Tractor sales heading for another record year

By: Gary Nothover

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August was another particularly strong month for sales of agricultural equipment across Australia, continuing the trend of record volumes for the previous few months.


John Deere 8800 self-propelled forage harvester
John Deere 8800 self-propelled forage harvester. © Deere & Copany

Sales for the month were up a whopping 12.7 percent on what was a strong July and now sit 10.6 percent up on a year-to-date basis. In dollar terms, we are seeing another very strong result with sales tracking beyond the $1.2 billion mark for the year.

Demand for tractors in all size ranges is strong right across the country with a recent down-patch in Western Australia and South Australia being reversed with strong sales, WA up 17.4 percent for the month and now less than 10 percent down on last year. SA had a particularly strong month, up 30 percent, and is now placed 10 percent up on the same time last year.

Sales in Queensland were steady for the month and sit 12 percent up on last year. Victorian sales were again very strong – led by the under-40hp category – up 13 percent on last month and now 26 percent up on last year.

 New South Wales had a particularly strong month, 19 percent up for the month and now 4 percent up on last year, while activity in Tasmania has been very healthy, sitting nearly 30 percent up on last year.

Finally, sales in the NT are positioned up 18 percent on last year.

The strength of the under-40hp or ‘leisure’ market continues to be the standout for tractor sales with an increase of 26 percent on last month and now 16 percent up on last year.

Clearly, the markets appetite for this range of product has pleased many in the industry and is a clear representation of the high levels of confidence being felt by this market segment across the nation.

The larger end of the market too remains quite strong with August deliveries once again beating the previous month.

Sales in the 100hp to 200hp range increased yet again and are now up 13 percent on last year; the larger range above 200hp sits about 8 percent ahead. The distribution of sales continues to reflect the move towards larger-capacity tractors and, with extensive competition in the market, buyers are capitalising on the opportunity to upgrade.

There are some early signs that combine harvester sales may not meet expected levels this year with some challenges being forecast for this year’s harvest.

As we reported last month, harvester sales tend to occur on the basis of around 50 percent committed at the end of each harvest and around 50 percent purchased from stock units that manufacturers import in anticipation of further sales.

Sales of these stock units appear to be down on initial expectations so we will see a lower volume sold by year’s end.

This, of course, augers well for those cashed-up buyers who are able to take advantage of the ready availability of stock.

Baler sales continue to slow, once again off last year’s very high numbers due in part to the variable weather conditions. Finally, sales of out-front mowers, linked to the ‘leisure’ market, dipped this month but remain ahead of last year’s numbers.

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


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