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Liquidity position of dairy and arable farms improves, positive outlook for pig farms despite deterioration


The liquidity position of dairy farms further improved in the first three months of 2019. The average current-account level increased by 10,600 euros compared with the end of 2018 to 7,000 euros. This is due to higher milk yields in January and additional payments over the previous year, such as for pasturing and due to fewer expenses for investments. It is difficult to assess to what extent this positive trend will continue. For instance, it is unclear whether the after-effects of the drought of the previous summer will lead to additional purchases of roughage and feed concentrate this spring. Developments in the dairy market are also uncertain.

The current-account level of pig farms decreased in the first quarter of 2019 by more than 5,000 euros compared with the end of 2018 and amounted to -14,000 euros by the end of March. Increased feed costs led to a lower balance of credits and debits in the first quarter than in 2018. A tentative recovery of the current-account position of sow farms could be seen in March due to increased piglet prices. A further market upturn in the course of 2019 is expected, due to increased exports to China as a result of the outbreak of African swine fever there. At the end of March, pig prices however already increased spectacularly due to an increased demand. Piglet prices also profited from the improved market sentiment from the end of March.

At almost 55,000 euros, the average current-account position of arable farms at the end of the first quarter of 2019 was more than 17,000 euros higher than at the end of 2018. The value increased especially due to income from the sales of crops and the payment of premiums by The Netherlands Enterprise Agency. The new sowing and planting seasons began early this year, but due to the dry circumstances irrigation started early. The resulting higher diesel costs and lower incomes from likely lower harvests are expected to bring the liquidity position down this spring.

Wageningen Economic Research's liquidity monitor provides a monthly overview of the development in the current position of agricultural farms and is published each quarter on the Agro and food portal. The main goal of the monitor is to offer more insights into factors that affect the development of the liquidity position of a business and with that to support entrepreneurs in their operational management. The liquidity monitor is the result of a public-private partnership between Wageningen Economic Research, the ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and ABN AMRO. Agrifim's accession to the partnership has led to a liquidity monitor for pig farming quarter. More information on current developments of the cash position in dairy farming, pig farming and arable farming can be found via the links to the Agro and food portal below. For the news item on the results, please see the ABN AMRO bulletin on dairy farming, pig farming and arable farming.

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Harold van der Meulen

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