Farm equipment sales rose slightly amid tough economic times impacting farm country.
Sales data compiled by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) shows two-wheel drive tractor sales gaining four-percent compared to March of last year. Four-wheel drive tractor sales dropped five-percent and self-propelled combine sales declined by 20%.
AEM data also outlines first-quarter sales. Small-size tractor sales were essentially flat. One-hundred-plus horsepower, two-wheel drive tractor sales declined five-percent, while four-wheel drive tractor sales gained roughly five-percent. Self-propelled combines gained four-percent.
Curt Blades, AEM senior vice president of agricultural services, says his organization is cautiously optimistic for continued growth this year. However, it understands equipment sales are being tempered by an uncertain farm economy.
“We are still contending with diplomatic jockeying over steel tariffs and China trade that is causing concern for the agriculture and manufacturing communities. Headwinds also include potential negative changes to the Renewable Fuels Standard. Overall, we’re looking at the USDA forecast of a decline in 2018 net farm profits,” Blades said.
Blades notes: “Many farmers will need to replace equipment at some point, for longer term efficiency.” He hopes tax reform will provide farmers some relief and a positive stimulus.