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September 9, 2023

Further drop in Tractor Sales in August

The recent trend of declining tractor sales has continued in August with a significant 46% drop compared to the same month last year. In a month that saw only 900 tractors sold, the heady days of 2021 and 2022 are now well and truly over. This result puts the year-to-date figure down 22% when compared with the same time last year with falls being felt right across the nation and applying to all size categories. Several factors are driving this correction as we come off what has been an unprecedented period of sales activity. Machinery prices are high and look to be remaining so, recent interest rate rises are impacting the cost of finance and the expectations of a drier summer have caused some farmers to reconsider their machinery purchases. Despite this, we remain on track for a total year’s sales volume of around 12,000 – 13,000 units which by any measure is considered a strong year for the industry.

On the supply side, we are still experiencing some logistical challenges although these appear to be confined to RoRo (Roll on Roll off) product. Because of the ongoing delays in processing machines through quarantine inspections, availability of shipping space remains limited thus putting continued pressure on delivery times. The situation does not appear likely to fix itself overnight and as such, all importers are having to make contingency plans to ensure stock arrives within reasonable lead times.

Looking around the nation, Victoria was the worst performing state off 56% on the same month last year to be 29%behind year to date. Queensland was down 43% and is now 18% behind year to date, NSW was down 44% to be 22% off YTD.  Sales in Western Australia reported a drop of 44% and remains 21% behind last year. South Australia recorded a 46% decline and now sits 13% behind YTD and Tasmania was off 16% for the month, 24%down YTD with sales in the NT finishing 53% down remaining 16% down YTD.

Falls were experienced in all machine categories where we find that the small under 40 hp (30kw) category was down by 31% for the month and is now 21% behind year to date. The 40 to 100hp (30-75kw) range was also down 47% and is now 22% behind year to date, the 100 to 200hp (75-150 kw) category was down, this time by 58% and remains 26% behind YTD and finally the 200 hp (150kw) PLUS range slipped, down 43% remaining 15% behind last year.

Sales of Combine Harvesters experienced a down month with around 400 units delivered in the year so far which is 49% up on the same time last year. With reports of a strong winter harvest and expectations of a healthy summer crop, we appear to be in for another outstanding year ahead for combines. Baler sales enjoyed another healthy rise and are now 14% ahead on a year-to-date basis and sales of Out – Front Mowers remain in line with the same time last year.