Drought, What Drought?

Farmer Iron

Farm equipment data shows that farmers are buying - so far.

Published on: April 8, 2013

Well, there's nothing like an historic drought to put the ol' kibosh on equipment sales. I'm thinking that our partners selling big iron are hunkering down and rethinking their marketing plans. Oh, wait, I just got the February numbers from our friends at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and it looks like farm wallets are still wide open!

A quick glimpse of their Ag Flash report - which gives an overview of tractor and combine sales - shows some pretty good news. Here's a quick summary:

Under-40 horsepower tractor sales are on the rebound - they were soft after the 2008 crash, but have been limping back up to speed. They're running now and up 16.7% year over year. Inventory numbers for this tractor class are still running at about 13 months, so there's some backlog to work down, but given this bump in sales, it's pretty good news for the long term.

HOT HARVESTERS: Combine sales in latest AEM report show youre buying - year-to-date sales are up nearly 42%.
HOT HARVESTERS: Combine sales in latest AEM report show you're buying - year-to-date sales are up nearly 42%.

Tractors between 40 and 100-hp saw sales rise 9.2% over the same period last year (first two months of the year). Inventory numbers here are up a bit, with dealers having about a year's worth on hand, though that bump will also whittle this down too.

And for 100-plus hp tractors, sales are up 24.4%. Here inventory numbers are running a lot tighter with less than four months of equipment this size sitting on dealer lots.

Four-wheel drive farm tractor sales are also skyrocketing, up 24.2% for the month an 49.5% year to date when compared to last year. Inventory is running a little over two months, so equipment makers are apparently making good with their efforts to build bigger equipment to order - which is apparent from combine numbers you can see below.

For combines, or self-propelled combines as AEM calls them, sales are up 71.9% for the month and nearly 42% year-to-date compared to last year. Inventory is running at about two months, which allows dealers to hold the line on prices.

While the drought has probably hit your future planning on some level, it's not yet apparent in equipment sales numbers - at least for the power equipment. Short-line makers, which have told us at shows that early order has gone well, may see more impact if the drought lingers in some parts of the country.

For now, the news remains pretty good in farm country - at least based on your spending levels.

Speaking of drought, we have a free report - Five Post-Drought Strategies for a Better 2013 - click the link to get to the registration page. The report can help you get this year off to a solid start.