While they're looking at the end of another good year for farm equipment sales, dealers are telling us they remained concerned about the shortage of new equipment, which is expected to hold back sales growth in the year ahead, and their growing inventory of used, particularly combines. On the other hand, they're also reporting that overall machinery pricing is holding firm.

As we head into the New Year, here's a recap of what dealers told us in our most recent "Dealer Trends & Business Outlook" survey conducted by Ag Equipment Intelligence and Cleveland Research Co. in December.

Pricing Trends: Dealers report price is contributing roughly ~2.5% to total November revenue, up from ~2% in October.

New Equipment Availability: Overall, a net 60% of dealers report longer factory lead-times compared to last month (64% longer; 33% same; 3% shorter), up slightly from the net 59% in October.

New Equipment Lead Times: In terms of product categories, leads times (from order to delivery) each of the four core products we measure show slightly longer lead times this month. On average combine lead times are 7.3 months; 4WD are 6 months; row-crop tractor lead times are 6.4 months; and smaller tractors (<100 HP) lead times are about 5 months.

New Equipment Inventory: New equipment inventory remains tight as a net 30% of dealers categorize new inventory as "too low" (10% too high; 50% about right; 40% too low), which is about the same as last month.

Used Equipment Inventory: Used equipment inventory appears to have decreased. A net 3% of dealers categorize their used inventory levels as "too high" (27% too high; 49% about right; 24% too low) vs. a net 5% last month.

Used Combine Inventory: A net 34% of dealers are reporting used combine inventory levels are still "too high" (44% too high; 46% about right; 10% too low).

Used Equipment Pricing vs. Previous Month: Overall pricing on used tractors over 100 horsepower was up 3.9% year-over-year on average in November, pretty much consistent with October. Prices for used tractors under 100 horsepower were up 2.1% in November, down slightly from 2.4% in October. Used combine values are up 0.3% in November vs. flat last month.

Used Equipment Pricing vs. Previous Year: Compared to last year, a net 7% of dealers report higher values for under 100 horsepower tractors, up from a net 3% in October. For over 100 horsepower tractors, a net 24% of dealers report higher values vs. last month, up from a net 18% in October. A net 14% of dealers report used combine values are lower than last month.

Overall, farm equipment trends are strong going into the New Year. With that we wish all of our readers a Healthy & Prosperous 2012!