Combine, Big Tractor Sales Climb Again in March
Combine sales cooled a bit in March from year-ago levels, according to the latest Ag Tractor and Combine Report compiled by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). But that number would be down from an over-the-top sales performance February (up 132% from February 2022) to only a 47.1% increase last month compared to March 2022--a number that ought to still bring a smile to the faces of manufacturing executives (or, given the push for evermore sales, perhaps not).
Manufacturers rolled 509 combines off their assembly lines in March 2023. During March, a year earlier, the industry produced 346 combines. Year-to-date, combine sales remain highly impressive. For the first three months of 2023, the ag machinery industry has produced 1,514 combines compared to the 751 combines sold during the first three months of 2022. That's a year-over-year increase of 101.6%.
Two-wheel drive tractor sales may be turning a corner, but not a good one. For several months, sales of two-wheel drive tractors--less than 40 hp and 40-100 hp--have been on the decline. It was no different in March. Sales of less than 40 hp tractors were off 14.2% compared to the same month in 2022. Sales of tractors, 40-100 hp were off 11.8%.
Notedly, sales of two-wheel drive tractors, 100 hp and more, declined 6.1% compared to sales in March 2022. (1,857 units 2023 vs 1978 units 2022). These tractors have been an important driver of overall commercial ag tractor sales for many months. To fair however, these are not numbers that will cause the industry to panic. Overall sales of 100 hp+ tractors for the year still are up 5.2% compared to the first three months of 2022.
Ok. That's the so-so bad tractor news. AEM's March sales numbers for 4WD farm tractors indicate farmers are investing in horsepower--and probably the newest technology packages hung on them. Four-wheel drive tractor sales for March were up 106% over March 2022. Good news for the industry, yes, but we're not talking huge numbers of tractors overall (414 units sold in March compared to 201 units sold in March 2022). For the year through March, 4WD tractor sales are up 50.7% compared to the same period in 2022.
Dan Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on Twitter @DMillerPF
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