Farmers more likely to employ new staff

QUEENSLAND farmers are 10 times more likely to be planning to hire someone new than they were this time last year.

That's one of the key findings from the latest Commonwealth Bank Agri Insights Index, in which the state's positivity levels increased to an index of 12.5, which is higher than the national average of 12.3.

Commonwealth Bank general manager of specialised agribusiness solutions Adrian Parker stressed the survey was conducted before Cyclone Debbie and before the recent record grain harvest.

"Nonetheless, the intentions of farmers are positive,” he said.

"Specifically, for Queensland. We are seeing Queensland farmers having strong investment plans across a number of areas, including infrastructure, land acquisition and people.

"This has been underpinned by strong financial and seasonal conditions and that really accounts for the record high index.”

A record one in 10 farmers surveyed said they were keen to boost staff numbers.

"Anecdotally ... that data was positive and will hopefully result in jobs,” he said.

"As conditions improve and farms return to greater profitability, there is increased opportunity for family members who may have worked off-farm to come back to the business.”

Mr Parker believed Queensland's highly resilient farmers affected by Cyclone Debbie would bounce back.

"Cyclone Debbie, certainly as catastrophic as it was and has been, was somewhat localised,” he said.

"Certainly cane farmers in those areas have been affected, particularly in Proserpine and Bowen.

"But if we play through that, the fundamentals for Australian agribusiness and the outlook for Australian agribusiness off the back of what is rising demand, still remains positive.”

Mr Parker said he would like to see the high price of cattle last forever, but explained that was unlikely to happen.

"If we speak about cattle, which is predominately Queensland, there certainly has been a step change in the price of livestock on the back of short supply,” he said.

"But as seasonal conditions continue to strengthen and as farmers make decisions on whether to sell, or to restock and rebuild herds, we will see pricing remain strong for the remainder of the calendar year.

"As to the future?

"That will largely be determined by the weather conditions, currency and also overseas demand for what is Australian cattle.”

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