Northern Rivers Farmers Battered by Bad Weather Farmers Doing It Tough after Wet Season; Agribusiness Survey Reveals Fallin Farming Capital Investments

Article excerpt

IT HASN'T been a good quarter for local cattle farmer Tony Wilson.

After suffering a flood in December, which knocked out most of the feed crop on his property at The Risk near Kyogle, he and other farmers in the region were forced to endure heavy rain in January.

aThe December floods were bad enough, but then we had two floods over three days in January, so we probably lost more of our river banks in January because everything was still wet from the December flood,a he said.

aWe farm both sides of the river so that denied us access for most of January. It wasn't a good time,a Mr Wilson added with a large measure of understatement.

Little wonder then the latest Westpac/Charles Sturt University Agribusiness survey found that the poor weather not only battered confidence, but also led to a fall in capital investment across Richmond/Tweed over the three months to March.

The survey, now in its fourth year and which includes producers and their suppliers, found farmers in the Richmond-Tweed a[approximately]under-performed' the state average.

aAgribusinesses in the Richmond-Tweed region showed decreased business confidence, with 51% being confident about their performance over the next 12 months, compared with 78% for the New South Wales and 76% of businesses nationally,a Westpac's regional manager Andrew Davis said.

aAfter hitting the highest-ever level in the last survey, taken in September 2010, the economic performance of New South Wales agribusinesses fell back in all sectors and in most regions in the March 2011 quarter. …