In­dus­try View

Big trac­tor sales are fly­ing

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

Aus­tralian farm ma­chin­ery sales are be­ing led by the larger end at present, with sales in dol­lar terms now 10 per cent up on an an­nual ba­sis. With big-ticket trac­tors above 200hp ex­pe­ri­enc­ing boom con­di­tions and grain har­vesters get­ting set for a big sea­son, up 11 per cent for the month and 12 per cent on a year-to-date ba­sis, the large end is bring­ing some joy to the big­ger play­ers.

Sales in South Aus­tralia en­joyed a bump of 5 per cent and, while down in Septem­ber, Western Aus­tralian sales are right in line with last year. Over­all unit sales are track­ing a volatile path at present with Septem­ber sales record­ing an across-the-board de­cline of

5.5 per cent in unit numbers fol­low­ing a very strong Au­gust.

As we’ve stated in the past, it can be un­wise to read too much into one month’s fig­ures as the year-to-date numbers are in line with this time last year. That said, there are a num­ber of short-term fac­tors at play which are af­fect­ing the monthly numbers.

It is also clear that many ma­chine de­liv­er­ies, par­tic­u­larly in hay and live­stock sec­tors, have been de­layed due to the se­vere weather be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced in the south/south-east of the coun­try. Vic­to­rian sales were once again down an­other 20 per cent and are now 16 per cent be­hind last year. The well-doc­u­mented stress in the dairy sec­tor is seen as the ma­jor con­trib­u­tor, al­though there are in­di­ca­tions that many dairy farm­ers are tak­ing the op­por­tu­nity to re­fi­nance their equip­ment while in­ter­est rates are still low, so this seg­ment may not be as dire as some ex­pect.

The un­der-40hp range, in­clud­ing the ‘hobby farmer’ seg­ment, re­mains quiet due pri­mar­ily to the pro­longed wet sea­son which has kept grass lev­els low. Sen­ti­ment in this space is also be­ing tested by such things as share-mar­ket volatil­ity, with many of these end users learn­ing to live with lower-than-ex­pected re­turns on their re­tire­ment funds. How­ever, when the warm weather fi­nally does ar­rive, we ex­pect to see a boom in this seg­ment.

New South Wales was once again the stand­out, up 21 per cent on last month and now up 17 per cent on a year-to-date ba­sis due largely to the very strong crop­ping sec­tor in the north­ern part of the state. Queens­land is shar­ing some of this ben­e­fit, down 7 per cent for the month but in line for the full year.

Fol­low­ing a huge sales leap in Au­gust, com­bine har­vesters de­liv­ered an­other crack­ing re­sult, up 12 per cent. Baler sales, how­ever, dropped back and are around 10 per cent down on last year, due largely to wet weather and on­go­ing dairy sec­tor dif­fi­cul­ties. Fi­nally, out-front mower sales con­tinue to soar, up 9 per cent on last month and 17 per cent on a rolling 12 months.

Aus­tralian trac­tor sup­pli­ers re­main quite bullish with re­gards to the for­ward out­look. There have been some chal­lenges en­vi­ron­men­tally, how­ever the grain and crop har­vest­ing ac­tiv­ity is ex­pected to con­tinue strongly into the near fu­ture.

We would like to say a big thanks to all in­volved in re­cent field days, par­tic­u­larly at Henty and El­more. The TMA has con­tin­ued its in­volve­ment in both events, cul­mi­nat­ing in the award­ing of the best Aus­tralian Agri­cul­tural Ma­chine Award at Henty to Lan­daco for their Max­is­pread TS1200 vari­able spreader, and TISCA at El­more for the Batwing Wood Slasher. Con­grat­u­la­tions to all.

GARY NORTHOVER is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Trac­tor & Ma­chin­ery As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia (TMA). He can be con­tacted on (03) 9867 4289 or via email at

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