For the second month in a row, sales of tractors and combines declined in all but a single category. The dreary numbers reported in the April 2022 monthly tally were compiled by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).
AEM's report lays blame for the decline at the feet of the supply chain -- still lacking critical parts such as steel and plastics, in addition to those infamous computer chips.
U.S. total farm tractor sales fell 22.3% in April compared to April 2021. Tractors under 40 horsepower, 40-100 horsepower and four-wheel-drive sustained the biggest sales losses.
Under-40 horsepower sales are down 25% from April 2021 and down 19.5% in the 40-100 horsepower category. These bad-news numbers were similar in March.
For manufacturers, there is good news to be found in the two-wheel-drive, 100-plus horsepower segment. Sales there grew for the second month in a row, compared to year-earlier results. April sales rose 3.2% from April 2021 to April 2022 or 73 two-wheel drive tractors. Sales rose 7% in March compared to a year ago, and they are up 9.5% in the first four months of 2022, compared to the same timeframe last year. Tractors in this segment typically perform lighter fieldwork and utility chores around the farm and ranch.
The 40-horsepower-and-under tractors and 40-100 horsepower tractor segments comprise the largest number of total tractor sales (28,975 under-100 horsepower units sold last month). They also account for the biggest year-over-year decline. Manufacturers saw 9,086 fewer small and medium tractors sold last month, compared to April 2021. This has been a strong sales segment for several years. Another two or three months' worth of data will be needed to bring any new, long-term trend fully into focus.
Sales of four-wheel-drive tractors fell 21.1% last month compared to April 2021, although the raw numbers are not as large -- sales declined by 69 of these high-value units over year-ago numbers. Similarly, sales of self-propelled combines fell in April by 5.6% compared to one year ago. Total combine unit sales accounted for 459 units in April 2022, compared to 486 sold in the same month last year.
AEM suggests some perspective be allowed for these numbers. "Supply chain remains the No. 1 difficulty our member manufacturers are facing," Curt Blades, senior vice president, industry sectors and product leadership, said in a release from AEM. "At the same time, we're comparing (2022) to record numbers from 2021, and while these numbers may look disappointing, they remain above the five-year average."
To date, the big picture for 2022 sales is down. Combined two-wheel-drive tractor sales (under-40, 40-100 and 100-plus horsepower) are down 13.7%. Four-wheel-drive sales are down 8.1%, and combine sales are down 14.5%.
In Canada, unit sales fell in all segments again for a 19% decline in total farm tractor sales, led by four-wheel-drive units once more, down 49.3%. Total two-wheel-drive unit sales were down in every segment, leading to an overall 17.3% year-over-year unit sales loss. Combine harvesters were down as well in Canada, falling 14.1% to 110 units sold. Year-to-date farm tractor unit sales are down 7.7% in Canada, while harvesters are down 28%.
The full reports can be found in the Market Data section of the AEM website under Ag Tractor and Combine Reports.
Dan Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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