November tractor sales of 428 units were down sharply (27%) against the 589 units sold in November last year (2017). On a year-to-date basis, tractor sales for the first eleven months of the year are now only 4% up on last year. October’s combine harvester sales of nine units were two units less than the eleven units sold in November last year. On a year-to-date basis, combine harvester sales are now just 1% up on last year.
While the Crop Estimates Committee forecasts that plantings of the two major summer crops – maize and soya beans – are likely to be significantly higher than last year, some parts of the country, particularly in the west, have not yet had sufficient rain for farmers to be able to plant. Most industry commentators feel that the current level of tractor sales more accurately reflects conditions in the industry.
Up until November 2018, sales had been quite buoyant, helped by a competitive market and well-priced stock. Many farmers had taken the opportunity to bring their equipment purchases forward. The current realties of the market are that finance is tight and input costs are high. There is also a measure of political uncertainty. Despite this, industry forecasts are that 2018 calendar year sales will be approximately 5% up on 2017 sales. – SAAMA