Sustained demand for new machinery

Australian farmers upgrading machinery thanks to tax incentives and high commodity prices

Machinery
Market confidence: Business is booming for Wideland Group general manager Chris Swain. Picture: Melody Labinsky

Market confidence: Business is booming for Wideland Group general manager Chris Swain. Picture: Melody Labinsky

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Machinery dealerships across Australia are reporting an increase in sales across the board as a result of good seasons throughout the agricultural sector.

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The return of favourable weather conditions across much of Australia has encouraged farmers to "open the cheque book" and invest in upgrading equipment.

According to AFGRI Equipment marketing and small ag manager Jacques Coetzee the company has had a good couple of years.

AFGRI is Australia's second largest John Deere dealership network, with 19 branches across Western Australia.

"For the John Deere financial year, which is from November 1 to the end of October, the market is up about 20 per cent," Mr Coetzee said.

Mr Coetzee said like everyone else, they had experienced constraints on procuring stock but overall the industry was "pretty buoyant".

He said spending wasn't targeted at any specific product and interest ranged from small 22 to 30 kilowatt tractors up to 447kW units.

After a quieter year for harvester orders in 2020, a bumper season had led to "pretty good" sales for the whole industry.

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On the implement side of the business, Mr Coetzee said they were doing quite will with Equalizer and Bourgault air seeders.

"We've had a good run over the past 12 months and our forward order book is looking pretty healthy as well," he said.

Demand for air seeders is also high in NSW and Victoria, according to O'Connors salesman Troy Zadow.

"O'Connors has forward planned to meet this demand and we have stock in the country now and have secured build spots for early 2022," he said.

Case IH dealership O'Connors has 12 branches across Victoria, NSW and South Australia and stocks implement brands including Horwood Bagshaw, Horsch, Gason and Flexi-Coil.

Mr Zadow said the federal government's instant asset write-off and tax incentives were encouraging farmers to look at upgrading.

"Finance rates have never been lower to buy machinery so they are updating before they go up," he said.

"We're encouraging farmers to forward plan to ensure they get the products they want and to the specifications they require."

With a massive harvest commencing in some districts, Mr Zadow said they had been "flat out" pre-delivering new and used harvesters and fronts to farmers.

Mr Zadow said another product that had been selling really well was the Patriot self-propelled sprayers.

"The worker shortage is probably getting some farmers to upgrade to bigger machinery to cover the same area with less people," he said.

Further north, the Wideland Group sells trucking, automotive, agricultural and construction equipment across several locations in Queensland and NSW. Key brands include Claas, JCB, Izuzu, Hino and Western Star.

Wideland Group general manager Chris Swain said the company caters to a lot of hay producers and this year's hay season had been fantastic.

Mr Swain said coming out of drought they were now seeing people trying to replace plant and equipment.

Wideland also supplies equipment to feedlots and industries adjacent to agriculture.

Mr Swain said the JCB telehandler and loader range had been a go-to for customers.

However, he had most witnessed people taking advantage of the federal government's instant asset write-off scheme in the trucking side of the business.

"There just seems to be an insatiable request for new trucks and there's not one particular market that I'm seeing it," Mr Swain said.

"It's not just us, everyone you speak to in all brands and areas is [seeing it]. They're all saying the same thing, which is demand for everything from prime movers to trucks for the tradies, so it's been quite phenomenal."

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