In­dus­try view

Oc­to­ber ma­chine sales have stead­ied after Septem­ber’s dip

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

Fol­low­ing a dra­matic down­turn in Septem­ber where sales of trac­tors dropped markedly, Oc­to­ber has seen a steady­ing of the ship with a slight re­cov­ery in ma­chine sales oc­cur­ring.

This was partly due to some ‘end of year fi­nan­cial plan­ning’ from some man­u­fac­tur­ers which may have over­in­flated the po­si­tion a lit­tle.

Over­all, trac­tor sales were down around 2.5 per cent com­pared to last Oc­to­ber and are now broadly in line with last year on a year to date (YTD) ba­sis.

Queens­land and WA recorded slight im­prove­ments, up around 1 per cent each for the month – with WA up a healthy 8 per cent on last year, and Queens­land still trail­ing, down 3.5 per cent YTD.

Vic­to­rian sales con­tinue to track last year while Tas­ma­nia (up 8 per cent), South Aus­tralia (up 10 per cent) and North­ern Ter­ri­tory (up 8 per cent) are record­ing bumper years.

The most drought af­fected re­gions of NSW con­tinue to be hard hit, with sales this month down an­other 13 per cent, which puts the state’s sales at 8 per cent be­hind where they were last year.

Of the trac­tor types, large trac­tor sales were the or­der of the day for Oc­to­ber, with sales up 14 per cent for the month in the 100–200 hp (74.6–149kW) cat­e­gory – putting sales at 8 per cent ahead of last year.

This seg­ment, nor­mally as­so­ci­ated with row crop­ping, has been strong for some time now and re­flects the healthy state of our veg­etable, hor­ti­cul­ture and viti­cul­ture seg­ments na­tion­wide.

Sales of trac­tors over 200hp were 26 per cent month on month, par­tially im­pacted by the afore­men­tioned end of fi­nan­cial year ac­tiv­ity, and have made up ground to now be only 7 per cent be­hind YTD.

We are be­gin­ning to see signs of abate­ment in de­mand for large trac­tors, gen­er­ally used in broad­acre farm­ing, due to con­sol­i­da­tion in large broad­acre op­er­a­tions and to chang­ing cli­matic con­di­tions.

Ul­ti­mately, own­ers of trac­tors in this size range de­mand an ad­e­quate re­turn on their in­vest­ment and we ex­pect to see greater em­pha­sis on ma­chine util­i­sa­tion be­fore the next buy­ing cy­cle re­sumes.

Ac­tiv­ity in the small size ranges has been rea­son­ably hard hit, with the un­der 40hp (29.8kW) seg­ment in par­tic­u­lar down 10 per cent for the month and 7 per cent YTD.

We be­lieve the mar­ket is now ap­ply­ing a de­gree of cau­tion in light of the pend­ing elec­tion cy­cle and share mar­ket volatil­ity, as the “leisure mar­ket” for trac­tors of­ten tracks do­mes­tic eco­nomic sen­ti­ment.

There were 233 com­bine har­vesters de­liv­ered in Oc­to­ber, which was down on last year’s level. The ex­pec­ta­tion is that this will be about as good as it gets for har­vesters this year as sup­pli­ers be­gin to look to­wards sales pro­grams for 2019.

Bailer sales have made a re­cov­ery off what was a cycli­cal low and are now 13 per cent up on last year and once again Out Front Mow­ers were slow, down 27 per cent for the month and now 14 per cent be­hind last year.

Gary Northover is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Trac­tor & Ma­chin­ery As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia (TMA). He can be con­tacted on (03) 9867 4289 or [email protected]

Left: Sales of trac­tors of be­tween 100–200hp (74.6–149kW) are 8 per cent higher than they were last year

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