Sales surge for higher horsepower machinery

By: Richard Lewis

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The demand for horsepower has pushed the sales of 200+hp tractors up over 30 per cent for the year, according to the latest sales figures released by the Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia.

Sales surge for higher horsepower machinery
Sales for 200+hp tractors has risen by over 30 per cent for the year as farmers look to upgrade their primary workhorse.

This comes as more farmers across the country look to upgrade their primary workhorse to prep for the year ahead.

The February figures also show a 20 per cent jump from month to month, making the year up 7 per cent on 2015 numbers so far.

Victorian sales were up 10 per cent for the month, giving a flat performance for the year. New South Wales is up 15 per cent and Queensland 10 per cent. Only South Australia recorded a drop in sales for the year, down 8 per cent.

Both balers and combines are down on very small numbers, and little wonder given the dry start to the year experienced in most parts of the country.

Dealers around Australia have reported good early orders for harvesting equipment, with windrowers and combine deliveries expected to be strong later in the year, and most have reported good sales levels of used equipment.

The lifestyle tractor market under 40 horsepower hasn’t had a great start to the year, with sales down 12 per cent in the first two months, reflecting a dry season in the south and unseasonal wet on the east coast.

The lifestyle market is harder to predict as usually is not affected by commodity prices, and more often reflects the overall economic situation, which most will agree is relatively flat in the broader economy.

The field day circuit has kicked off around various states, with organisers hoping for better crowds and attendances – it’s hard to work out the future of field days, as has been written about in the past.

We need them to show off our machinery and the new technology, get a chance to see all of our local customers in one place and, of course, support the local communities – they are important to our industry.

However, if the numbers through the gates continue to decline, how much longer can the traditional field day be sustained? We don't have the answers, but wish the committees all the best and hope they can pull off good events.

Although the dollar has made a surge recently, the sustained 70c-plus level will continue to put upward pressure on imported machinery and parts.

Thankfully we have not seen great price hikes, which reflect the dollar’s demise. Although there has been some uplifting of pricing, the situation in the US and Europe would suggest that Australia is somewhat of a shining light in farm machinery sales, and no company would want to jeopardise that by pushing prices too high.

That said, I suspect prices will creep up to a level which will reflect the currency – rather than in one big hit.

Like everyone, we are looking to the skies for a decent autumn break and have our fingers crossed for a good season throughout the nation.


 

Richard Lewis is executive director of the Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia. He can be contacted on 0421 847 872 or via email at richard@ironcapital.com.au

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