Tractor sales slipped again in March, down 10% on the same month last year. This has now led to a year to date result which is 19% behind last year. It is now apparent that the combination of relatively high interest rates, increased machinery costs and some availability problems is having a dampening effect on demand. With the Temporary Full Expensing program due to end on June 30, there may be a spurt in sales in the coming months to come as we play a game of wait and see.
Looking at the individual states, Queensland was down 9% and is now 13% behind year to date, NSW was down 16% to be 25% off YTD. Victoria recorded a drop up 23%, now 26% behind YTD. Sales in Western Australia reported a lift of 12% off the back of strong sales of high hp tractors but remains 10% behind last year. South Australia recorded a big 26% rise and now sits 10% behind YTD and Tasmania was off 2% for the month, 15% off YTD with sales in the NT finishing 27% ahead to remain 35% up YTD.
Not surprisingly, all machine categories remain down so far this year with the small under 40 hp (30kw) category down 3%. This category, often referred to as the “leisure” market is particularly sensitive to interest rate rises and this is beginning to impact. The 40 to 100hp (30-75kw) range was down 12% in the month and is now 21% behind year to date, the 100 to 200hp (75-150 kw) category was also down, this time by 22% and remains 26% behind YTD, meanwhile, having seen a drop of 60% last month sales in the large 200 hp (150kw) PLUS range jumped 8% but sits 29% behind last year.
Whilst Tractor sales figures are down across the board, this is off historically high levels and the much hoped for “soft landing” appears likely, indeed, whilst machine numbers are down, the dollar value is a mere 3% behind last year.
Sales of Combine Harvesters continue to surprise with another 28 units sold in March as buyers stock up ahead of harvest season later in the year. On a rolling 12 months basis, Combine Harvesters have enjoyed a 2nd successive year in excess 1100 units sold. Baler sales were down 7% in March and remain in line with last year whilst and sales of Out – Front Mowers continued their downward trend, off by 10% for the month.
Just a reminder, the annual TMA conference is being held this year in Sydney on Wednesday July 19th at the Stamford Plaza, Sydney Airport. Ticketing and event information will be available on our website www.tma.asn.au in the coming weeks as we look forward to another great event.