Sales top $1b for Australian ag equipment

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Sales of agricultural equipment in Australia are now comfortably topping $1billion a year and February saw the continuation of what promises to be another landmark according to Gary Northover Tractor & Machinery Association of Australia executive director. Source: The Weekly Times

Tractor sales for February fell just short of the 1000 unit mark in what was a particularly bright month for the southern states in the under 40hp category.

Sales of tractors in this category are up 30% on the same time last year as the effect of some aggressive sales campaigns become realised.

Low (often zero) interest rates combined with the release of many new models from the larger makers have been well received in Victoria (up 14% on the same time last year), South Australia, which is up a whopping 42 per cent on last year, and Tasmania also up 14% on last year.

This category is benefiting from the activity being seen across regional areas in property purchases and developments, some optimism returning to the dairy sector and persistent demand in the fruit/wine/nuts market places, all supported by mild weather conditions.

Not surprisingly, the tropical weather being experienced in Queensland (roughly in line with last year) and NSW, also in line with last year, have kept things a little quiet while that never-ending tendency for buyers to withdraw from the market when there is an election on has seen sales in WA down slightly on last year.

Sales of combine harvesters were once again slow as the market continues to take a breath from a hectic season, however the question remains as to whether or not we will see a repeat of last year’s outstanding sales numbers.

Manufacturers continue to report strong interest levels from the market with a healthy forward order book in play, so the industry remains optimistic that we will indeed achieve another big year’s sales.

While baler sales were quiet, they too are a product line that has experienced very strong demand and are 18% up on the previous 12 months.

The sale of out-front mowers was down a touch this month but still well up on the previous year.

Mr Northover said he had the benefit of attending the WA Farmers annual conference, GROW 2017, in Perth this month and was heartened to see the attention being given to the key issues of the day.

These included attracting and retaining young people to the industry; consideration for greater productivity in terms of human land and equipment use; and the need for improved infrastructure in areas such as telecommunications, roads rail and ports.

He said that these are issues that occupy the minds of many leaders in our industry and it is pleasing to see progress is being made.