September Ag equipment sales show resilience

By: Gary Northover

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Market still wary as September 2019 ag equipment sales rise against last September, according to data released by the Tractor & Machinery Association

A tractor takes part in barley harvesting, alongside a combine harvester and chaser bin near Lock, on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula. Image courtesy Alamy.
A tractor takes part in barley harvesting, alongside a combine harvester and chaser bin near Lock, on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula. Image courtesy Alamy.

Tractor sales strengthened in September after a series of bad news stories, rising 3.3 per cent against last September, but remaining around 11 per cent behind 2018 on a full year basis.

Whilst confidence remains generally down, and order banks are slim, there has been a reasonable amount of deal making in the market, with dealers keen to quit stock at less margin than normal.


TMA tractor sales data from September 2018 can be found here


The improvement in sales for the month was shared across 3 of the 4 size ranges.

Sales in the 200 horsepower (150kW) and above range were the standout, up 20 per cent for the month and now 2.2 per cent behind year to date.

The 100 to 200hp (75-150kW) segment also enjoyed a lift, up 4 per cent for the month but remaining 12 per cent behind last year.

The 40 to 100hp (30-75kW) range was the only category not to report a lift for the month, down 3 per cent now sitting 13 per cent behind last year and the under 40hp (30kW) range enjoyed a 2.3 per cent rise in September, now 10 per cent down on a yearly basis.

Across the nation, NSW reported its first rise compared to the same month last year for some time, up 6.2 per cent, driven by a mix of 0-40 hp machines and larger above 200hp units, now 20 per cent behind last year. Queensland reported another dip with only the 40- 100hp range up, down 5 per cent in the month and now 7 per cent behind for the year.

Victoria had a very solid month, driven by buoyant conditions overall, up 23 per cent on the same month last year but remaining 5 per cent behind for the full year. Victoria has accounted for just over 30 per cent of industry sales in this quarter and is playing a pivotal role in the supporting the market.

South Australian sales continue to struggle, down another 39 per cent to be 26 per cent behind last year – anecdotally we believe the market there has been consuming a lot more used equipment than usual. Tasmanian sales continue to roll along, now 7 per cent ahead YTD and sales in the NT dropped for the month, now 7 per cent behind last year.

Combine harvester sales are continuing to follow the trend, down 23 per cent compared to September 2018 to now be 16 per cent behind on a 12 month basis. Little to no activity in NSW is being offset to an extent by activity in Victoria, SA and WA.

Baler sales continue to be the one high point in the market. September sales were up 43 per cent on last year and are now 34 per cent ahead on a year to date basis.

Suppliers are reporting that demand for hay is so strong that the use of contractors to cut hay is "maxed out" forcing many growers to take matters into their own hands and purchase equipment to do the job.

Finally, sales of Out-front mowers bounced another 20 per cent in the month in preparation for the grass growing season, now sitting slightly behind on a yearly basis.

With the Field Day season upon us, we have been able to gauge sentiment in the market a little more closely and the message continues to be one of concern in the medium term with hoped for summer rains appearing unlikely.

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