TRACTOR sales across Australia are being led by the larger end of the market with sales, in dollar terms, now 10 per cent up on annual averages, according to the Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia (TMA).
Big ticket tractors above 150kW (200hp) are experiencing boom conditions while grain harvesters are getting set for a big season, up 11pc for September and 12pc on a year to date basis.
Sales in South Australia enjoyed a bump of 5pc and Western Australian sales, while down in September, are in line with last year.
Overall, unit sales are tracking a volatile path with September sales recording an across the board decline of 5.5pc in unit numbers following a very strong August.
The TMA says it can be unwise to read too much into one month’s figures as the year to date numbers are in line with this time last year.
But, that said, there are a number of short term factors at play which are affecting the monthly numbers.
It is also very clear that many machine deliveries, particularly in the hay and livestock sectors have been delayed due to the severe weather conditions being experienced in the south/south east of the country
Victorian sales were once again down another 20pc and are now 16pc behind last year.
A combination of the well documented stress in the dairy sector is seen as the major contributor, although there are indications many dairy farmers are taking the opportunity to refinance their equipment whilst interest rates are still low, so this segment is perhaps not as dire as one might expect.
The under 30kW (40hp) range, including the “hobby farmer” segment, remains quiet due primarily to the prolonged wet season which has kept grass levels low.
Sentiment in this space is also being tested by such things as the sharemarket volatility with many of these end users learning to live with lower than expected returns on their retirement funds.
However, when the warm weather finally does arrive, the TMA expects to see a boom in this segment.
NSW was once again the standout, up 21pc on last month and now up 17pc on a year to date basis due largely to the very strong cropping sector in the northern part of the state.
Queensland is sharing some of his benefit, down 7pc for the month but in line for the full year.
Following a huge leap in sales in August, combine harvesters delivered another cracking result, up another 12pc.
Baler sales, however, dropped back and are now around 10pc down on last year due largely to wet weather and ongoing difficulties in the dairy sector.
Australian tractor suppliers remain quite bullish with regards to the forward outlook. There have been some challenges environmentally, however grain and crop harvesting equipment sales activity is expected to continue strongly into the near future.