Nationwide slowing as drought bites across the country
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.