Another big month for tractor sales

Presented by

March has seen another outstanding month for tractor sales across the nation, writes the TMA’s Gary Northover

Red large tractor, machine for sowing, preparation and cultivation of soil for farmers
Photo: victoria2305/iStock / Getty Images Plus/ Getty Images

Any nervousness being felt as a result of potential trade wars or stock market gyrations have, thus far, been shrugged off by the industry as it continues to power ahead.

On a year-to-date basis tractor sales now sit 9 per cent ahead of last year with March reporting sales 16 per cent up on the month of March 2017.

In previous months we have been reporting that the charge has been led by a particular category – in March, each of our four reporting groups delivered strong sales.

The under-40hp segment jumped 8 per cent on the same month last year and now sits just 3 per cent down on the year to date. Given that this segment contains a high level of recreation/leisure machines, it can be susceptible to economic uncertainty as discretionary spending dries up. So far, we've not seen this happen.

The 40-to-100hp segment is performing strongly, up 13 per cent this month and now 8 per cent up year-to-date.

It’s the 100-200hp segment that reported the biggest rise in March, up a whopping 34 per cent and now sits 28 per cent up on last year. Given this product range experienced a stellar 2017, it is clear that farmers are generally appreciating the productivity improvements and keen buying opportunities associated with this range.

Lastly, the large tractor group above 200hp remains strong, up another 3 per cent, in line with last year.

Across the states, activity was quite strong in all regions with the exception of the Northern Territory, which enjoyed a bumpy ride, down 10 per cent year-to-date. Weather conditions are having an impact on activity and while this month’s numbers somewhat belie that fact, we expect a trend to emerge in coming months reflecting this.

Queensland sales were up strongly, up 34 per cent on March last year and now 14 per cent ahead year-to-date. New South Wales and Victoria were both up 11per cent and are both 8 per cent up year-to-date. South Australia and Western Australia both had strong months, picking up from a sluggish start to the year while Tasmania was steady, now sitting 9 per cent ahead year to date.

Unsurprisingly, sales of harvesters are yet to get going, however dealers are generally predicting a slower year as a result of a lower 2017 crop. This, combined with some new models slowly hitting the market, is likely to impact.

Baler sales recorded a solid jump and are now 30 per cent up on what was a recurring low in 2017. The sale of out-front mowers were again strong and are now up 2 per cent on the same time last year.

Looking ahead, expectations are once again high for another strong year in the agricultural equipment market albeit not without its challenges.

The lift in demand in the US and Europe for agricultural product is now in full swing so local supply challenges can be expected.

Finally, the TMA is holding its annual conference this year in Sydney on July 17 at the Novotel Brighton Le Sands and we encourage all to join us for this renowned event.

This year’s theme, ‘Thriving in the Face of Disruption’, will bring together a range of speakers designed to challenge and educate and is sure to be a popular event. Tickets go on sale soon.

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook