DEMAND for agricultural tractors continues to exceed past benchmarks with Australia registering record sales for the past 12 consecutive months, 34 per cent ahead on an annualised basis compared to the same time last year.
Tractor and Machinery Association (TMA) executive director, Gary Northover, said 2020 saw tractor sales pass the 13,000 unit mark for the first time in around 40 years and the industry was currently tracking above that level at around 14,000 units per year.
He said February sales were up 74pc on the same month last year, reinforcing the extent of the challenges felt by the industry 12 months ago.
“The current level of activity is even more remarkable given the strains with supply being experienced right across the supply chain, although there are early signs that this may be improving,” he said.
“Since mid-2020, supply of product from manufacturing facilities in Europe, the US and Asia have been heavily impacted by the COVID 19 lockdowns and social distancing requirements. An indicator of this is the amount of shipping activity being seen through Australian ports which were reported to be around 40-50pc of normal capacity mid last year. This has now improved to around 90pc of normal capacity.”
Mr Northover said activity in the February was strong in all states with New South Wales again the standout, up 104pc on the same time last year and now 107pc for the 2021 year-to-date (YTD).
Victoria reported a solid lift up 53pc sitting 43pc ahead for the year, meanwhile Queensland was up 61pc to be 62pc up YTD.
Western Australia sales picked up 92pc to be 72pc ahead for the year, sales in South Australia were solid at 83pc up, and Tasmania finished the month 45pc ahead.
Mr Northover said the increase in sales numbers was spread evenly across the four reporting categories, supported by the Instant Asset Write off scheme.
The under 30kw (40hp) range was up 66pc for the month (73pc YTD).
The 30-75kw (40-100hp) range was again up strongly at 68 in the month (63pc YTD), the 75-150kW (100-200hp) category was up 55pc (50pc YTD).
The large 150kW (200hp) plus range enjoyed another strong rise, up 141pc, and is now 110pc ahead for the year. Sales of this category of larger tractors have been the most heavily hit by supply issues and there is evidence of the backlog of orders from 2020 now coming through.
Mr Northover said the Federal Government’s Instant Asset Write Off Scheme was due to expire on June 30, 2021, so he expected a continuation of the strong demand for machines to remain at least until then.
Sales of harvesters are in a period of hiatus with the usual order intake season now well underway.
Baler sales were up 55pc on the same month last year and are expected to remain strong in 2021 and sales of out–front mowers are still flying, up 51pc ahead of the same time last year.
The TMA’s Annual Conference is to be held at Hyatt Melbourne, Essendon Fields on Tuesday July 20.