Tractor sales slump in December no cause for concern

Despite being 31,6% lower than the previous December’s tractor sales, the December 2012 figure did not prevent total sales for last year being more than 500 units greater than total tractor sales in 2011.

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According to the South African Agricultural Machinery Association (SAAMA) machinery sales should remain buoyant in 2013. “Market fundamentals are still looking good,” said SAAMA chairperson, Callie Human.  “Commodity prices are holding up well and, with local and international grain stocks at relatively low levels, it is likely that current grain prices will be sustained.”

SAAMA reported 334 tractors sold nationally in December 2012, compared to 488 units sold in December 2011. Total 2012 tractor sales of 7 899 units were 7% up on the 7 379 units sold in 2011. In December 2012, 11 combine harvesters were sold, 175% up on the four units sold in December 2011. Total 2012 national combine harvester sales of 343 units were 31,9% higher than the 260 units sold over 2011.

SAAMA hoped for good follow-up rains during the next few weeks to ensure that summer crops realised the potential they were showing. “Farmers are cautiously optimistic, but dependent on weather conditions over the next few weeks,” Human said. A John Deere sales representative in KwaZulu-Natal, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that he agreed with SAAMA’s assessments of current and short-term future national agricultural machinery sales.

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“I always experience a dip in my monthly machinery sales during December because I find that most buyers prefer to wait to purchase a model made in the new year,” he said. “I feel that the good maize price and good rains are significantly behind the strong sales.”