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Continued strong month for sales

April was another strong month for sales of agricultural equipment but sales of 100-200hp tractors paused due largely to the Easter-Anzac Day break combined with extreme weather conditions experienced on the eastern seaboard. Source: The Weekly Times

In general terms, tractor sales volumes were down for the month but remain 2% ahead of the same time last year.

Victorian sales recorded a solid bounce, up 10% in the month and 14% ahead of last year while NSW and Queensland are in line with last year.

Western Australia and South Australia, which have not received the rainfall seen in the eastern states, are reporting bumpy sales months on low volumes.

Buyers there are tending to be a bit cautious, but full year predictions generally remain on track as forecast.

As reported, larger tractor sales were down, although forward orders are still strong and there is every expectation numbers will again be healthy in this category.

For the first time in a long time, we are starting to hear of supply challenges in selected categories from overseas suppliers.

While general demand in the US and parts of Europe remain subdued, there are pockets of increased activity in places such as South America, which is resulting in competition for stock. This may have the effect of slowing some lead times as factories generally adapt to improving demand.

The under-40hp market was again solid and remains about 10 per cent up on last year, as does the 40-100hp range, which is almost exactly in line with last year’s levels.

Not unexpectedly combine harvester sales have yet to happen to any great degree with only about 5% of the full year’s forecast delivered so far this year.

It is a similar story for the baler market, which has notably lacked activity. Sales of out front mowers were also down, although roughly in line with the same time last year.

Dealers and manufacturers remain generally positive about the year ahead with most expecting a repeat of last year’s strong performance.

Farming conditions appear to be supportive of another bumper harvest season supported by reasonably stable commodity prices.

On a more general note, we have been watching with interest the various budgetary announcements at both state and federal level relating to agriculture and note the National Farmers’ Federation issuing a solid B+ for the Federal Budget delivered on May 9.

Investment in roads and rail has been sorely needed in support of agricultural producers and it is pleasing to see progress being made on this front.