World demand for agricultural equipment is forecast to rise 4.5% per year through 2014 to $123 billion, according to a new report from Freedonia released this week.

Gains will be paced by the accelerating mechanization of the agricultural sectors in developing countries, especially in heavily populated China and India. Farm sectors in these countries are still significantly unmechanized and inefficient in comparison to those found in more developed markets. Moreover, robust economic growth in both countries is resulting in ever increasing per capita consumption of all kinds of food products. As a result, these countries’ governments are focusing on policies that aid their respective farm sectors and improve crop yields in order to ensure national food security.

Developing nations to post healthiest gains

Besides China and India, other large developing nations with sizable agricultural sectors, such as Brazil, Indonesia, Russia and Thailand, will also register healthy gains as a result of increasing mechanization that will be bolstered by rising farmer incomes. Moreover, further urbanization in developing countries will necessitate the replacement of human capital with fixed capital. The US will experience gains that lag the world average due to decelerating growth in economic and agricultural sector output in the country.

Western Europe will post weak growth due to similar reasons as well as weak population growth. Moreover, the European Union’s next budget (the current one runs from 2007 to 2013) will almost certainly result in less funding for the common agricultural policy (CAP). Farmers in both the US and Western Europe will be adversely impacted by continuing trends in favor of free trade and against protectionist measures such as subsidies for domestic farmers and tariffs on agricultural product imports. Brazil and Russia stand to benefit the most from increasing export opportunities for farm products.

Modern technology to aid gains in developed nations

Throughout the industrialized world, demand will largely be replacement oriented in nature, as the farming sectors of most countries are not growing in terms of number of farms, acreage harvested and similar physical variables. Demand will also be aided by the development and growing use of higher value “precision agriculture” products that make extensive use of modern technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS) and wireless sensors. Given the widespread diversity and often interrelation of applications, growth prospects for specific types of farm machinery -- tractors, combines, planting and fertilizing, plowing and cultivating, and haying machinery, etc. -- do not vary substantially.

China now largest global supplier, surpassing the US

Hundreds of companies manufacture agricultural equipment throughout the world, with the large multinational producers headquartered almost exclusively in the developed regions. In 2009, China overtook the US as the largest global supplier, with shipments of $17 billion. The US industry declined in 2009 due to the country’s recession. A majority of Chinese production continues to take place under numerous state-controlled entities and is of lower quality than found in developed nations, although foreign manufacturers are becoming increasingly important in the country’s farm machinery industry, often through joint ventures.

Study coverage This new industry study presents historical demand data (1999, 2004, 2009) plus forecasts for 2014 and 2019 by type, world region and for 26 countries. The study also considers market environment factors, evaluates company market share and profiles 26 industry participants worldwide.

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