Farmers adopt ‘wait and see’ approach on tractor purchases

South Africa’s farmers are reportedly being cautious about deciding on whether or not to buy new tractors ahead of the forthcoming summer planting season.

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Wynn Dedwith, chairperson of the SA Agricultural Machinery Association (SAAMA), explained that while market sentiment was positive, “many farmers are biding their time on making buying decisions as they harvest their summer crops.”

SAAMA reported that the national June 2016 new tractor sales of 385 units were 24,8% down on the 512 units sold in June 2015. Year-to-date June 2016 new tractor sales of 2 952 units were 10,8% down on the 3 308 new tractors sold for the year-to-date June 2015.

June 2016 combine harvester sales of 19 units were, however, 18,8% up on the 16 units sold in June 2015. The 118 combine harvesters sold for the year-to-date June 2016 were 11,9% down on the 134 units sold for the year-to-date June 2015.

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“It is likely that the market will continue to be a little depressed in the next month or two. Once farmers are sure of what their [2015/16 summer] crops have yielded and they need to start land preparation for their [2016/2017] summer crop plantings, there should be a better indication of the trend in future tractor sales,” said Dedwith.

SAAMA secretary Dr Jim Rankin said SA’s agricultural machinery sales industry still expected 2016 tractor sales to be 15% to 20% down on the 5 673 units sold over the 2015 calendar year.