Tuesday, 26 July 2016 12:55

Some bright spots in soggy tractor market

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Large tractor sales down, Kiwis are buying more compact tractors. Large tractor sales down, Kiwis are buying more compact tractors.

Tractor sales are holding despite the dairy downturn, says NZ Tractor and Machinery Association president Mark Hamilton-Manns.

Second quarter tractor sales declined by 8.5% versus the same quarter last year.

Several segments increased however. The consumer segment grew 15%, as more Kiwis bought 20–60hp compact tractors for lifestyle blocks, hire fleets and some commercial applications.

The 121–140hp, 141–180hp and 181–250hp segments also grew by 39%, 116% and 125% respectively. These tractors are mostly used in arable and dry stock farming and by contractors.

Sales in Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Wairarapa and Nelson grew because of strong growth in horticulture and viticulture.

Sales in the dairy segment (100–120hp) declined by 15%.

"Dairy farmers are still buying," Hamilton-Manns says. "Our members have noticed they're taking longer to make decisions, and often choosing a machine with lower specifications. In some cases, cabs are considered a luxury and are gone from shopping lists.

"Dairy farmers are still prepared to purchase if there is a strong return on investment. Often replacing a tractor or machine will reduce annual expenditure as repairs and maintenance costs are generally less on a new machine and often covered by warranty. Newer tractors are also more fuel efficient."

"The consumer market is also competitive now, with great deals. But inexperienced consumers... buying machinery often underestimate the importance of the availability of parts, service and warranty support.

"A great deal upfront may be expensive later. Our advice is to buy from a recognised NZ dealer for sure access to parts and service."

The tightening dairy market is prompting tractor makers and retailers to provide training, aftermarket support and parts supply to help keep customers' machines operating, Hamilton-Manns says.

"And our manufacturers are investing heavily in R&D to meet off-road emissions regulations, integrate technology into machines and reduce operating costs."


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