Ag tractor and combine sales in May 2022 in the United States fell below the five-year average for the first time since March 2020, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) reports in its May 2022 Ag Tractor and Combine release. This is the latest evidence that equipment sales have grown soft in at least the near term.
Declining tractor sales are evident at both ends of the horsepower range. Less-than-40-horsepower tractor sales are down 15.9% from May 2021. Sales of 40- to 100-horsepower units are similarly down 16.4% from May 2021. Sales at the higher horsepower end of the scale -- four-wheel-drive farm tractors -- are down more than 30%. In raw numbers, that's 174 units sold in May 2022, compared to 253 units sold in May 2021.
Tractor sales being down 14.2% for the year is significant. However, this year-over-year comparison (May 2022 compared to May 2021) is somewhat deceiving. That's because significantly higher sales of under-100-horsepower tractors last year were on a significant upward tear, up month to month through much of 2020 and into 2021.
In the middle horsepower range, manufacturers find better news. Sales of two-wheel-drive, 100-horsepower tractors and above, are strong as they have been for the past three months. May 2022 sales of two-wheel-drive tractors are up 13.9% over May 2021. Growth in the 100-plus horsepower two-wheel-drive segment indicates continued demand in row-crop agriculture, AEM concluded.
In the final equipment category, sales of self-propelled combines are down 12.7%, May 2022 compared to May 2021.
For the year, January through May compared to the same time in 2021, under-40-horsepower tractors sales are down 16.7%; 40-100 horsepower are down 12.9%; four-wheel-drive are down 12.9%; and combines are down 14.2%. The only category showing a gain for the year is two-wheel-drive, 100-plus-horsepower tractors. Sales are up 10.4% compared to the same period last year.
"Supply chain remains the primary issue in the ag equipment market right now," said Curt Blades, senior vice president, industry sectors and product leadership at the AEM. "Another thing to keep in mind, especially when comparing numbers year-over-year, is 2021 sales were significantly above historic trends."
Supply chain problems have dramatically affected delivery times, likely also affecting demand. Other factors contributing to slowing sales might seem obvious. The sharply higher input costs farmers are paying for pesticides, fertilizer, seed and diesel are consuming dollars that might otherwise go to new equipment.
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
Follow him on Twitter @DMillerPF
(c) Copyright 2022 DTN, LLC. All rights reserved.