Steady ma­chin­ery

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - NEWS - — Gary Northover is Trac­tor & Ma­chin­ery As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor

FOL­LOW­ING a dra­matic down­turn in Septem­ber when sales of trac­tors dropped markedly, Oc­to­ber has seen a steady­ing of the ship with a slight re­cov­ery in ma­chine sales tak­ing place.

This was partly be­cause of some “end-of-year fi­nan­cial plan­ning” from some man­u­fac­tur­ers that may have over-in­flated the po­si­tion a lit­tle.

The story across the na­tion was rea­son­able, but the most drought-af­fected re­gions of NSW con­tinue to be hard hit, with sales still in de­cline.

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

Queens­land and Western Aus­tralia recorded slight im­prove­ments, up about

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.

Vic­to­rian sales con­tinue to track last year while the bumper years in Tas­ma­nia (up 8 per cent), South Aus­tralia (up 10 per cent) and North­ern Ter­ri­tory (up 8 per cent) round out the story.

NSW is hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time, with the month down an­other 13 per cent, and that state now sits 8 per cent be­hind last year.

Larger trac­tor sales were strong in Oc­to­ber — the 100hp to 200hp cat­e­gory was the strong­est, with sales up 14 per cent for the month and now 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 Aus­tralia’s vegetable, hor­ti­cul­ture and viti­cul­ture seg­ments na­tion­wide.

The large range above 200hp had a great month, up 26 per cent (par­tially im­pacted by the EOFY ac­tiv­ity) and has made up ground, now only 7 per cent be­hind year-to-date.

These trac­tors tend to be most closely as­so­ci­ated with broad­acre farm­ing and we are be­gin­ning to see signs of abate­ment in the de­mand for large trac­tors, due not only to the cli­matic con­di­tions, but also in re­sponse to the on­go­ing con­sol­i­da­tion be­ing seen in large broad­acre op­er­a­tions.

Ul­ti­mately, own­ers of 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 range of trac­tors has been rea­son­ably hard hit.

The un­der 40hp seg­ment in par­tic­u­lar is down 10 per cent for the month and 7 per cent year-to-date.

This seg­ment, which con­tains the “leisure mar­ket”, ap­pears to track do­mes­tic eco­nomic sen­ti­ment in many ways, and the TMA be­lieves a mea­sure of cau­tion is be­ing ap­plied in re­sponse to such things as the Bank­ing Royal Com­mis­sion, share­mar­ket volatil­ity and the pend­ing elec­tion cy­cle.

There were 233 com­bine har­vesters de­liv­ered in Oc­to­ber, down on last year.

Baler sales have made a re­cov­ery off what was a cycli­cal low and are

13 per cent up on last year, while out-front mow­ers were once again slow, down

27 per cent for the month and 14 per cent on last year.

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