Australian tractor sales are large


Australian tractor sales are being led by the larger end at present with sales in dollar terms now 10% up on an annual basis. Source: The Weekly Times

The big ticket tractors above 200hp are experiencing boom conditions and the grain harvesters are getting set for a big season, up 11% for the month and 12% year-to-date, so the large end is certainly bringing some joy to the bigger players.

Sales in South Australia enjoyed a bump of 5% and while down in September, WA sales are right in line with last year.

Overall unit sales are tracking a volatile path at present, with September sales recording an across the board decline of 5.5% in unit numbers following a very strong August.

As we’ve stated in the past, it can be unwise to read too much into one month’s figures as the year-to-date numbers are in line with this time last year. That said, there are a number of short-term factors at play that are affecting the monthly numbers.

It is also very clear that many machine deliveries, particularly in the hay and livestock sectors, have been delayed due to the severe weather conditions being experienced in the south/southeast of the country.

Victorian sales were once again down another 20% and are now 16% behind last year.

A combination of the well-documented stress in the dairy sector is seen as the major contributor, although there are indications that many dairy farmers are taking the opportunity to refinance their equipment while interest rates are still low. That means this segment is perhaps not as dire as you might expect.

The under 40hp range, including the hobby farmer segment, remains quiet due primarily to the prolonged wet season that has kept grass levels low.

Sentiment in this space is also being tested by such things as sharemarket volatility with many of these end users learning to live with lower than expected returns on their retirement funds. When the warm weather finally arrives, we expect to see a boom in this segment.

NSW was once again the standout, up 21% on last month and now up 17% on a year-to-date basis due largely to the very strong cropping sector in the northern part of the state.

Following a leap in sales in August, combine harvesters delivered another cracking result, up another 12%.

Baler sales however dropped back and are now about 10% down on last year due largely to wet weather and ongoing difficulties in the dairy sector.

Finally, the sales of out-front mowers continue to soar, up 17% up on a rolling 12 months.

Australian tractor suppliers remain quite bullish with grain and crop harvesting activity expected to continue strongly.