October has seen another bumper month for tractor sales across the nation in preparation for this year’s harvest. Whilst many parts of the Eastern States have been severely impacted by unseasonal rains, the environment for agricultural equipment remains strong.
Sales in the month were up 3.6% on the same month last year and this now puts us 2.1% up on the 2022 year to date.
Whilst this result was indeed a strong one, it contains what might be described as “winners and losers” which may be the first signs of a tapering in the market.
The Winners were the small under 40 hp (30kw) category, which was up 15% to be still 9% ahead YTD along with the large 200 hp (150kw) PLUS range which was the standout again this month, 44% ahead of the same month last year and is now 4% up YTD.
The 40 to 100hp (30-75kw) range was again down 7% in the month to remains 2% ahead YTD and the 100 to 200hp (75-150 kw) category was also down 6% in October to be 3% behind YTD.
Looking at sales across the nation, the “winners” here were Queensland which was up a whopping 32% to remain 14% ahead year to date, Western Australia which continues to power ahead, up 2% YTD, and South Australia which enjoyed a 30% lift in the month to be now just 2% behind YTD.
Sales in NSW experienced a drop of 4% for the month and are now 1% behind last year whilst in Victoria, sales were off 10% compared to last October but remain in line on a full year basis.
Activity in Tasmania was again down, this time by 11% whilst sales into the Northern Territory remain 12% up on last year.
Reports of this year’s harvest are indicating a record level for many regions, notwithstanding the weather events rolling through the nation and this is being reflected in Combine Harvester sales.
On a Year-to-Date basis, harvesters are 8% up on last year with the bulk of the seasons new deliveries to occur over the coming weeks.
Baler sales have failed to fire yet again and are now down 36% compared to last year. This hay season has been a poor one due to wet weather conditions along with reports that growers have reduced hay crop plantings due to the continual rise in input costs and the lower return from hay production.
Finally, sales of Out – Front Mowers finished down again by 20%.
The near-term outlook for equipment sales remains difficult to predict. There appears to be a very gradual return to normality on the shipping front but any benefits this might deliver to the supply chain are likely to be offset by ongoing challenges in production, particularly for European suppliers. We have for some time been experiencing challenges in component supply for everything from computer chips to tyres, but as we head into the Northern winter, the crippling effect of energy supply shortages is further impacting production. All these factors combined with ongoing input price increases is making for a very challenging time for all.