[5 July/NBR]

According to a Rabobank survey, the impacts of Mycoplasma bovis were the main reason for a 100 percent rise in the number of farmers who expected the rural economy to worsen. Rabobank New Zealand General Manager for Country Banking, Hayley Gourley, said confidence was hanging in the balance with the number of farmers who expected conditions to improve almost in line with those who expected conditions to worsen. She added there was a significant level of uncertainty as testing for the disease continued. Ms Gourley noted one of the factors bolstering farmer confidence was Fonterra’s strong opening milksolid price forecast. A weakened New Zealand Dollar relative to the USD had also improved farmer outlooks. Federated Farmers National Dairy Chairman, Chris Lewis, acknowledged the dairy industry had been through difficult times. The Rural Confidence Survey was administered by an independent research agency.