US - Farmer sentiment toward the agricultural economy improved slightly in September, according to the latest reading of the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer.
Survey respondents remained more optimistic about the future conditions in the livestock sector than crops, but most said they don't actually expect widespread good times in either sector, said Jim Mintert, the barometer's principal investigator and director of Purdue's Center for Commercial Agriculture.
"Interestingly, the gap between expectations for good times in crops versus livestock has narrowed quite a bit since late 2015," he said.
"For example, in fall 2015, the percentage of respondents expecting good times in livestock over the next five years exceeded the same reading for crops by 11 per cent. In the period between July and September 2016, the average gap was just 7 per cent, suggesting that expectations of strong profits in livestock production have diminished."
The barometer's Index of Current Conditions and Index of Future Expectations offered a more detailed view of what is driving farmer sentiment. While both indices increased in September, the difference between the two tells more of the story, Mintert said.
The Index of Future Expectations came in at 109 in September, nine points higher than the base-period value of 100, and is the second-highest reading observed since the start of 2016. The Index of Current Conditions, however, read 83 in September, and was the fourth-lowest value since data collection started in fall 2015.
"What this tells us is that agricultural producers are pessimistic about the current conditions in agriculture, but they continue to express some optimism about future long-term economic prospects," Mintert said.
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