they are not outright weak,…

Quota split a major worry

New Zealand meat exporters want the EU and UK to get serious on reaching a deal on post-Brexit quotas.

NZ meat exports at risk

Nearly half of our country’s meat exports are at risk unless there is urgent action by government to allow migrant…

Machinery & Products

Claas cargo wagon

CLAAS has extended the versatility, productivity and user comfort of its CARGOS dual purpose transport wagons with the addition of…

These tractors are pumping

CLAAS has announced it will introduce a new automatic tyre inflation system across its AXION and ARION series of tractors.

Great hay cut at speed

Contractors and farmers on the lookout to mow and condition at higher speeds, while producing better quality hay and forage,…

Fendt enters NZ harvest market

Farm machinery brand Fendt has expanded into the harvester market in Australia and New Zealand, with is Ideal combine harvester.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

He's back!

OPINION: This old mutt understands that former Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings has landed himself a new gig back in his…

Utu?

OPINION: Your canine crusader understands that the farmer’s favourite politician – Environment Minister David Parker – not content with implementing…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter