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December 8, 2019

Further declines in Ag Equipment Sales 

Agricultural tractors have suffered another large decline down 16% compared to November last year and are now 11% behind last year.

The full year picture is now down to a forecast of less than 11,000 tractors and the promise of the market holding at a reasonable level in 2020 is now diminishing. A forecast in the range of 9,000 tractors is predicted which is well down on the recent peak years of 12,000 plus sales.

Falls continued in all size categories in all states with the dismal picture in NSW at the forefront suffering the greatest declines with a further 28% drop in November, now 20% behind last year. Queensland slipped another 19% in the month and is now 8% behind for the year.  Western Australia, which until recent times had been reporting sales increases, dropped a whopping 35% for the month and is now just 1% ahead of last year. South Australian Sales continue to struggle, down 6% in November and now 25% behind last year.

Victorian activity remains reasonable strong, in line with the same month last year and just 3% behind for the 12 months. The horticultural and wine growing markets appear to be travelling well in the Southern States and this is felt to be a big part of Victoria’s activity. Lastly Tasmanian sales dipped but remain 4% ahead YTD and sales in the NT are sitting in line with last year.

Sales in the 200hp (150kw) and above range were again down substantially, 22% behind for the month and now 6% behind YTD. The 100 to 200hp (75-150kw) steadied, in line for the month remaining 11 % behind last year. The 40 to 100hp (30-75kw) range was also down 19% now sitting 13% behind last year. The under 40hp (30kw) range, struggled, down 27% in November remaining 10% behind on a yearly basis.

It’s been a bad year for Combine Harvester Sales, now more than 20% behind last year with very little being reported in the way of forward orders. The relative strength in WA is being more than offset by the impact of the eastern states drought and it will take some year’s yet for this market to fully recover.

Demand for Hay has been strong all year, but this too is showing signs of tapering. Baler Sales dipped 18% in November but remain 14 % ahead on a year to date basis.

Finally, sales of Out Front Mowers dropped considerably, down 34% in the month now sitting 5% behind last year on a yearly basis.

The TMA recently published its Quarterly Dealer Business Sentiment Survey and the results reflect the widespread challenges being faced by dealers across the country.

Looking to 2020

  • over 50% of dealers expect Turnover to decline,41% of dealers expect turnover to remain unchanged.
  • Sales of new equipment is expected to remain unchanged with stocks of new machinery held on dealers floors considered to be average.
  • Used equipment stocks are also considered to be at average levels for both tractors and combine harvesters whereas for balers, hay equipment, SP sprayers and Implements inventory levels are considered to be low.
  • Parts Inventory levels are trending higher but still below the high levels recorded in September 2018.
  • Despite tougher trading conditions there has been an increase in the number of dealers who see no reason to change their employment levels.

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. Full program details will be shared early in the new year.

Gary Northover, Executive Director, TMA