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October 9, 2019

Tractor Sales show some resilience in September 

After what has been a series of bad news stories, Tractor sales strengthened somewhat in September rising 3.3% against last September but remain around 11% behind last year on a full year basis.

Whilst confidence remains generally down, and order banks are slim, there has been a reasonable amount of deal making in the market with dealers keen to quit stock at less margin than we’re used to seeing.

The improvement in sales for the month was shared across 3 of the 4 size ranges, Sales in the 200hp (150kw) and above range were the standout, up 20% for the month and now 2.2% behind YTD. The 100 to 200hp (75-150kw) segment also enjoyed a lift, up 4% for the month but remaining 12 % behind last year. The 40 to 100hp (30-75kw) range was the only category not to report a lift for the month, down 3% now sitting 13% behind last year and the under 40hp (30kw) range enjoyed a 2.3% rise in September, now 10% down on a yearly basis.

Across the nation, NSW reported its first rise compared to the same month last year for some time, up 6.2%, driven by a mix of 0-40 hp machines and larger above 200hp units, now 20% behind last year. Queensland reported another dip with only the 40- 100hp range up, down 5% in the month and now 7% behind for the year.

Victoria had a very solid month, driven by buoyant conditions overall, up 23% on the same month last year but remains 5% behind for the full year. Victoria has accounted for just over 30% of industry sales in this quarter and is playing a pivotal role in the supporting the market.

South Australian sales continue to struggle, down another 39% to be 26% behind last year, anecdotally we believe the market there has been consuming a lot more used equipment than usual, lastly Tasmanian sales continue to roll along, now 7% ahead YTD and sales in the NT dropped for the month now 7% behind last year.

Combine Harvester Sales are continuing to follow the trend, down 23% compared to September 2018 to now be 16% behind on a 12 month basis. Little to no activity in NSW is being offset to an extent by activity in Victoria, SA and WA.

Baler Sales continue to be the one high point in the market. September sales were up 43% on last year and are now 34 % ahead on a year to date basis. Suppliers are reporting that demand for hay is so strong that the use of contractors to cut hay is “maxed out” forcing many growers to take matters into their own hands and purchase equipment to do the job.

Finally, sales of Out-Front Mowers bounced another 20% in the month in preparation for the grass growing season, now sitting slightly behind on a yearly basis.

With the Field Day season upon us, we have been able to gauge sentiment in the market a little more closely and the message continues to be one of concern in the medium term with hoped for summer rains appearing unlikely.

Gary Northover
Executive Director TMA