TMA - New financial year kicks off strongly

By: Gary Northover

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Sales of tractors and other agricultural equipment have started the new financial year in bright fashion.

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Photo: Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Contributor/Getty Images

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However, the sales do reflect the prevailing drought in NSW and Queensland and the underlying feeling of an imminent slowdown.

Sales in the under-40hp segment led the charge, up 12 per cent in July as activity in Victoria in particular was very strong. At the other end of the scale, the large tractor range above 200hp was quiet, down 12 per cent for the month and now 9 per cent down on a year-to-date basis.

In between these two segments, the 40-100hp range was up 5 per cent and now sits 3 per cent ahead year to date; the 100-200hp range was down 6 per cent in the month but remains a healthy 10 per cent above last year.

Around the country, we have seen a mixed bag due in no small part to the drought conditions being felt through NSW and Queensland in particular. NSW sales were down 4 per cent for the month and are now in line with last year, whereas Queensland sales are now 2 per cent behind last year having dipped 9 per cent for July.

It really is a picture of extremes around the country as things are very healthy in WA. Timely rains have strengthened the market there, with sales up a whopping 24 per cent in July and now 10 per cent ahead of last year. Victoria had a big month, driven largely by sales of the under-40hp range, up 17 per cent in the month.

Sales in Tasmania took the first dip in quite a while, down 20 per cent for the month but still 10 per cent ahead year to date. Meanwhile the picture in SA is still solid, up another 3 per cent in July and now 10 per cent ahead of last year.

Combine harvester sales remain quiet ahead of the coming season, with many dealers hoping for a late flurry of orders to clear inventory that was ordered some months back.

Year to date we’ve sold around 125 units, where a typically "hoped for’’ year might yield in excess of 800 machines. We should get a better picture of how this market will perform in the next two-three months.

Baler sales saw a small lift in July but still remain well behind on a 12-month basis, and finally, sales of out-front mowers continue to struggle to meet the big sales year of 2017, behind last year by about 6 per cent.

The annual TMA Conference was held this year at the Novotel in Sydney and a record crowd was in attendance to hear an outstanding array of speakers address this year’s topic: ‘Thriving in the Face of Disruption’. Feedback from those that attended was very positive and highlighted the need for our industry to continue to work together to address the problems and issues that we meet daily.

Of particular interest was a look into the future offered by the speakers on topics ranging from the future of food, the use of robotics and AI in ag culminating in further examination of the changing needs of the workforce; we will need to address these challenges in the future.

Keep an eye out for next year’s conference!

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