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Some Confidence, Investment Likely, But 'Greenness' a Low Priority

by 5m Editor
22 November 2007, at 2:18pm

EU - Farmers in the countries who have most recently joined the EU are planning to make major investment in their holdings as confidence grows in the economic future for their businesses and the industry as a whole, according to a new survey carried out across six EU countries.

These are the findings of the DLG Trend Monitor, a survey of almost 3000 European farmers that is carried out every six months, and used as a trend index by businesses in the agricultural sector.

Recent results were presented during Agritechnica 2007 by Dr. Reinhard Grandke, DLG’s Chief Executive Officer. Findings indicated that the biggest investment increases are likely to be seen in Poland substantial investments in farm machinery

More than a third per cent of farmers were expecting to buy tractors, 19 per cent to buy combines and 15 per cent to buy drilling and cultivation equipment. The Czech Republic and Hungary were next on the list with the UK trailing a distant fourth in the investment stakes.

Product prices remain the issue most likely to trouble the EU according to the survey, according to Germany's the DLG Trend Monitor, carried out the German Agricultural Society this autumn. It is only the UK which regards animal disease as a chief priority, alongside prices - probably a factor of the recent foot and mouth and Blue Tongue disease outbreaks and now the arrival of avian flu.

Confidence up
When assessing the current economic climate, German farmers were the most confident followed by Polish farmers. The UK was equal third with the Czech Republic and France. This is a sharp turn round, as the UK was least confident in spring 2006 and was second bottom of the list last autumn.

And, when it comes to confidence in their own businesses, German and Polish farmers were again the most bullish. The UK, French, Czech and Hungarian farmers were equal bottom of the survey, says the DLG.

Even so, farmers in all six countries do expect to benefit from improving world prices for key commodities such as cereals, oilseeds and milk. All farmers expect the current better conditions to be sustainable.

UK producers appear more likely to turn their better expected returns into on-farm investment. Almost 20 per cent said that they expected to invest in cultivation equipment and machinery. This figures is almost twice the numbers planning to make similar investments in France and Germany.

Interestingly, German and the Czech Republic farmers are leading the way in renewable energy. Around with 20 per cent of those questioned said that they expect to invest in some form of green power generation/fuel supply or energy saving scheme during the next year.

5m Editor