A wrap up of 2016 in the US market


A lot of major new product introductions mean machinery manufacturers are optimistic in the US. They think farmers are in a buying mood, funds are available and innovations will be well received but what happened in 2016. Source: The Progressive Farmer

Great Plains and Capstan Ag Systems, for example, introduced the AccuShot system for accurately placing liquids – starter fertilizer, insecticide or fungicide – directly and accurately in the furrow.

Case IH and AGCO unveiled new planter series that rely heavily on Precision Planting technologies.

And most manufacturers launched new or modified lines of tractors. But there weren’t the wholesale, boffo introductions we saw in years past, especially during the boom years before 2014.

Manufacturers were not optimistic that 2016 would be a banner year. They were correct.

March ushered in a new version of the Commodity Classic with an extended machinery component.

Commodity groups, which own the annual Commodity Classic, joined forces with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) to expand the presence of iron and steel at the trade show.

Together, the two organizations helped increase the number of companies exhibiting at Commodity Classic by about 22%. Total attendance rose from 8000 to almost 9800.

As bad as 2016 was, it was not the rolling disaster that farmers experienced 30 years ago. In April, a there was a crowdsourcing project by AEM to boost government spending on infrastructure.

AEM believes that such spending would fill gaps in America’s future and benefit the whole economy while providing jobs.

Republicans in Congress for eight years said “no” to Barack Obama’s plans for increased infrastructure spending.

We’ll soon find out if they think Donald Trump’s similar plans are worth a vote. Prediction: Republicans will vote for much more infrastructure spending. At the same time, they will find reasons to blame the previous administration for not voting that way in the past.

The big news in July was Kubota’s purchase of Great Plains Manufacturing. The buy was a major step in Kubota’s long march to become a full-line farm equipment manufacturer in North America. While Great Plains will operate independently, Kubota dealers now will have access to a well-respected array of tillage tools, seeders and other agricultural implements.

In August there were reports about the depressed farm machinery market with Jerry Lehnertz, senior vice president of AgriBank Farm Credit in St Paul, Minnesota. The take away was that if you planned to buy farm equipment, also plan to hold an in-depth discussion with your lender.

Unmanned aerial vehicles were of special interest during the year. When the Federal Aviation Administration finally issued regulations in the summer, UAVs became legal for farmers to use, provided said farmers did the necessary paperwork.

In summmary, 2016 was a year most farm equipment companies and many row-crop and livestock farmers are glad is ending.