QUEENSLAND farmers have shown resilience in the face of extreme seasonal challenges, saying they will increase investment in on-farm infrastructure, plant and equipment, technology and training over the next 12 months, according to the first Commonwealth Bank Agri Insights report.
Agri Insights, a biannual research initiative launched today, surveyed 1400 Australian farmers about their business intentions for the coming year.
The research explored multiple areas of managing an agribusiness, across the physical aspects (including production scale and land size), financial investment intentions and people aspects (regarding people working in and for the farm business).
40% farmers say they plan to increase expenditure on farm inputs and 14% say they will spend more on farm technology and innovation.
The research revealed the primary physical investment priority for Queensland farmers is fixed infrastructure like sheds, dams and fences, with 29% of Queensland farmers intending to increase investment in this area.
From a financial perspective, 40% of farmers plan to increase expenditure on farm inputs and 14% say they will spend more on farm technology and innovation.
On the people front, 13% intend to invest in further education and skills training. According to Haseda Fazlic, General Manager Regional and Agribusiness Banking for Queensland, Commonwealth Bank, the results show a positive outlook for Queensland farmers despite the added pressure of dry seasons or cyclone damage.
"Farmer intentions to invest in fixed farm assets and upgrade plant and equipment like large machinery and tractors are positive signs that they are focused on the long-term financial outcomes of their businesses," Ms Fazlic said.
"The results around education and training reflect what we're seeing across the state.
"There's a real appetite for training in every form; online, in the classroom and in the field and not only on traditional farming topics but business and financial courses, including company director programs."
While farmers plan to invest in their operations, tough seasonal conditions have impacted on production intentions, with several sectors likely to contract in the next 12 months.
In particular, 29% of Queensland beef farmers say they intend to reduce production.
"It's important to remember that this research looks only at the next 12 months. Seasonal conditions have been very difficult for beef producers and that is certainly affecting short term intentions, but the long term outlook is strong and we remain very confident in this sector," said Ms Fazlic.
Survey respondents were also asked about drought management planning.
While 61% of Queensland farmers said they were prepared or very prepared for a two-year drought, many are already operating in drought and 18% said they felt either unprepared or very unprepared.
Ms Fazlic said that even as much of the state deals with drought, Queensland farmers are looking to the future. "Farmers in this state are realists. They understand the cyclical nature of agriculture and how they can plan for seasonal fluctuations. We're working closely with our drought-affected customers in Queensland to offer our support during this challenging time."