THERE has been a huge upswing in Victorian farmer confidence according to a survey released this week, but Burrumbeet mixed farmer Alan McCartney admitted more rain is needed in this part of the state to seal the deal.
The Rabobank survey, completed last month, found 48 per cent of the state’s farmers expect conditions to improve over the coming year compared with just 22 per cent with that view in the previous quarter.
An average of 1000 primary producers, across a wide range of commodities and areas across Australia, are interviewed each quarter.
Mr McCartney, a Victorian Farmers Federation member whose farm produces wool, lamb and beef, said farmers were far more optimistic than they had been, but he was still hedging his bets based on the season ahead.
“It’s a lot better than a couple months ago,” Mr McCartney said.
“Even with the turn of spring, its better days, warmer days. We’ve had some rain and now need some heat to grow some feed.
“I’ve got more feed than a month ago but not a lot. The hay shed is empty and I’ve bought in feed – pellets and hay – to get me this far.
“We’re still below average rain for the past eight
“I’m a little bit skeptical (about above average rain forecast for spring) but I hope they’re right.”
Mr McCartney said his property had had about 250 millimetres of rain so far this year. The average for the entire year is closer to 650 millimetres.
He said commodity prices were generally tracking in the right direction.
“Wool has dropped in price a little bit this week,” Mr McCartney said.
“Lamb is holding and cattle has come up a little bit.”
The survey was conducted before the change of federal government last weekend.
Mr McCartney said the election result, which saw the Coalition elected on Saturday night, could also be a cause for optimism among some farmers, although he said many were waiting to see what the new government would deliver.
“It should be better and the policies a bit more farmer friendly,” he said.
“I think government needs to cut some of the red tape for farmers. There are promises and they’ve said they’ll look at it, but wait and see.”
Mr McCartney is a third-generation farmer and has been managing his property of about 400 hectares for two decades.
He said the past year had been particularly difficult for many primary producers in the region.
“It was very tough earlier in the year, probably as tough as any time,” he said.
“In 1982, I wasn’t running the farm but it was tough back then.”