Tractor sales bounce in August

By: Gary Northover

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Following an unexpected drop in sales in July, Australian tractor sales bounced in August and are now 10.8 percent ahead in dollar terms on last year on a year to date basis, writes Tractor & Machinery Association of Australia executive director Gary Northover.

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The August improvement was led by the larger horsepower tractors in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

The only soft spot was the under-40-horsepower range which contributed to the ongoing weakness in Victoria, which was 25 percent down on last month and is 15.5 percent behind on a year-to-date basis.

The Victorian position is no doubt due to the continued stresses being felt in the dairy space, along with an extended winter period. However, we expect an improvement in small tractor sales as spring warms up.

Sales of tractors in the 40-100-horsepower range were up 14 percent for the month, with the next range, 100-200 horsepower, up 2.6 percent.

The largest group, the 200-plus range, took a breather this month, falling 4.9 percent. However, it was up 12 percent on a year-to-date basis.

Tractors sales in NSW are a standout as that state’s economy continues its impressive run. Sales for the month were 22 percent up on last month and are now 16.6 percent up year-to-date — certainly a highlight.

Elsewhere around the nation, Queensland and WA reported solid sales growth in excess of 10 percent while Tasmanian tractor sales jumped by 35 percent. The Northern Territory was the only other region showing  a decline, while tractor sales in South Australia remained largely steady

It’s not just tractors that are moving at the minute as sales of combine harvesters went a long way towards reversing last month’s result with a whopping 52.3 percent increase in sales.

Combine harvester sales are now 2 percent up on a rolling 12-month basis.

Balers also continue to perform strongly with an 32 percent increase on last month, and posting 2.4 percent growth on a rolling 12 months.

Finally, the sales of out-front mowers continue to soar, up 40 percent on last month, and 18.5 percent up year-on-year.

The stage is now set for what looks certain to be another strong year for tractor sales. Interest rates are low, the weather has been kind and demand for most commodities remains strong.

Importers and manufacturers are generally reporting solid order books and lead times remain stretched. Australia appears to be a hot spot for machinery sales for most international manufacturers.

This spring will see a raft of new products being introduced, with many being showcased at the various field days being held around the country, and we encourage all to get out and support the industry and see what is on offer.

Gary Northover is executive director of the Tractor & Machinery Association of Australia (TMA). He can be contacted on (03) 9867 4289 or via email at


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