Oz farm machinery market records stellar 2015

By: Richard Lewis

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It was growth all round for the farm machinery market last year, with tractor sales smashing records beyond expectations, says Tractor & Machinery Association of Australia executive director RICHARD LEWIS.

Oz farm machinery market records stellar 2015
Farm machinery importers and dealers have recorded generally positive results for their sales last year.

Another year has creeped past us, and machinery importers and sellers are generally happy thanks to new tractor sales surpassing 11,000 units last calendar year.

It’s the best industry performance result since the late 1980s.

The broad-acre market above 200hp was relatively flat through the year nationally, with the big improvement coming from the 100-200hp range of tractors that have risen a huge 21 per cent from last year.

Combine harvesters are also up nationally, with more than 700 units going to new owners, up 21 per cent on last year.

Baler performance increased just slightly on last year, while out-front mowers have again defied forecasts by increasing 20 per cent over the year.

The threat of price rises in 2016 and current cheap interest rates have driven much of the demand, although the chase for technology has also driven sales throughout the year.

But dealers have also been able to clear their yards of used machinery due to high demand, which put them in great shape to do deals in the new year for new buyers.

As is always the case in our industry, many parts of the country – particularly Victoria– suffered a poor season. However, dealers and farmers in these areas have been around for a while and know how to manage the hard times.

There has been a lot of talk this year about ‘big data’ and machine to farm connectivity, and we’ve all bemoaned the lack of infrastructure supporting this development.

There appears to be a stand-off between the government and providers of infrastructure such as mobile phone towers, and until there’s a larger take-up of the technology, we may be kept waiting.

What is certain is that data will eventually be a valuable and tradable commodity for growers, as companies will pay to have it and farmers won’t be able to work without it.

It should become a source of income for farmers.

Until then, however, the stand-off will persist as farmers on the pointy end of the technology will have to pay more to use it – remember 15 years ago, when GPS first hit and only a few were using it.

It was expensive and although most wanted it, for many it was a bridge too far financially. But today GPS and guidance are mainstream and affordable for everyone.

Data technology and the communication infrastructure will go the same way; once the mainstream sees the value in ‘big data’ and it becomes saleable, the capital required will follow.

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