Thursday, 01 October 2020 12:37

Sheep and beef farmer confidence drops

Written by  Staff Reporters
Andrew Morrison, chairman of B+LNZ. Andrew Morrison, chairman of B+LNZ.

Sheep and beef farmer confidence dropped to the lowest recorded level since August 2017, according to a survey by Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ).

The survey by UMR Research found less than half (46%) of farmers were confident in the future of New Zealand’s sheep and beef industry compared to 58% in May 2020.

Meanwhile, the percentage of farmers who expressed low confidence in the industry was up compared to last quarter at 15% (up 6%).

Farmer confidence was down in all regions except for the Northern North Island where it remained steady at 47% (up 1%).

The southern South Island experienced the largest fall in confidence at 32% (down 27%), followed by the central South Island at 42% (down 19%), and eastern North Island at 50% (down 16%).

“Sheep and beef farmers are increasingly concerned at the speed and scale of government-led reforms,” says Andrew Morrison, chairman of B+LNZ.

“We are hearing that a key factor behind the fall in confidence is the government’s recent essential freshwater rules, but also concerns about the cumulative impact of law changes in the last couple of years such as the Zero Carbon Bill, and changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme that has led to a surge in the conversion of sheep and beef farms into carbon farms.”

Farmers are also worried about the potential impact of significant policies such as bio-diversity, which have been parked until early next year, he says. 

Other things affecting confidence are the lingering impacts of drought across parts of the country and uncertainty in export markets as a result of COVID-19.

“Sheep and beef farmers recognise they have a role to play in improving their environmental performance, they have made significant gains in a range of areas in recent years and know there is more to do.

“But farmers are concerned the policy settings in areas such as freshwater and proposals on biodiversity are not workable or practical at a farm level, nor will they necessarily lead to better environmental outcomes.

“We want to work with the incoming government on improving the rules that have already being introduced and then focus on their implementation.”

UMR Research surveyed 660 farmers between 21st August-9th September 2020. The margin of error is ± 3.8%.

More like this

Back the sector that backs NZ

OPINION: The biggest issue currently facing our industry is environmental policy, writes Beef+Lamb NZ chief executive Sam McIvor.

Tailor vaccines

A one-size-fits-all vaccination programme does not suit different sheep systems, which all have different vaccine requirements.

Beef+Lamb pushing for changes

Farmer-good organisation Beef+Lamb NZ (BLNZ) says it will continue to advocate for changes to the new fresh water regulations.



Govt link key to DairyNZ strategy

DairyNZ chairman Jim van der Poel says a constructive relationship with the Government is vital for the industry-good organisation.

Top student off to co-op

Massey University's top agricultural student for 2020 is off to join Fonterra and continue his interest and passion for the dairy industry.


Lamb price down, but not weak

While lamb prices are starting the new season at around 16% below last year’s levels, they are not outright weak,…

Quota split a major worry

New Zealand meat exporters want the EU and UK to get serious on reaching a deal on post-Brexit quotas.

NZ meat exports at risk

Nearly half of our country’s meat exports are at risk unless there is urgent action by government to allow migrant…

Machinery & Products

Claas cargo wagon

CLAAS has extended the versatility, productivity and user comfort of its CARGOS dual purpose transport wagons with the addition of…

These tractors are pumping

CLAAS has announced it will introduce a new automatic tyre inflation system across its AXION and ARION series of tractors.

Great hay cut at speed

Contractors and farmers on the lookout to mow and condition at higher speeds, while producing better quality hay and forage,…

Fendt enters NZ harvest market

Farm machinery brand Fendt has expanded into the harvester market in Australia and New Zealand, with is Ideal combine harvester.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

He's back!

OPINION: This old mutt understands that former Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings has landed himself a new gig back in his…


OPINION: Your canine crusader understands that the farmer’s favourite politician – Environment Minister David Parker – not content with implementing…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter