August tractor sales of 487 units were significantly (almost 18%) down on the 591 units sold in August last year (2017). On a year-to-date basis, tractor sales for the first seven months of the year are still almost 7% up on last year.
August combine harvester sales of nine units were three units less than the twelve units sold in August last year. On a year-to-date basis combine harvester sales are now approximately 7% down on last year.
Several factors have compounded this downturn in the market. Amongst others these are the delay of the maize harvest, cash flow concerns of farmers, difficulties with bank finance and political uncertainties. Despite this downturn, the feeling within the agricultural machinery industry in the short term is still quite optimistic. Once farmers have finished harvesting their summer crops and planning begins for the new season, farmers will be looking at buying new equipment, particularly as the recent weakness in the Rand will inevitably lead to higher equipment prices later in the year.
Industry forecasts for the 2018 calendar year remain at a level of between 6 750 to 7 000 units; that is between 5% and 10% up on 2017 sales. – SAMMA