Another decline in tractor sales for October shows a further return to normal sales levels after record highs, the Tractor and Machinery Association says
The market for tractor sales in Australia has seen further declines in October and now sit 24 per cent behind the same time last year. While the level of decline appears high, there has been around 12,000 tractors sold already in 2023 which is in line with what has traditionally been regarded as a strong year for sales.
For some months now, we have been reporting a slowdown in demand due to the predicted onset of drier weather along with the ongoing increases in interest rates.
Clearly there is still solid demand for new machinery in the market though, as recent rains have brought some encouragement to farmers in the near term.
Dealers continue to report solid inventory levels across the board with the biggest challenge being able to supply the precise machine being requested.
Supply chain bottlenecks appear to be easing, due mainly to the lower volumes of machines coming into the country.
This is particularly the case for containerised freight which is moving smoothly.
Roll-on, roll-off freight continues to present the odd challenge due mainly to the stringent quarantine regulations in place which can have the effect of sidelining entire shipments if a single problem is detected.
This can be particularly stressful for time sensitive deliveries such as those required for harvest.
Looking around the nation, all states have experienced significant drops in the month, beginning with Queensland, which was down 26 per cent against the same month last year to be 21 per cent behind for the year to date.
New South Wales was down 34 per cent to be 25 per cent off for the year to date, while Victoria was off 27 per cent compared to last October and is now 28 per cent behind year to date.
Sales in Western Australia were in line with last year and remains 19 per cent behind last year.
South Australia recorded another big decline, off 45 per cent for the month, and now sits 20 per cent behind year to date.
Tasmania was off 17 per cent for the month and is 21 per cent down on the year to date, with sales in the Northern Territory finishing 8 per cent down on last October, remaining 13 per cent down year to date.
Falls were experienced in all machine categories where we find that the small, under-40 hp (30kw) category was down by 41 per cent for the month and is now 25 per cent behind for the year to date.
The 40hp to 100hp (30-75kw) range was also down 32 per cent and is now 25 per cent behind year to date.
The 100hp to 200hp (75-150 kw) category was down, this time by 19 per cent, and it remains 25 per cent behind year to date.
Finally, the 200hp plus (150kw plus) range slipped by 8 per cent, remaining 16 per cent behind last year.
Sales of combine harvesters have somewhat stalled and are now in line with last year, with just under 800 units sold so far in 2023.
Baler sales enjoyed another healthy rise and are now 15 per cent ahead on a year-to-date basis, while sales of out-front mowers are down by around 4 per cent compared with the same time last year.
In summary, there has been a noticeable pullback in machinery sales.
While the current sales volumes can be described as good, the TMA remains cautious about the outlook for 2024 where the full impact of climate conditions, commodity prices, machinery price rises, and higher interest rates have a fuller effect.