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May 15, 2019

Tractor Sales holding in tough conditions

Agricultural tractors have continued to occur at a steady pace across the nation, albeit at levels still around 10% below last year. Deliveries in the month of April were seriously impacted by the Easter/Anzac day break so we shouldn’t read too much into 1 month’s data.

That said, across the states, it is very much a mixed bag at present with Western Australia a particular standout. Sales there were up 19% for the month and remain around 10% ahead of last year. Victoria staged somewhat of a recovery with sales up 12% in the month driven largely by the under 40hp segment and remain 7% behind last year.

The picture in drought affected NSW and Queensland remains pretty grim with NSW down 15% for the month, 23% down year to date and Queensland 34% behind in April, now 13% behind last year. Elsewhere, South Australia continues to struggle, 25% behind last year, Tasmania are 10 % up and sales to the Northern territory are 50% ahead of last year!

The smaller end of the range under 40 hp showed a reasonable result for the month, behind 3% and now 10% behind for the year. Each of the other ranges (40hp -10hp, 100hp-200hp and 200hp and above) experienced drops in April and are down around 10%-15% for the year.

The outlook for tractor sales remains fairly conservative. Whilst it is presently raining in many parts of the nation, there will undoubtedly be a tail to this drought where sales activity in the hardest hit regions will take some time to heat up again. Dealers are generally reporting that their order banks are dwindling somewhat further supporting this view.

Combine Harvester Sales are also in for a pretty tough time with estimates in the range of 550 units to occur. This is down from the mid 800’s level of the past few years.

The only bright light for the industry seems to be in the area of Baler Sales, particularly Large Square Balers. This has been seen before in times of drought where failed crops are turned into fodder but additionally the growth in export Oat sales to countries such as Korea and Japan is spurring activity. Overall, Balers are now 20% up on last year.

Finally, sales of Out Front Mowers had a reasonable month, now sitting around 19% down on a yearly basis.

Lastly planning is well underway for the annual TMA Conference. This year’s event will be held on Tuesday July 16th at Hyatt Place Melbourne at Essendon Fields and will present a focus on better understanding the customer of tomorrow. This event is a must for all manufacturers, dealers and suppliers to industry and promises to be a highlight of the year. Tickets are now available and can be found on the TMA website

Gary Northover
Executive Director TMA