NZ dairy downturn slows tractor sales


The dairy downturn may be dissuading some South Canterbury farmers from buying new tractors. Source: Stuff NZ

Paul Wilkins, of Paul Wilkins Tractors, said he had sold only one tractor to a dairy farmer this year – the rest had gone to cattle and grain farmers, or contractors.

Importers had even tried to slow the number of tractors entering New Zealand as far back as 12 months ago – “but there were a lot already in the pipeline and they take several months before they get here from Europe,” he said.

The observations seemed to tally wit the latest figures from the Tractor and Machinery Association of New Zealand (TAMA), which showed tractor and farm machinery sales dropped 34% across the region from January 1 to June 30.

There had been a roughly 70% decline in sales of 100 to 120 horse-power vehicles since the beginning of the year.

Mr Wilkins believed the 70% figure would be “on the mark, overall”.

Figures for the previous year had given a false impression, because distributors had lowered prices trying to move tractors that had not been selling, Mr Wilkins said.

Federated Farmers South Canterbury dairy chairman Ryan O’Sullivan said dairy farmers were not upgrading tractors as they normally would and were using them twice as long.

“They’re choosing to defer that cost into the future,” he said.