The Tractor and Machinery Association (TMA) figures are in for 2018 and unsurprisingly they were back a further 4.1 per cent on the previous year.
TMA, executive director, Gary Northover said the year had been challenging for suppliers dealers, particularly in the eastern states.
“There are numerous factors driving the sales results but most believe the drought, combined with many farmers taking a more conservative stance with regards to purchasing have had the greatest effect,” he said.
“After five continuous years of growth, 2018 has seen machine sales take a breather and we expect this trend to continue in 2019.”
Mr Northover said while he expected the drought to continue to effect sales, there were also broader trends involved.
“Farmers are expected to view purchases a little more conservatively in the period ahead,” he said.
“Not unlike investors of in other fields of the broader economy, the tightening of lending by the banks and reductions in the exchange rate, whilst good for commodity exports, will also impact.”
Farmers are expected to view purchases a little more conservatively in the period ahead
Mr Northover said 12,158 tractors were sold last year.
The smaller under 30 kilowatt (40 horsepower) category was down 10pc on last year having dropped a further 22pc in December.
“This category is dominated by the leisure sector and we are seeing some pullback in demand from these customers,” he said.
“The 30 to 75kW (40 to 100hp) group was down also, 6pc behind last year with a December drop of 13pc.:
Mr Northover said the best performing category of the year was the 75 to 150kW (100 to 200hp) segement, which emphasised the strength of the row cropping market.
“Whilst December was down 15pc for the month the year finished 5pc ahead of last year,” he said.
Mr Northover said the above 150kW (200hp) range was down a further 22pc in December, finishing 8pc behind 2017.
“Around the nation it was, not surprisingly, NSW that was hardest hit being 11pc behind last year with December being a further 25pc down,” he said.
“Queensland finished the year 6pc down with the December month being 16pc off.
“Victorian sales struggled along through the year finishing 3pc behind, elsewhere.
“All other states reported increased sales, WA had a stellar year finishing 8.3pc ahead of last year.
“South Australia was up 2.5pc, Tasmania finished 9pc ahead sales to the Northern Territory were up 7pc.”
Mr Northover said harvester sales for the year finished well down on 2017.
“There was a total of 676 unit sold which was around 200 down on last year,” he said.
“The conditions surrounding this market are well known and with the ordering windows now open, dealers are faced with the challenge of what to order.
“Needless to say, conditions are suited to savvy buyers able to take advantage of the available stock.”
Mr Northover said baler sales had a year of recovery, up 14pc on the previous year, while out-front mowers ended 15pc behind.