New tractor sales make flying start to 2021

Boom in new tractor sales shows no signs of running out of steam

Machinery
STILL HEADING NORTH: Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia executive director Gary Northover said last year's high level of new tractor sales has continued into the start of 2021.

STILL HEADING NORTH: Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia executive director Gary Northover said last year's high level of new tractor sales has continued into the start of 2021.

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Last year's boom in new tractor sales is showing no signs of running out of steam.

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The boom in new tractor sales has continued in January giving dealers and machinery companies little time to recover from last year's red-hot buying spree.

Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia executive director Gary Northover said members had been surprised by the level of demand for tractors across the board last month and were now preparing for another busy selling year.

"The challenges with supply that were first seen in the middle of last year (because of COVID-19 disruptions to production at overseas factories) continue and we expect this to be the case for much of the year," he said.

"Suppliers are starting to report some cost increases with shipping and these are likely to see modest machine price rises as a result.

"January tractor sales were up 60 per cent on the same month last year and it's a reminder of how quickly the industry recovered from that period 12 months ago," Mr Northover said.

"The country was still in the state of severe drought, bushfires were raging along the east coast and this strange phenomenon known as COVID-19 first emerged.

"Activity in January was strong in all states with NSW again the standout, up 111 per cent on the same time last year.

"Victoria reported a solid lift, up 30pc, while Queensland was up 63pc."

The story was the same in Western Australia (up 47pc), South Australia (up 24pc) and Tasmania (up 68pc).

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"The increase in sales numbers is spread evenly across the four reporting categories, supported by the instant asset write-off scheme," Mr Northover said.

"The under 30 kilowatt (40 horsepower) range was up 81pc for the month. The 30-75kW (40 to 100hp) range was again up strongly by 56pc in the month and the 75-150kW (100 to 200hp) was up 42pc.

"The large 150kW-plus (200hp) range enjoyed its first rise for some time, up 73pc on January last year.

"It is this range that appears to be hardest hit by supply constraints with reports of long lead times common.

"For products under 200hp we are seeing lead times on factory orders being extended by around six to eight weeks. However this can be two to three times greater than this for the larger machines."

Mr Northover said sales of combine harvesters were expected to be similarly affected during the year with the usual order intake season taking on greater importance.

"Baler sales were in line with the same month last year and are expected to remain strong in 2021 and sales of out-front mowers are still flying, up 124pc on the same time last year.

"Most suppliers are predicting a continuation of the strong levels of demand underpinned by both the ongoing favourable weather conditions and the instant asset write-off scheme.

"We do, however, expect to see some unevenness in supply as the main manufacturing centres in North America and Europe continue to struggle with the impacts of coronavirus.

"This may lead to some 'lumpiness' in sales reporting but we expect this year to be another strong one."

Plans are underway to hold TMA's annual conference in Melbourne during July.

"Full event details will be published shortly and we hope that people will take the opportunity to come together again after what feels like a very long break," Mr Northover said.

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