Low 2020 ag equipment sales outlook

By: Gary Northover

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Despite a December uptick, the Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia predicts at least 1,000 fewer tractors will be sold in 2020.

Low 2020 ag equipment sales outlook
December tractor sales saw a brief uptick, but predictions for 2020 are negative. Image: Bill Bachman / Alamy Stock Photo


The market for agricultural equipment in 2019 ended with some very distinct winners and some very distinct losers.

Tractor sales in Victoria have been strong as has been the case in WA.

Baler sales have boomed as farmers turn failed crops into forage.

Combine Harvester sales have stalled as the broadacre market suffers and self-propelled sprayers have also struggled.  We expect 2020 to be even more challenging.   

Click here to see what sales of agricultural vehicles were doing in November

Agricultural tractor sales have benefited from and end of year rush with December sales up 7.5 per cent for the month compared to December 2018.

The full year has now experienced a 9 per cent fall compared to 2018 with just over 11,000 tractors sold.

Whilst a pleasing end to the year, it remains to be seen to what extent dealers have brought forward future sales in order to finish the year positively.

Despite achieving what is a fairly positive result, expectations for 2020 remain somewhat pessimistic with a predicted level in the range of 9,000 – 10,000 tractors, well down on the recent peak years of 12,000 plus sales.

The continuation of severe drought, water shortages and crippling bushfires are having a devastating effect on many of our major industries in most states. Victoria remains somewhat of a bright spot with the December month up 22 per cent on last year finishing the full year in line with 2019.

Queensland sales finished strongly, up 6 per cent for the month but finished the year down 7 per cent. The struggles in NSW continue with another 12 per cent fall in December finishing the year 20 per cent down on 2018.

Activity in the West continues to drift, finishing the year in line with last year but down 6 per cent in December.

Times were tough in South Australia in 2019, down 21 per cent on 2018 whilst Tasmania and the Northern Territory reported the only regional increases up 5 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.

December sales were strongest in the larger size ranges, sales in the 200hp (150kw) and above range were up 5 per cent behind for the month but finished the year 5 per cent behind.

The 100 to 200hp (75-150kw) was again strong, up 15 per cent for the month remaining 9 per cent behind last year.

The 40 to 100hp (30-75kw) range was also up 10 per cent now sitting 12 per cent behind last year.

The under 40hp (30kw) range struggled, down 5 per cent in December to be 10 per cent behind on a yearly basis.

It’sbeen a tough time for combine harvester sales, finishing the year 20 per cent behind last year with very little being reported in the way of forward orders.

Compounding this is the level of overhanging inventory, some as old as two years now which will likely be clogging up the supply chain as new models begin to hit the market.

As previously reported, demand for hay has been strong all year resulting in a bumper year for baler sales, particularly large square balers, finishing the year 15 per cent ahead of 2018.

Finally, sales of out front mowers dropped considerably, down 42 per cent in the month finishing 5 per cent behind last year.

Lastly, the date for the 2020 TMA Conference has been set at Tuesday July 21st to be held once again at the Hyatt Place Melbourne, Essendon Fields. Full program details will be shared early in the new year.

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