European farmers can finally see light at the end of the tunnel, and both the current economic climate and expectations of business growth are viewed in a far more positive light than in autumn 2016. Results from this spring’s DLG (German Agricultural Society) Trendmonitor Europe (a survey of 700 German, 700 French, 500 Polish and 350 British farmers) also reveals there is renewed willingness to invest.

The upswing is due to the improved market situation for cereals, milk and pork, and farmers in all four countries surveyed are significantly more confident about business growth in the next 12 months. Despite the uncertainties surrounding Brexit and its impact on agricultural policies, British farmers are also optimistic about business growth during the next year.

The economic turnaround has significantly boosted the appetite for investment among farmers surveyed in the four countries. In Germany, 42% of farmers surveyed plan to invest within the next 12 months (+10% compared with autumn 2016), 45% in Poland (+7%), 50% in the UK (+16%) and 22% in France (+8%.)

Arable and dairy farmers in Germany are planning to invest significantly more heavily than in autumn 2016. 41% of the arable farmers surveyed intend to invest in the coming year (+12% compared with autumn 2016), while in the dairy sector, 40% of those surveyed are planning to invest (+11%). The willingness of dairy farmers to invest has also increased in Poland, France and the UK. In Poland 50% of those surveyed plan to invest in the next 12 months (+8%), 50% in the UK (+25%) and 22% in France (+10%). A similar trend can be seen in arable farming, with 43% of arable farmers surveyed in Poland (+7%), 49% in the UK (+19%) and 16% in France (+8%) planning to invest in the next 12 months.

Farmers in Germany and the UK are stepping up investments in field equipment, while farmers in France are focusing on investments in animal husbandry and renewable energies. Farm managers in Poland are reducing investments in bioenergy and increasing them in on-farm and field equipment.