July ag equipment sales stumble

By: Gary Northover

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The end-of-financial-year hangover was real for tractor sales in July, down 17 per cent on 2018 levels, according to the Tractor and Machinery Association

July ag equipment sales stumble
If only: Demand for tractors dipped again in July. Image courtesy Alamy

 

Caution about future sales was the general mood among attendees at the Tractor and Machinery Association’s (TMA) annual conference, held in July, as each new month has so far brought with it a whole new set of surprises.

This was reflected in July sales where demand dropped sharply, as it became clear sales brought forward in June to coincide with the end of the financial year, thus leaving a gap in demand.


Check out the TMA's report on the June sales data here


Overall tractor sales for July were down 17 per cent on the same month last year, leading to a year to date (YTD) figure which is now 11 per cent behind 2018.

Falls were felt in all size categories, but sales in the 200hp (150kw) and above range fell the most, down 24 per cent behind for the month and now 1 per cent behind YTD.

The 100 to 200hp (75-150kw) segment also suffered a big drop, down 18 per cent for the month and 14 per cent behind last year.

The 40 to 100hp (30-75kw) range was also down 18 per cent, now sitting 12 per cent behind last year and it was a similar story in the lower under 40hp (30kw) range, down 13 per cent in July and 10 per cent on a yearly basis.

New South Wales continues to be hit the hardest, with tractor sales now 21 per cent behind last year following a 31 per cent drop in July, while Queensland is showing signs of recovery, only 3 per cent behind for July and now 6 per cent behind last year.

Victoria had a particularly down month – with July sales 24 per cent were they were in 2018 and 9 per cent behind on a full year basis – while South Australian sales are lagging noticeably, with another 30 per cent drop in July seeing them now 20 per cent behind YTD.

Business is flourishing in Western Australia, with a 7 per cent spike in sales putting them 10 per cent ahead of last year, while Tasmanian sales continue to be strong, up 24 per cent in July and now 9 per cent ahead YTD. Sales in the NT dropped 10 per cent for the month, putting them 3 per cent behind last year.

Falling grain production in northern NSW continues to impact harvester sales, which are tracking in line with last year. Full year sales estimates remain in the range of 550, down from the mid 800’s level of the past few years.

Growing demand for large square balers and wider demand for hay is bolstering baler sales, which are now 41 per cent up on last year, though they were down 3 per cent for the month.

Finally, sales of Out Front Mowers bounced another 15 per cent in the month in preparation for the grass growing season, now sitting in line with last year on a yearly basis.

In summary, we expect to see a year down on previous records by around 10 per cent-15 per cent typically comprised of some good news and some bad news. Current rainfall does of course give some cause for optimism.

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