Recent results from the quarterly Rural Confidence Survey conducted by Rabobank have revealed improved confidence levels among Australian farmers, the first rise following four successive declines. One in five farmers expect conditions to improve in the next 12 months, up from just 16 percent last quarter. The number of survey participants expecting conditions to worsen decreased from 48 percent to 37 percent. The results indicated a modest increase in positive sentiment, possibly dampened by continuing concerns about global markets. Of primary producers expecting conditions to worsen, 44 percent nominated 'overseas markets/economies' as a major reason for their declining sentiment, but this was an improvement on the 58 percent that indicated that as a reason in the last survey. "We have seen a softening in prices for some key commodities, including wheat. However, compared with many other industries, farming is in a relatively good position," said Rabobank general manager for Rural Australia Peter Knoblanche. "Some sectors have been more affected than others with dairy and wine in particular struggling after some big price drops as consumers in key export markets cut back their discretionary spending. And, in the case of dairy, supply has been slow to adjust." Approximately 1,200 farmers across a wide range of commodities throughout Australia participate in the quarterly Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey.