According to the October 12, 2010 research notes by Baird’s Robert McCarthy Jr., large agriculture machinery sales remained solid in September; combine sales growth moderated in the seasonally most important month of the year (though still set a 10+ year monthly high), while row crop tractor comparisons remained strong against weak prior-year comparisons.

While third-quarter large machinery demand appears modestly stronger than expected, reports McCarthy, potential farmer caution post-new diesel emission standards in 2011 and the relative youth of the existing fleet suggest current demand may not be sustainable.

Here are a few highlights from McCarthy’s analysis.

* US & Canada combine retail sales moderated in September, increasing 12.9% year/year after a 17.2% increase last month, despite an apparently easier prior-year comparison. Regardless, absolute sales levels reached the single highest monthly total since 1998.

 * US & Canada large tractor sales comparisons remained strong in September, up 37% year/year following the 35% August increase.

*  Row crop tractor sales increased a robust 43.1% year/year in September following August's 45.2% increase, though prior-year comparisons in August, September, and October appear relatively easier versus earlier in 2010.

* 4WD tractor retail sales comparisons improved in September to a 16.6% year/year increase, up from 3.3% in August.