August Ag Equipment sales fall further

By: Gary Northover

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Even the normally buoyant WA market wasn’t immune to a broad downward trend in agricultural machinery sales, according to new data from the Tractor and Machinery Association.

August Ag Equipment sales fall further
The wrong kind of clouds are on the horizon for agricultural machinery sales across Australia, following a poor result in August. Image courtesy Alamy


Nationwide tractor sales in August 2019 are 19 per cent below where they were in August 2018 – with the total amount sold for the year 12 per cent behind where they were this time last year.

Falls were felt in all size categories in all states including the Western Australian market, which was down 27 per cent on the same month last year now sitting 6 per cent behind last year.

The TMA tractor sales data from August 2018 can be found here

Across the nation, it continues to be NSW suffering the greatest declines with a further 27 per cent drop in August, now 22 per cent behind last year. Queensland, which had been showing signs of recovery, slipped 14 per cent in the month and is now 7 per cent behind for the year.

Victoria had a solid month, exactly in line with August last year but remains 8 per cent behind for the full year.

South Australian sales have gone from bad to worse with a massive 48 per cent drop in August, now a full 25 per cent behind last year and sales in the NT dropped for the month now 5 per cent behind last year.

Only Tasmania continued its upward trend, with sales down 7 per cent ahead on a year to date basis.

The market across Australia is being hampered by a distinct lack of confidence arising out of the drought being experienced in the Eastern States combined with a somewhat circumspect attitude being felt in the leisure sector which continues to contain low horsepower tractor sales.

The growth of this lower end of the market has been a standout for the industry over the past decade but it is showing signs similar to those in the wider economy, much of which has been written elsewhere.

Sales in the 200hp (150kw) and above range were down substantially, 36 per cent behind for the month and now 4 per cent behind YTD. The 100 to 200hp (75-150kw) segment also suffered a big drop down 10 per cent for the month remaining 14 per cent behind last year.

The 40 to 100hp (30-75kw) range was also down 25 per cent now sitting 14 per cent behind last year and it was a similar story in the lower under 40hp (30kw) range, down 13 per cent in August and 10 per cent on a yearly basis.

Combine Harvester sales are tracking sideways with levels at around half of last year’s sales and this trend is expected to continue through harvest season.

That said it will be no surprise to anyone to learn that dealers stock levels are strong across the board, so the opportunity to upgrade will be compelling.

Baler sales continue to be the one high point in the market as the demand for hay is still strong. August sales were up 46 per cent on last year and are now 22 per cent ahead on a year to date basis.

Finally, sales of Out Front Mowers bounced another 10 per cent in the month in preparation for the grass growing season, now sitting in line with last year on a yearly basis.

The results from the TMA’s quarterly business survey of dealers are now in and highlight a continuation of the pessimistic outlook. Dealers are generally reporting low levels of confidence in the outlook along with a generally poor order bank, all of which will be driven by the rainfall outlook.

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