In­dus­try View

Har­vest time spelled good news for trac­tor sales in Oc­to­ber

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

Ma­chin­ery mar­ket on fire

Sales of agri­cul­tural ma­chines across Aus­tralia have ex­pe­ri­enced a healthy jump in Oc­to­ber, driven largely by the up­ward move­ment in har­vest­ing equip­ment.

Aus­tralian trac­tor sales are headed for the mag­i­cal 12,000 mark, with Oc­to­ber sales 15 per cent up on last month and 8 per cent up in dol­lar terms on an an­nual ba­sis. The slow start to the year for trac­tors un­der 40hp was re­versed with an in­crease of 28 per cent on the pre­vi­ous month, due largely to the im­proved weather con­di­tions bring­ing smaller users and own­ers back to the ta­ble.

Big-ticket trac­tors above 200hp are con­tin­u­ing to move in large num­bers, now 12 per cent up on a year-to-date ba­sis. The 100hp200hp range was again strong, up 18 per cent, with the 40hp100hp record­ing a 4 per cent lift.

Sales of trac­tors were up across the na­tion – and even in Vic­to­ria, which is still strug­gling to repli­cate last years’ lev­els. Deal­ers are in­di­cat­ing an im­proved ap­petite from the dairy sec­tor as it di­gests the full im­pact of its farm-gate price chal­lenges, some of which is be­ing off­set by cheaper in­put costs – in­clud­ing fod­der prices.

Else­where in the na­tion, New South Wales in par­tic­u­lar re­mains the hotspot, up 25 per cent for the month and now 19 per cent up on a year-to-date ba­sis.

Queens­land sales roared back to life with a mas­sive 44 per cent in­crease on last month, but grain har­vesters are the big story, with 318 units sold across the na­tion in Oc­to­ber.

This brings the year-to-date num­ber to 727 – up a whop­ping 100 units on the same time last year.

It is well known that the ma­jor­ity of the year’s har­vester sales have been sched­uled to oc­cur dur­ing this spring pe­riod. How­ever, even al­low­ing for this, sup­pli­ers have been re­port­ing un­heard-of lev­els of de­mand from the mar­ket­place.

Many re­gions of the coun­try have re­cently re­ported prob­lem­atic weather con­di­tions for this year’s har­vest sea­son, so one can only spec­u­late about the un­der­ly­ing de­mand dur­ing this pe­riod, and what might have been pos­si­ble had the late spring rains not oc­curred.

We have, in past years, seen a boom-and-bust cy­cle with har­vester sales, where lots of ma­chines are traded in and the in­dus­try suf­fers from an over­hang for the next few years.

This sea­son is see­ing a lot of good-qual­ity used equip­ment be­ing sold, deal­ers are re­port­ing sales de­mand even this late into the har­vest­ing sea­son, and many farm­ers ap­pear to be buy­ing di­rect rather than re­ly­ing solely on con­trac­tors – all of which points to a healthy out­look.

Hay and for­age equip­ment sales are down slightly on last year’s lev­els due to the late­ness of the sea­son, while the sales of out-front mow­ers con­tinue at some­what un­ex­pected lev­els, now sit­ting 20 per cent ahead on a year-on-year ba­sis.

There is no doubt that trac­tor and ma­chin­ery sales are en­joy­ing an ex­tremely buoy­ant time at present. Cli­mate chal­lenges have taken the edge off in some re­gions and seg­ments, but th­ese are be­ing off­set by above-av­er­age de­mand else­where, all lead­ing to po­ten­tially an­other record year.

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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