Tractor sales steady in October

By: Gary Northover

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Tractor sales are steady, while harvesters are coming off writes Gary Northover

Tractor sales are steady, while harvesters are coming off
Tractor sales are steady, while harvesters are coming off

As we reported last month, sales of agricultural equipment have slowed across the nation as the industry begins to experience some headwinds resulting from the various weather events we have been experiencing.

Demand for machines has been quite varied, with the significant differences being felt between regions within the states emphasising the specific impact weather is having.

Despite this, we remain on track to match last year’s record sales result for tractors.

October tractor sales were down 3 per cent, and while they are still 7 per cent up on last year, the margin is closing. It was once again the turn of the under-40hp segment to slow, down 19 per cent on September but still 8 per cent up on 2016.

The 40-100hp segment was the one bright spot, up 10 per cent on September, while the 100-200hp and above-200hp sectors were down 1.4 per cent and 6.8 per cent respectively.

Regionally, Victoria and Tasmania were the only states to report an increase in sales, indicative of more stable weather conditions than the other states. Victorian sales were up 3.5 per cent and sit 19 per cent up on last year; Tasmanian sales were up a whopping 31 per cent on September and are now 27 per cent up on 2016.

Elsewhere, Queensland sales dipped 4.6 per cent but remain 10 per cent up on last year; NSW was down 6 per cent and 3 per cent year-on-year; WA was down marginally 2 per cent for the month; and SA was down 10 per cent but still 5 per cent up on last year.

Sales of combine harvesters have dipped noticeably in line with this season’s lower-than-expected harvest. Volumes were down 9 per cent on the same month last year with the YTD numbers broadly in line. It is hoped that a level of around 800 harvesters will still be sold but suppliers are reporting a general tightening across the board.

Baler sales have slowed considerably, down 34 per cent on the same month last year and still 22 per cent behind on a YTD basis. These were very strong last year off the back of an enormous hay-growing season, so it is no surprise to see these flatten somewhat given the year we have had.

Finally, sales of out-front mowers, linked to the ‘leisure’ market, were well down again in October but remain in line with last year’s numbers.

New road regulations

The TMA has for some time been advising VicRoads on the establishment of a new set of road rules to cover the movement of oversized agricultural equipment on our roads. This work is intended to lead to the development of a set of national guidelines under the direction of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

We are pleased to advise that this work has now resulted in the publishing of these new rules, titled Victorian Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle Exemption Notice 2017 (No. 1).

These can be found here:

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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