Small tractors take market spotlight in February

By: Gary Northover

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New Holland T3F compact tractor New Holland T3F compact tractor New Holland T3F compact tractor

A strong market sees small tractors the most popular purchase in agricultural equipment in February

Sales of agricultural equipment in Australia are now comfortably topping the $1 billion mark on an annual basis, and February saw the continuation of what promises to be another landmark year.

Tractor sales for the month of February fell just short of the 1000-unit mark in what was a particularly bright month for the southern states in the under 40hp category.

Sales of tractors in this category are 30 per cent up on the same time last year as the effect of some aggressive sales campaigns become realised.

Low (often zero) interest rates combined with the release of many new models from the larger makers have been well received in Victoria, up 14 per cent on the same time last year; South Australia, which is up a whopping 42 percent on last year; and Tasmania, also up 14 per cent on last year.

This category, often referred to as the ‘leisure’ category, is benefitting from the activity being seen across regional areas in property purchases and developments, from some optimism returning to the dairy sector, and from ongoing demand in the fruit/wine/nuts markets, all supported by mild weather conditions.

Not surprisingly, the tropical weather being experienced in Queensland (roughly in line with last year) and NSW (also in line with last year) have kept things a little quiet, while that never-ending tendency for buyers to withdraw from the market when there is an election on has seen sales in WA down slightly on last year.

Sales of combine harvesters were once again slow as the market continues to take a breath from a hectic season; however the question remains as to whether or not we will see a repeat of last year’s outstanding sales numbers.

Manufacturers continue to report strong interest levels from the market with a healthy forward order book in play, so the industry remains optimistic that we will indeed achieve another big year of sales.

While baler sales were quiet, they too have experienced very strong demand and, on a 12-month basis, are 18 per cent up. 

The sale of out-front mowers was down a touch in February though still well up on the previous year.

I had the benefit of attending the WA Farmers Annual Conference GROW 2017 in Perth in March and was encouraged to see the attention being given to the key issues of the day, including:

  • Attracting and retaining young people to the industry
  • Consideration for greater productivity in terms of human land and equipment use
  • The need for improved infrastructure in areas such as telecommunications, road rail and ports.

These are issues that occupy the minds of many leaders in our industry and it is pleasing to see the progress being made.

 

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