Combines See Another Sales Decline

September Tractor Sales Turn Down; Combine Sales Decline Slightly

Dan Miller
By  Dan Miller , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Sales of four-wheel-drive tractors more than doubled in September 2023 compared to September 2022. But overall tractor sales were dragged down by vastly lower sales of small, under-100-horsepower tractors. (Photo courtesy of John Deere)

The September 2023 Ag Tractor and Combine sales report continued a trend that has been mostly unchanged all year. Sales of two-wheel-drive tractors 100 horsepower and above and four-wheel-drive tractors rose again last month compared to same-month sales in September 2022.

The one change was in combine sales. Remarkably strong all year, combine sales marked a slight decline in September for the second month in a row, compared to year-earlier sales reports. In September, sales of combines were down 0.9% compared to September 2022 sales.

In real numbers, that is eight combines in an equipment segment that has sold 5,694 combines this year (up 25% over the same nine-month period in 2022). But year-over-year monthly sales were incredibly strong earlier this year. For example, in February, combine sales were up 132% over February 2022.

Monthly tractor and combine sales numbers are tracked and reported by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

According to AEM, September sales of heavy, four-wheel-drive tractors rose 113.8% compared to September 2022 sales -- just shy of 300 more units sold last month compared to sales during September 2022. For this year, January through September, four-wheel-drive tractor sales have risen 43.3% compared to the first nine months of 2022.

Two-wheel-drive tractor sales fell 5.7% in September compared to September last year. In actual numbers of tractors, that's 1,232 fewer, but the vast majority of those are small, under-100-horsepower tractors. September sales of two-wheel-drive utility tractors were up 7.6% compared to a year ago or 181 units.

For this year, January through September, two-wheel-drive tractor sales are down 8.7% compared to the same nine months in 2022. But again, much of that decline is explained by significant declines in sales of smaller-horsepower tractors. Sales of two-wheel-drives, 100 horsepower and above, remain up 7.7% for the first nine months of 2023, compared to the same period in 2022.

Decent commercial ag tractors and combine sales are evidence of farm managers' desire to replace their older fleets. Industry analysts believe tractor and combine sales also are evidence of managers moving to adopt the technologies found on new combines, tractors, and, increasingly, the implements they pull.

Regarding combines, it will take further reporting to understand if the slight declines of the past two months are harvest-related or indicators that a gradual softening in the combine market is more significant.

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Dan Miller