HANOVER, Germany, November 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Farmers in the countries who have most recently joined the EU are planning to make major investment in their holdings as confidence grows in the economic future for their businesses and the industry as a whole, according to a new survey carried out across six EU countries.

Biggest investment increases are likely to be seen in Poland with 31% of farmers expecting to buy tractors, 19% to buy combines and 15% to buy drilling and cultivation equipment. Czech Republic and Hungary are next on the list with the UK trailing a distant fourth in the investment stakes.

Product prices remain the issue most likely to trouble EU according to the survey, the DLG Trend Monitor, carried out this autumn by DLG, the German Agricultural Society. Only in the UK, recently hit by foot and mouth disease and the bluetongue virus, has animal disease taken over from prices as the hottest topic.

The DLG Trend Monitor surveys almost 3000 farmers in Europe on a six-monthly basis. The survey began in 2003 and is used as a trend index by businesses in the agricultural sector.

When assessing the current economic climate, German farmers were the most confident followed by Polish farmers. The UK was equal third with the Czech Republic and France. This is a sharp turn round as the UK was least confident in spring 2006 and was second bottom of the list last autumn.

When it comes to confidence in their own businesses' future, German and Polish farmers were again the most bullish, with UK, French, Czech and Hungarian farmers equal bottom of the survey - but with confidence measured on the scale of 1-5, there are only .5 points separating top from bottom as farmers in all six countries expect to benefit from improving world prices for key commodities such as cereals, oilseeds and milk. All farmers expect the current better conditions to be sustainable.

Among the three "older" EU states, farmers in the UK appear more likely to turn their better expected returns into hard on-farm investment. Almost 20% expect to buy tractors in the near future, 5% to buy combines and 4% to buy drilling and cultivation equipment. That is almost twice the numbers planning to make similar investments in France and Germany.

Germany and the Czech Republic lead the way in renewable energy with 20% and 17.5% of farmers saying they expect to invest in the next year.

The results were presented at Agritechnica 2007 by Dr. Reinhard Grandke, DLG's Chief Executive Officer. The survey is carried out by the Kleffmann Group.

Press contact: Malene Conlong Tel: +49(0)69-247-88-237 Email: m.conlong@dlg.org

Press contact: Malene Conlong, Tel: +49(0)69-247-88-237, Email: m.conlong@dlg.org