Tractor sales on target for another strong year

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Massey Ferguson 5700 series tractor Massey Ferguson 5700 series tractor Massey Ferguson 5700 series tractor

March was another strong month for sales of agricultural equipment across Australia as the expectation of a repeat of last year’s levels materialise, writes Tractor & Machinery Association of Australia (TMA) executive director Gary Northover.

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Indeed, conditions across the sector are very healthy. The southern states have enjoyed a ‘green’ summer, dams are generally full and the recent autumn rains have arrived at an ideal time for the future growing season.

Tractor sales for the month of March went just past the 1000 unit mark in what was another very strong month for the southern states.

It was this time last year that the crisis in the dairy industry was unfolding with dramatic consequences for tractor sales. With confidence returning, we have seen a resultant bounce in sales, particularly in the under-40hp category.

Sales of tractors in this category are 13 percent up on the same time last year, which has contributed to overall sales in Victoria being up 15 percent on the same time last year, South Australia up a very healthy 31 percent and Tasmania up 16 percent.

Not surprisingly, the tropical weather being experienced in Queensland and NSW has had an impact on sales.

Western Australia reported another healthy month, following the recent state election, to be back in line with the same time last year.

The month was also notable for a solid volume of large tractor sales, particularly in the over-200hp category which is now 7 percent up on the same time last year.

We reported last month that overall sales were tracking comfortably above $1 billion on an annual basis and this level is being boosted each month with a combination of strong support for larger tractors and the ever-popular ‘leisure’ market.

Sales of combine harvesters have started to pick up but, more importantly, the forward order book is once again at peak levels.

Dealers are reporting extremely busy levels of activity both in the sales and support areas and while last year’s harvest season was generally considered a little late, the autumn break has been very short lived.

While baler sales were quiet, they too are a product line that has experienced every strong demand and on a 12-month basis are 18 percent up on the previous 12 months. 

The sale of out-front mowers remains very strong and is indicative of the activity being enjoyed by all short-line and implement suppliers across the board.

There are still challenges being felt in the industry. While supply is seen as good, pressure remains on input costs as manufacturers across the board deal with rising prices for everything from steel to tyres. Despite this, optimism in the market remains high.

The TMA was once again present at Farmworld which celebrated its 50th Anniversary at Lardner Park. We awarded two prizes: the Powered Machine Category which was won by the Massey Ferguson 5700 series tractor; and the Unpowered Machine prize which was picked up by Kuhn for its Lexis 3000 sprayer.


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


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