As opposed to the overall positive sentiment observed by Copa-Cogeca in spring 2018, the EU barometer recorded a two-point decrease in famers’ sentiment at the end of 2018, clearly highlighting the impact of the extreme weather conditions in 2018 on farmers’ mood. In this regard, some of the most significant trend reversals were identified among Swedish and Danish producers, who faced severe droughts. These extreme weather episodes did not only affect the harvest, but also the availability and price of fodder, farms’ liquidity as well as initial sowing. The fact that the European Commission allowed for derogations from some greening rules and for early payments, and that some national governments provided support packages did not curb negative sentiment.
Besides short-term setbacks, European farmers also faced growing concerns regarding the general uncertainty on agricultural markets and surrounding the future CAP budget. The complicated negotiations on Brexit and the impending final decision are also weighing heavily on farmers’ mood. UK farmers remain extremely worried about the impact that Brexit will have on their activities. Most UK farmers (84%) indicated that they have concerns about input costs going up, and many are also very anxious about falling livestock prices. In relation to price developments, pork prices are still low as the pigmeat sector continues to be embroiled in the African Swine Fever predicament.