Down, not out

December 12, 2017

Small harvest likely . . . Winter crops in NSW are being forecast as the smallest in a decade.

NSW farmers are staring down the barrel of the smallest winter crop in a decade, but confidence in the state’s agriculture sector has nevertheless rebounded from a four-year low.

Recent rains came too late for crops across NSW, with a dry winter and frosts expected to see the national winter crop come in well below average at 7.3million tonnes, according to agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank.

The record dry weather took a back seat to the damage done in some areas by frosts in September and October, with reports some cereal and canola crops recorded 80 to 100 per cent losses.

Almost 50 per cent of NSW grain producers quizzed in Rabobank’s latest survey have a bleak outlook when it comes to cash flow, anticipating incomes will be down.

But despite these figures, confidence across the state’s farming sector as a whole has rebounded, with farmers optimistic about the future.

The pick-me-up in part has been driven by the recent rainfalls alongside strong prices in the lamb, wool and beef sectors, with the number of NSW farmers expecting agricultural conditions to improve in the coming year doubling to 28 per cent.

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