Tractor Machinery Association (TMA)
Wednesday 16 October, 2013
Farm machinery sales on track for a big year
The farm machinery industry is on track for another strong result in 2013 following a recent kick in sales and enquiries.
Tractor & Machinery Association executive director Richard Lewis says that figures for the first nine months are generally behind last year but his members are reporting an upsurge in interest as harvest approaches.
“Hay equipment is on the rise after several years in the doldrums and combine harvesters are holding up well. Over 1000 harvesters were delivered in 2011 and 2012 and we were expecting a fall back to maybe 750 this year.
“But the year to date September figure was only down 7%. We’ll certainly do better than 750 now.”
Mr Lewis said a strong positive signal was coming from the machinery finance sector.
“They’re always a good barometer. They get an early sniff of any change in direction and they’re reporting a big lift in September and October,” he said.
Greg Crawford, national sales manager of the industry’s bigger player De Lage Landen, said September had been a record month for the company with applications up 25% on last year.
“And October is trending the same way with strong quoting activity. There’s definitely more confidence out there.
“I think a lot of it is to do with getting the election out of the way. The uncertainty is gone and farmers are looking forward to a good harvest, except for those in northern New South Wales and Queensland.
“It’s still dry up there and the outlook isn’t so good,” he added.
De Lage Landen provides a large percentage of Australia’s farm machinery finance, partnering with most manufacturers, importers and major dealer networks.
Managing director of Lely Australia Clive Edwards also has a smile on his face after what he describes as ‘three or four difficult years’.
“We are seeing good sales across the board compared with previous years. Balers are much better but hay tools are also moving well.
“In fact, stocks are running low and we may end up cleaned out. It’s still a little difficult to know because the season is a bit late.”
Mr Edwards also noted the drier conditions were slowing momentum up north. “Apart from Queensland, demand has been fairly even right across the country,” he said.
Alan Kirsten of industry analyst Agriview said 243 balers had been sold until the end of September.
“That’s a couple of units behind last year but we know there are a lot of sales going on at present and we’re expecting a big fourth quarter.
“We have to remember that the first quarter of this year was well down across the board due to the prolonged dry summer. September figures that are close to last year actually represent a big upturn.”
Mr Kirsten said tractor sales had also picked up after a quiet start to the year. Sales for the first quarter had been 14% down on the previous year but by the end of September were only 6% behind.
Total sales for the nine months sit at 7769 compared with 8289 in 2012
“But some interesting trends are emerging,” he noted. “Lower and higher horsepower tractors are down but the middle 100 to 200 horsepower range is up 2% at 1362 against 1338 last year.
“It’s the first time we’ve seen any joy in this sector for a long time. Previously, it was losing out to the 200 horsepower category as farmers upgraded to bigger gear.
“I think they’re still upgrading but this time it’s from sub 100 horsepower category.”
Mr Kirsten said the sub 40 horsepower category was off by 2%, down to 2327 units against 2387 in 2012 while the 40 to 100 hp category suffered a 12% decline from 3533 units down to 3096.
Sales of tractors over 200 horsepower fell from 1031 to 984, a fall of 4.6%.
“Overall it’s a solid result and will probably look even better at year’s end. The market isn’t as volatile as it used to be. We don’t get the big shocks that were common in the past,” he said.
Further information: Richard Lewis 0421 847 872