AEM: Positive Trend Continues in Tractor, Combine Sales

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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The total U.S. farm tractor sales number rose 12.8% in August compared to 2019, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers' latest monthly sales report. (DTN/Progressive Farmer file photo)

Maybe it's just me, but whenever I drive by a farm equipment dealer lot, I often wonder how long a piece of equipment has been sitting there, where it came from, etc. I drive by one dealer twice a day now due to DTN's recent change in office location (…), and it appears the equipment there is always the same.

Of course, that is probably wishful thinking on my part. If they keep it for a long period of time, maybe they will be more willing to wheel and deal, is how my reasoning goes.

I'm sure that is not the case, and the many tractors and combines on the lots probably come and go. Still, I have always found the movement of used and new machinery kind of interesting. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers' (AEM) monthly report always sheds some light on what the current situation is in farm machinery sales.

According to AEM's latest report, unit sales of agricultural tractors and self-propelled combines in August 2020 were positive for the fifth month in a row in the U.S.

The total U.S. farm tractor sales number rose 12.8% in August compared to 2019, while the U.S. self-propelled combine sales grew 1% compared to last year. Four-wheel-drive units increased for the first time this year in the U.S. in August, climbing 14.1% to 218 units, shrinking the year-to-date decline to 9.7%.

Tractors over 100-plus horsepower remain the only slow spot in the market, with 7.8% fewer of them finding new owners. Total year-to-date farm tractor sales are up 14% in 2020, while combines are up 3.6% on the year.

North of the border in Canada, August tractor sales grew across the lower-horsepower range, leading to an overall gain in tractor sales of 22%. This moves the year-to-date unit sales number for farm tractors to 6.9%. Meanwhile, combine sales' monthly growth of 35.8% cut the total year-to-date losses nearly in half to 11.5%

"We're not surprised with seeing growth in combines pick up, with USDA predictions of larger harvest sizes for this year," Curt Blades, AEM senior vice president of ag services, said in a news release. "We're still watching the 100-horsepower and four-wheel-drives sales closely, as those are the units that indicate how the large-field farmers are feeling, especially as they start planning for winter and cover crops, and next year's planting."

"However, this month's overall equipment sales remain above the five-year average, and we're pleased with that."

Both the U.S. and Canada full reports can be at….

Russ Quinn can be reached at

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