Farm Equipment dealers expect their overall sales for the full year to rise 4%, according Ag Equipment Intelligence’s April survey of 170 dealers throughout North America. Combined, these dealers have annual revenues of roughly $6 billion.

The survey, which was conducted by Ag Equipment Intelligence and Cleveland Research Co., polled farm equipment dealers during the last two weeks of April. Survey results are published in Ag Equipment Intelligence’s “Dealer Trends & Business Outlook — April 2012,” which just released to subscribers and dealers who participated in the survey. Highlights of the report include:

Industry Sales Growth Increases 5% in March

Ag equipment dealers reported year-over-year sales grew 5% on average in March, up from 4% in February. John Deere, Case IH and Kubota reported the highest average sales growth at up 6%, while AGCO brands, shortlines and other dealers saw the weakest results in the month with sales down 2% on average.

2012 Outlook Now at 4% Growth

For 2012, dealers took their sales forecast down slightly and expect 4% sales growth for the full year vs. 5% in January and February. Shortline dealers are the most optimistic this month reporting the highest full-year growth outlook at 6% while AGCO, Case IH and Kubota dealers report the least optimistic outlook at 3% on average.

Dealer Optimism Moderates Again

Our Dealer Optimism Index, a measure of sentiment among dealers compared to the prior month, moderated to a net 8% of dealers reporting they have a more optimistic outlook now vs. 15% last month (25% are more optimistic; 59% same; 17% are less optimistic).