Despite an expected 1.5 percent global increase in meat production this year, levels of optimism among Europe’s farmers vary strongly from country to country.

The preliminary results from the latest German Agricultural Society (DLG) Trendmonitor survey, conducted twice each year across four EU member states, and which questions 2,350 farmers, has found differing outlooks depending on the respondent’s home country.

In Germany, the current business situation is described as stable, however, expectations for business development have “clouded over”, the DLG notes. Similarly, producers in Poland and the UK view their situation as stable, but are more optimistic about how their businesses may develop. The two countries are less sensitive to exports and have been less affected by the Russian import ban than Germany. Good harvests in Poland and the UK, and corresponding downward pressure on feed prices is leading farmers in these two countries to be “cautiously optimistic.”

Livestock farmers in France, however, are reported to be less satisfied with their current situation, with the country’s pig producers particularly hard hit by the Russian export ban. Expectations are also said to have “clouded over.”  The sustained backlog in modernizing the French meat processing industry has led to losses on international markets and so fewer export opportunities, the DLG says.

Investment intentions

The DLG notes that 54 percent of those questioned in the UK plan to invest over the next 12 months, while 50 percent of those questioned in Germany and Poland have investment plans. In France, investment plans are shrinking.

In Germany and the UK, the main targets of investment are to optimize current production, while in Poland farmers are planning to expand. In France, livestock producers are looking to cut costs and are seeking greater co-operation with other producers.