Tractor sales bode well for New Zealand primary sector


Sales of tractors are remaining relatively buoyant, demonstrating a positive outlook in the primary industry, says NZ Tractor and Machinery Association President, Mark Hamilton-Manns. Source: AFDJ eNews

Mr Hamilton-Manns said year-to-date (end of September) the total number of tractor sales was 2381 and this was on a par with 2012 (2,389) demonstrating that overall New Zealand’s primary industry was stable and was weathering volatility in the global dairy markets.

The YTD figures compiled by the Association, show sales only declined slightly overall, by 6%, on the same period in 2015.

Several segments and regions saw sales increases such as the horticulture and viticulture industries in Northland, Auckland, the Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay and Nelson.

“Growth in horticulture and viticulture looks set to continue. Tractor sales in the Bay of Plenty have increased more than 50% in the last year with the continued success of the kiwifruit and avocado sectors,” Mr Hamilton-Manns said.

“Sales in the Nelson region increased by 30% driven by the buoyant viticulture and horticulture segments.”

Mr Hamilton-Manns said Hawke’s Bay sales had increased by 16% and this was just the start of the increase as orchardists were expecting to triple the number of apples planted over the next few years and this would be reflected in investment in tractors and other associated machinery.

The consumer segment had increased about 13% during the year as residential customers purchased smaller 20–60hp compact tractors for their lifestyle blocks.

Additional sales volumes were recognised in hire fleets and some commercial applications.

Meanwhile, the Large Ag segment which covers 251–375hp tractors grew by 15%.

These larger tractors are used for a range of operations including cultivation and ground preparation, seeding, or involved in hay and silage making in support of dairy, sheep and beef farming operations.

Mr Hamilton-Manns said tractor manufacturers were positive about 2017 as shown in the heavy investment in research and development to improve technology, reduce maintenance costs and meet emission standards.

While sales in the traditional dairy segment (100–120 horsepower tractors) had declined overall in the last year by 17.5%, dairy farmers were showing that they’re cautiously optimistic as many were still buying.

“What we have noticed is that dairy farmers are focused on good value for money deals when buying tractors.

“They’re looking around for the best interest and maintenance deals, often delaying purchase for several months while they do. Farmers know that newer tractors are more fuel efficient and attract lower maintenance costs so buyers get a good return on investment with new machines.”