February 2018:  Tractor and Combine Harvester Sales

Retail sales of agricultural equipment during February 2018 were as follows:

Equipment Category Unit Sales Percentage change, % Unit Sales Percentage change, %
February – Month February – Year-to-date
2018 2017 2018 2017
Tractors 595 675 -11.9 1 122 1 153 2.7
Combine Harvesters 21 18 16.7 29 34 -14.7

February tractor sales of 595 units were significantly (12%) down on the 675 units sold in February last year.   On a year-to-date basis, tractor sales for the first two months of the year are almost 3% down on what they were this time last year.   February combine harvester sales of 21 units were three units more than the 18 units sold in February last year, but sales for the year-to-date are now almost 15% down on last year.

After encouraging tractor sales in January, February sales were quite disappointing.   Market sentiment is currently being affected by various different factors.   The summer crops currently in the field are patchy in terms of their yield potential and in terms of the time of planting, both caused by the patchy rainfall  pattern across these areas.   The current strong rand means that tractor prices are likely to come down, so farmers can delay their buying decisions.   Crop prices remain low and a lot of last year’s crops are currently being stored, with many farmers holding out for higher crop prices.   This is having an effect on their cash flow and their ability to finance the purchase of capital equipment.

The short-term trend in agricultural machinery sales is very difficult to predict.   However, industry forecasts for the 2018 calendar year are that tractor sales should be at least at similar levels to 2017 sales.

Lucas Groenewald
Chairman: South African Agricultural Machinery Association

Contact: Mr. Lucas Groenewald (082) 804-8463 or Dr. Jim Rankin (011) 453-7249