It would appear that the steam is beginning to run out for Sales of Agricultural Equipment across Australia with sales steadying and sentiment beginning to soften.
It is clear that the various, well publicised weather events that have been occurring across the country are now having an impact as expectations for another record season have been well and truly dampened.
September saw Tractor Sales in line with last month and 10% ahead on a year to date basis. This month was dominated by the 100-200 hip category which was up 17% and ahead 13% year to date. This segment seems to be driven by activity in the dairy sector where interest in this size range has been strong for some time.
The under 40hp range was down 10% on last month, the first monthly fall we have seen for some time, still up 12.5% for the year. It is in this segment more generally that a level of saturation may finally be occurring. Whilst the fundamentals underpinning this market, known as the leisure market, are still strong, buying activity has been hectic for some time and some in the industry are suggesting that a temporary lull may be occuring
Demand for tractors in the other 2 size ranges, 40-100Hp and 200Hp and above, was in line with last month and 5%-7% up on last year.
Across the nation, Queensland sales were once again strong, 12% up on last month and the same amount on last year. SA had a particularly strong month, up 30% and now placed 10% up on the same time last year. NSW was steady, reflecting the variable weather conditions being experienced there and after a slow start and some late rain, WA sales bounced up slightly on last month.
There are now signs that Combine Harvester sales have slowed considerably as a result of the reduced harvest this year. Given that many harvesters are ordered around nine (9) months in advance, the sales figures to date reflect a very healthy position 20% up on last month and a whopping 30% up on last year. Undermining this position though is a lack of optimism for further ex stock orders and a cloud over expected forward orders that will need to be placed in the coming months. This will impact next year’s figures considerably.
This of course augers well for cashed up buyers who are able to take advantage of the ready availability of stock.
Baler sales were broadly in line with last month but still 15% up on last year and finally, sales of out front mowers, linked to the “leisure” market, were well down this month but remain in line with last year’s numbers.
Whilst we are seeing a reduction in demand for Agricultural Equipment, this is off what was a record 2016 year with many feeling that we are at more manageable levels. Forecasts are for a continued healthy demand for tractors whilst Combine Harvester sales will be largely driven by the conditions in the large crop growing states of WA and NSW.