Na­tion­wide slow­ing as drought bites across the coun­try

Mansfield Courier - - Property Guide -

TRAC­TOR sales slid four per cent over­all for 2018 as the RQ ÀRZ RI GURXJKW FRQGLWLRQV moved into machin­ery sales.

Con­ser­va­tive sales saw the ¿UVW \HDU RI GHFOLQH DIWHU ¿YH con­tin­u­ous years of growth for the in­dus­try.

0DQV¿HOG LV KRPH WR WZR trac­tor deal­ers – one on Dead­horse Lane, and a Ki­oti dealer at 6WLKO 6KRS 0DQV¿HOG

Hav­ing taken ar­rival of the ¿UVW VWRFN MXVW D IHZ PRQWKV DJR Stihl Shop owner, Mark Cronin, said he was pleased with the sales so far.

“We’ve had a good take up of trac­tors since we be­gan sell­ing them, sell­ing prod­ucts through­out the range; from 26 to more than 105 horse power.

Mr Cronin said that while he was not sur­prised by the VWDWH GRZQWXUQ 0DQV¿HOG KDG been some­what shel­tered by the drought con­di­tions bit­ing else­where.

“We have been very for­tu­nate in com­par­i­son to other parts of the state – and the coun­try - it’s re­ally only been the last three weeks that things have slowed down; prior to that, it’s been a good sea­son,” Mr Cronin said.

Gary Northover, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor with the Trac­tor and Machin­ery As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia, said the on­go­ing im­pact of drought in the eastern states would be felt for some time but in gen­eral, “farm­ers are ex­pected to view pur­chases a lit­tle more con­ser­va­tively in the pe­riod ahead”.

“Not un­like in­vestors in other ¿HOGV RI WKH EURDGHU HFRQRP\ the tight­en­ing of lend­ing by the banks and re­duc­tions in the ex­change rate, while good for com­mod­ity ex­ports, will also im­pact,” Mr Northover said.

Many deal­er­ships in the North (DVW UHJLRQ VDLG LW ZDV QRW MXVW the dry year that had hit hard, but also the frost.

Leo Schoonder­beek, from Konigs in Shep­par­ton, said farm­ers ev­ery­where were do­ing it tough.

“The drought is num­ber one – it af­fects ev­ery area of the agri­cul­ture and pri­mary in­dus­tries.

“Se­cond is frost – frost has been ex­tremely se­vere over the last six months, which has cre­ated, in some ar­eas, worse dis­as­ters than drought.

“Peo­ple don’t re­alise how harm­ful frosts can be to grain crops – it’s been dev­as­tat­ing.”

It has been pre­dicted that trac­tor sales this year will hold at sim­i­lar lev­els to 2018, with a slight in­crease set for 2020.

The big­gest pull­back was seen in the small un­der 40HP sec­tor, with sales down 10 per cent for the year.

The 40hp to 100hp group was down also, six per cent be­hind last year, with the broad­acre trac­tors – those over 200hp – down eight per cent over­all.

“The best per­form­ing cat­e­gory for the year con­tin­ues to be the 100hp - 200hp seg­ment, em­pha­sis­ing the strength of the “row crop­ping” mar­ket,” Mr Northover said.

Around the na­tion it was, not sur­pris­ingly, NSW that was hard­est hit - be­ing 11 per cent be­hind last year, with De­cem­ber be­ing a fur­ther 25 per cent down.

“Vic­to­rian sales strug­gled DORQJ WKURXJK WKH \HDU ¿QLVKLQJ three per cent be­hind,” Mr Northover said.

+DUYHVWHU VDOHV IRU WKH \HDU ¿Q ished well down on 2017, al­most 200 units less com­pared to 2017.

In con­trast, baler sales had a year of re­cov­ery, up 14 per cent on the pre­vi­ous year as many turned to hay pro­duc­tion in the face of dwin­dling crop yields.

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