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August 12, 2019

Downbeat month for Ag Equipment Sales Market  

The Tractor and Machinery Association (TMA) held its annual conference at the Hyatt Essendon Fields on July 16 and was strongly attended by manufacturers, dealers and affiliates from around the nation.

Delegates were treated to a range of presentations centred around the theme “Know Your Customer” in an effort to sharpen the focus on the needs of tomorrow’s customer.

The general mood in the group was one of caution with regard to the sales outlook with each new month bringing a whole new set of surprises, indeed this was reflected in July sales where we saw a sharp drop as it becomes clear that sales were generally brought forward in June to coincide with the end of the financial year thus leaving a gap in demand for the start of the new year.

Overall tractor sales for the month were down 17% on the same month last year leading to a year to date figure which is now 11% behind last year.

Falls were felt in all size categories with the larger end copping the brunt.

Sales in the 200hp (150kw) and above range were down substantially, 24% behind for the month and now 1% behind YTD. The 100 to 200hp (75-150kw) segment also suffered a big drop down 18% for the month remaining 14 % behind last year. The 40 to 100hp (30-75kw) range was also down 18% now sitting 12% behind last year and it was a similar story in the lower under 40hp (30kw) range, down 13% in July and 10% on a yearly basis.

Across the nation, it continues to be NSW suffering the greatest drop, now 21% behind last year following a 31% drop in July. Queensland is showing modest signs of recovery, only 3% behind for July and now 6% behind last year. Victoria had a particularly down month 24% behind and are now 9% behind on a full year basis. South Australian sales continue to lag noticeably, another 30% drop in July sees them now 20% behind YTD.

Out in the West business continues to flourish with a solid July up 7% now puts them 10% ahead of last year, lastly Tasmanian sales are having a good year, up 24% in July and now 9% ahead YTD and sales in the NT dropped 10% for the month now 3% behind last year.

Harvester Sales are tracking in line with last year and continue to be impacted by decline in Northern NSW grain production. Full Year estimates remain in the range of 550 units to occur. This is down from the mid 800’s level of the past few years.

Baler Sales continue to perform well as the demand for hay is still strong. In particular the large square balers have been popular driven by growers turning failed crops into forage. Whilst down 3% for the month, overall Balers are now 41% up on last year.

Finally, sales of Out Front Mowers bounced another 15% in the month in preparation for the grass growing season, now sitting in line with last year on a yearly basis.

In summary, we expect to see a year down on previous records by around 10%-15% typically comprised of some good news and some bad news. Current rainfall does of course give some cause for optimism.

Gary Northover
Executive Director TMA