With the exception of Russia and New Zealand, worldwide sales of high horsepower farm tractors were on a downward trajectory as 2014 inches toward its close.
In North America, large ag equipment retail sales declines accelerated in November, while mid-range and compact tractor sales continued to hold their own. During the month, 4WD tractor sales were down 44.9% year-over-year and row-crop tractors fell by 28.5%, according to the Assn. of Equipment Manufacturers November sales reports. Mid-range tractors, however, continue to show relative strength, increasing 7.9% year-over-year compared to up 6.4% in the previous month.
In the U.S., year-to-date sales of 4WD units were down 22.8% (4,685 vs. 6,069) and row-crop tractors were down 12.4% (28,830 vs. 32,907) compared to the January through November period in 2013.
In Canada, 4WD tractor sales were off 20.9% year-to-date (1,140 vs. 1,441), while row-crop tractor sales were up 4.4% (5,328 vs. 5,102) through November.
Brazilian tractor data from ANFAVEA, National Assn. of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, indicate that tractor sales of 5,225 units represented a drop of 12.5% vs. November 2013. This was the lowest monthly sales number since 2011.
Agrimoney.com reported that John Deere sales rose by 23% for the month and Massey Ferguson saw its sales grow by 2.4% year-over-year. Sales of Valtra tractors manufactured by AGCO, unit sales fell by nearly 18%. Case IH tractor sales in Brazil for the month rose by 10.6%, while New Holland-branded machines fell by 19%.
So far in 2014, all of the major brands have faced a falloff in Brazilian sales. Overall for the year, John Deere tractor sales are down 11.9%, Massey Ferguson is down 20%, and those of Case and New Holland are both down more than 20%.
Global Hunter Securities said in research notes on Dec. 11 and 12 that tractor sales in key European markets are down for the year.
In France, year-over-year sales of tractors in November fell by 25% vs. down 15% in October. For the month, 1,801 units were sold.
Sales of tractors 0-99 horsepower were off by 20% year-over-year and have declined by 18% so far in 2014. Sales of tractors in the 100-199 horsepower range fell by 27% year-over-year and are down 27% for the year through November. In 200-horsepower and higher equipment, sales declined by 34% vs. a year ago and compared with down 23% in October.
In his analysis, Michael Shlisky, market analyst for GHS, said, “France continues to be the most challenged of Europe’s major tractor markets after several consecutive years of double-digit growth. Besides broad macro headwinds, global declines in the prices of grains and oilseeds as well as declining dairy prices (-29% year-over-year) are impacting farmer demand for equipment. The three major OEMs have approximately 75% market share in France, roughly equally shared among Deere, AGCO and CNHI.”
German sales of farm tractors were down 20% year-over-year in November to 1,366 units compared to down 11% in October. Overall sales are down by 5% for the year.
In a research note on Dec. 12, Shlisky said among the brands, AGCO’s registrations were down 1% year-over-year in November for a share (among major brands only) of 26.3% (28.7% year to date). Claas’ sales were down 44% year-over-year in November for a share of 3.7% (8.8% year to date, up 33 bps from the prior year).
CNHI’s tractor registrations were down 25% year-over-year in November for a share of 15.1% (21.0% year to date, up 353 bps from the prior year). Deere’s tractor registrations were down 31% year-over-year in November for a share of 23% (23.5% year to date, down 258 bps from the prior year). Kubota’s tractor registrations were down 29% year-over-year in November for a share of 16.8% (6.1% year to date, down 46 bps from the prior year).
Tractor sales in the UK during November fell by 25% year-over-year to 525 units vs. down 22% in October. Through November, tractor sales were 11,857 units, a falloff of 0.3% year-over-year. For tractors 200 horsepower and higher, year-over-year sales in November were down 34% compared to down 23% in October, and down 11% for the year so far.
In summarizing his outlook for ag equipment sales in Europe, Shlisky said, “We remain cautious on agricultural fundamentals in Europe; while meat prices have remained robust, up 13% year-over-year, dairy prices have come down from recent peaks, down 29% year-over-year. Overall, agricultural sentiment in Europe continues to deteriorate rapidly as we progress through 2014, and the most recent readings from trade associations, such as CEMA/VDMA, suggest that over half of market participants expect business to decline in the next 6 months.”
Mahindra, which claims about 40% of tractor sales in India, reported on Dec. 6 that its tractor sales declined by 33% in November. The company’s domestic sales fell 36% in November to 14,207 units, down from 22,343 units in November 2013. Total tractor sales were down 34% to 15,333 units compared to 23,119 units for the same period last year.
In other tractor news from India, the Indian Express reported that Italian farm machinery maker Same Deutz-Fahr (SDF) plans to launch tractors in the 35-42 horsepower segment “designed and tailor-made for the Indian market.” According to SDF, the company now offers 45, 50, 55, 60, 70 and 80 horsepower tractors under the Agrolux and Agromax series in India. The company says the new tractors will be priced “in line with the 35 horsepower Swaraj tractor produced by Mahindra.”
Unit shipments of farm equipment in Russia have held up pretty well in the first 10 months of the year, according to Rosagromasch. Shipments of compact tractors (<40 horsepower) were up 6.5% compared with the same period in 2013 (12,876 vs. 12,094). Mid-range tractor (40-100 horsepower) shipments were off significantly through October, dropping by 24.5% (11,957 vs. 15,831). High horsepower tractor (>100 horsepower) shipments were up 5.2% for the 10-month period (6,143 vs. 5,837). Unit shipments of 4WD tractors grew by 32.8% (932 vs. 702). Combine shipments in Russia were up slightly (2.4%) through October 2014 (4,496 vs. 4,390).
Tractor sales in New Zealand hit their highest level in a decade during the third quarter of 2014, according to Statistics NZ. Overall, tractor sales rose 8.8% to 925 units during the 3 months through September. This is the highest sales figures posted in the country since the December 2004 quarter when they reached 970 units.