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February 13, 2020

Downbeat beginning to 2020 for Ag Equipment Sales 

Following on from December’s end of year rush where we saw a 7.5% lift, tractor sales have, not surprisingly, been well down for January,  behind 16% on the same month last year.

Dealers have generally reported that, the impact of the extreme weather events along with the prolonged bushfire season have considerably impacted what demand there was in the market.

Whilst it’s early days yet, the heavens have opened up and at the time of writing, the bushfires have all but been extinguished and a fair degree of optimism has return to Agriculture with some hope for farmers planting late summer crops particularly given the solid commodity prices still being achieved.

The story in January however was nothing short of dismal in NSW, down 33% on last January and Queensland which was down 27%. The story in South Australia was not much better, off 19% for the month whilst Victoria was the one bright spot, up 2.5% for the month. Western Australia was in line with last year.

January sales were strongest in the 100 to 200hp (75-150kw) category, up 2.6 %. The 200hp (150kw) and above range was down 13% for the month, the 40 to 100hp (30-75kw) range was also down 20% and the under 40hp (30kw) range again struggled, down 31%.

Despite the positive outlook provided by the current rains, we still expect tractor sales to be down this year with early predictions putting the total at around 10,000 units. The impact of the drought is likely to be felt for some time yet and 2020 is unlikely to be the year of full recovery. That said, very low interest rates combined with strong inventory levels means that buying opportunities for farmers should remain strong throughout.

Conditions for Combine Harvester Sales continue to be very challenging with only a small number of sales completing in January. Importantly, it is generally around this time of the year that forward orders are placed for deliveries later in the year and the outlook for these is presently mixed across the nation.

Hay Baler sales have taken a bit of a breather in January, down 29 % on last year’s bumper result however the prevailing view is that demand will still be very strong and anything that can be cut, will be cut, so we are expecting another strong year for baler sales.

Lastly, out front mower sales were well down in January, off 50% for the month.

Lastly, the date for the 2020 TMA Conference has been set at Tuesday July 21st to be held once again at the Hyatt Place Melbourne, Essendon Fields. This year’s event will be themed “Towards 2030” and will be focused on the challenges expected in areas such as autonomy, sales and marketing effectiveness and many more as we launch into a new decade.

Full program details will be shared in the next couple of months, another not to be missed event.

Gary Northover
Executive Director