January tractor sales of 388 units were significantly (29%) down on the 546 units sold in January 2018. On a rolling 12-month basis tractor sales are marginally (0.4%) down on last year. January combine harvester sales of four units were also significantly down on the eight units sold in January last year. On a rolling 12-month basis combine harvesters are still almost 6% up on the previous year.
The disappointing January sales are probably a reflection of a degree of negativity in current market sentiment. Certain areas of the summer-cropping areas, particularly in some of the western areas, have not had rain and where they have had rain, this was very late. This has had the effect of making it impossible for some farmers to plant, or made it necessary for them to switch to shorter-season crops such as sunflower or grain sorghum.
The point was made last month that it was still too early to forecast sales for the 2019 calendar year. Preliminary estimates of maize plantings by the Crop Estimates Committee are that maize plantings are down, but not as far down as some commentators thought. The maize crop will be the key to industry equipment sales for the first half of the 2019 calendar year. – SAAMA