Machinery sales forging ahead
July has seen another particularly strong month for sales of agricultural equipment across Australia off the back of what was a record June.
The impact of dry conditions in many parts of Australia has been particularly noticeable in WA and SA where tractor volumes are down, however recent rains there have provided a spark of hope of a return to healthy sales conditions.
Tractor sales across the nation were up 5.6 per cent on last month and are now 10 per cent above the same time last year.
Sales in Queensland were the standout, up 22 per cent on the previous month and now sitting 14 per cent up on last year.
Victorian sales were again strong and now sit 28 per cent up on last year, NSW is right in line with last year, while activity in the NT and Tasmania have been particularly strong, both sitting nearly 30 per cent up on last year.
As stated earlier, Western Australia and South Australia have seen a slowdown in tractor sales compared to last year; the West in particular has been hardest hit and is now 11 per cent down on the same time last year.
The strength of the under-40hp or ‘leisure’ market continues to support many in the industry, growing a further 15 per cent this year on what was a strong 2016.
The larger end of the local market is also quite strong with many new tractor models impressing customers with new levels of performance.
The 100hp to 200hp range is up 12 per cent on last year and the larger range above 200hp sits about 8 per cent ahead.
The distribution of sales continues to reflect the move towards larger capacity tractors and, with extensive competition in the market, buyers are capitalising on the opportunity to upgrade.
Combine harvester sales are expected to occur in volume over the next two months in time for harvest and we should see another healthy year, although winter weather conditions may dampen sales somewhat this year.
Harvester sales tend to occur on the basis of around 50 per cent committed at the end of each harvest and around 50 per cent purchased from stock units that manufacturers import in anticipation of further sales.
We are seeing some signs of caution in the market which are being reflected in forward demand.
Baler sales have been a little down on last year’s very high numbers due in part to the variable weather conditions and finally, sales of out-front mowers, linked to the leisure market, continue to surpass last year’s numbers.
Gary Northover is executive director of the Tractor & Machinery Association of Australia (TMA). He can be contacted on (03) 9867 4289 or email@example.com