Combine Sales Strong, Tractors Cooling

Combine Sales Up Sharply This Year While Farm Tractor Sales Slow in July

Dan Miller
By  Dan Miller , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Combine sales remain strongly up as farm managers upgrade their harvest technologies. Commercial farm tractor sales marked another positive month, but July hinted sales may be cooling. (DTN/Progressive Farmer photo by Dan Miller)

Combine and commercial farm tractor retail sales notched another positive month in July, as has been the case for all of 2023. However, the July Ag Tractor and Combine Report shows farm-sized tractor sales slowing, perhaps a hint that either sales are factually cooling or that July reflects more of a traditional, seasonal trend as farmers switch their attention from what is new at the local dealership and more to what it is in the field.

"We're still seeing moderate growth in the traditional ag market that has shown a steady rise all year in North America," Curt Blades, senior vice president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), said in the association's release. "The softness in the compact and sub-compact tractor market in both the U.S. and Canada is something we have been experiencing for some time after record growth in the segment during the recent pandemic."

AEM publishes the monthly tractor and combine report.

Sales of 100-plus-horsepower, two-wheel-drive tractors in July, compared to July 2022, were up 0.3%, not even a dozen units between the two reporting months, a year apart. However, a look at the year-to-date data would tell a more positive story. For the months January through July 2023, sales of 100-plus-horesepower tractors are up 7.7% compared to the same period in 2022.

Sales of four-wheel-drive tractors in July 2023 compared to July 2022 were up 1.2% or just four units. But as with the 100-plus-horsepower tractors, the year-to-date story is much more positive. From January through July 2023, four-wheel-drive sales are up 36.2% over the same seven months in 2022.

Tractor sales under 40 horsepower and those 40 to less than 100 horsepower continue to be down, off about 6 percentage points each. There has been a major cooling of small-tractor sales post-COVID, and this downward trend has not changed for the past many months.

Combines continue to be a bright spot, with the speculation being that operators are highly interested in updating to new technology -- and then updating again, from year to year.

AEM reports that combine sales in July were up 10.6% (76 units) over reported combine sales in July 2022. For the year, January through July 2023, combine sales are up 41.2% from the same period in 2022, or nearly 1,200 units.

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Dan Miller