Tractor and combine harvester sales up for May

Tractor and combine harvester sales for May are up compared to the corresponding period last year, but on a year-to-date basis sales are still low, Wynn Dedwith, chairman of the South African Agricultural Machinery Association (SAAMA), said in a recent statement.

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There was a 5% increase in tractor sales (422 units) for May this year, compared with 402 units sold in May 2015. On a year-to-date basis tractor sales were approximately 8% down on those for the previous year.

Combine harvester sales of 26 units for May were significantly up on the 19 units sold in May last year. On a year-to-date basis, however, combine harvester sales were approximately 16% down on last year, the statement said.

“Some crops, particularly those in the eastern parts of South Africa, are yielding well. With the current excellent crop prices, farmers in the east will be in a good position to buy equipment later in the year,” he said.

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However, according to the statement, many summer crop farmers in the western regions of South Africa were not well off.

“The NAMPO Harvest Day provided a good test of market sentiment. In general, the mood among farmers was positive and this auger well for the immediate future. There is still some way to go before farmers begin to plant their summer crops, and despite the fundamentals of the market being positive, farmers still remain cautious,” Dedwith said.

As a result, it is expected that tractor sales for 2016 will be down on last year, by perhaps between 15 to 20%, according to the statement.