New tractor sales continue to dive as industry expects a return to normal after record results last year

Aidan SmithCountryman
New tractor sales decline across the country after two record years for machinery dealerships.
Camera IconNew tractor sales decline across the country after two record years for machinery dealerships. Credit: Michael Newell/Michael Newell

Demand for new tractors in Western Australia dropped 49 per cent in July compared with the same month last year, reducing year-to-date sales figures by 18 per cent on 2022 across the State.

The Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia released its July sales report last week, highlighting the national trend of a 36 per cent decrease in sales in July, compared with the same month last year.

TMA chief executive Gary Northover said the machinery sales industry was experiencing some “significant headwinds at present”.

“Machinery prices are high and look to be remaining so, recent interest rate rises are impacting the cost of finance and the expectations of a drier summer have caused some farmers to reconsider their machinery purchases,” Mr Northover said.

“Despite this, we remain optimistic that we will see more of a ‘soft’ landing as conditions continue to normalise after what has been an amazing two-year period.”

He said, in July, dealerships experienced a significant fall in tractor sales across the nation, evidence that some sales were brought forward in June to take advantage of the Temporary Full Expensing Program of the Federal Government, which has now ceased.

“Normally a quiet month, there were only about 750 tractors delivered in July, which was about 250 units or 36 per cent fewer than the same month last year,” Mr Northover said.

“This now means that the year-to-date figure is 18 per cent behind the same period last year.“

He said July sales were down across the country, led by Tasmania, which had the largest decline at 58 per cent for the month, followed by Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, which trailed behind WA (49 per cent) on 38, 35 and 32 per cent respectively.

South Australia recorded a 22 per cent decline and the Northern Territory finished the month nine per cent down.

Mr Northover said the small, under 40 hp (30kw) category, was the one most likely to be affected by interest rates and dropped 45 per cent for the month, while the 40 to 100hp (30-75kw) range was also down 34 per cent.

The 100 to 200hp (75-150kw) category was down by 27 per cent and the 200hp (150kw) plus range slipped, down 44 per cent.

Going against the trend, Mr Northover said sales of combine harvesters continued to gather pace with more than 350 units delivered in the year so far.

“This puts us well ahead of the same time last year, up 75 per cent in fact, and expectations are for an outstanding year ahead.

“Baler sales enjoyed a small rise and are now 12 per cent ahead on a year-to-date basis and sales of out front mowers enjoyed another strong month, up 45 per cent on the same time last year.”

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