VICTORIAN Farmers Federation president and Murra Warra farmer David Jochinke said Wimmera farmers were generally “optimistic” about this year’s outcome.
“The mood is one of optimism with the prices we’re seeing,” he said.
“However, there are huge concerns around production risk due to the dry start we had. No one wants to count their chickens before they hatch.”
His comments come after the latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey was released last week.
The survey revealed that the Victorian rural confidence index remained unchanged from the last quarter.
However, it is currently sitting at a lower level than what was seen in 2016 and 2017.
The survey found that Victorian grain and sheep producers were the the most positive about the year’s prospects.
This year’s dry seasonal conditions were still weighing on the state’s rural sentiment, with 75 per cent of farmers citing a negative weather outlook as reason for concern.
This was up from only eight per cent last quarter.
Mr Jochinke said it was important to be aware that things could change quickly.
”Anything can happened between now and harvest,” he said.
”People are being very cautiously optimistic at the moment.
”If at the end of the season we have a dry month, that would definitely drop us down a level to some of the other states.
“We could even see something similar to the likes of Queensland, but again, that all depends on the weather.”
The survey also found that the net rural confidence index for Victoria remained steady at minus two per cent.
Half of the state’s farmers were of the opinion that agricultural economic conditions would remain fairly similar to the past 12 months.
While the remainder were relatively evenly divided as to whether conditions were likely to improve, with 22 per cent thinking conditions would improve, and 24 per cent thinking conditions would deteriorate.
Rabobank Southern Victoria and Tasmania regional manager Hamish McAlpin said recent rains had fallen in the “nick of time” to put the winter crop back on track.
“After a very dry February, March and April, there was a fair bit of nervousness on the eve of this break,” he said.
“Expectations are for winter crop plantings to be in line with last year.
“But canola hectares have been wound back in the Wimmera and Mallee by an estimated 35 per cent and 45 per cent.
“This is due to the dry start to the season and the comparatively high price of cereals.”
Despite seasonal concerns, the survey found grain growers to be the most positive about the coming 12 months, with 29 per cent expecting agricultural economic conditions to improve and a further 49 per cent with a stable outlook.
Sheep producers also retained a relatively optimistic view on the year ahead, with 65 per cent expecting conditions to remain comparatively unchanged.
The next survey will be released in September.