No rain inhibits farmers’ expenditure

No rain inhibits farmers’ expenditure on The South African Agricultural Machinery Association (SAAMA) has attributed the slow start to this summer’s general rains as the main reason behind equally slow farmers’ purchases of new tractors and combine harvesters during October.

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But despite low crop prices and the lack of good October rains, SAAMA said role-players in the local agricultural machinery industry are still cautiously optimistic for a turnaround in sales.SAAMA’s latest figures showed that October 2010 tractor sales of 610 units were 9% down on the 672 units sold in October last year. October 2010 combine harvester sales of 10 units were a significant 56,5% down on the 23 units sold in October 2009.

“Year-to-date tractor sales are still approximately 12% down on last year,” said SAAMA’s new Chairman, Lane Reynolds, who recently took up the role from Leon Pretorius. “Year-to-date combine harvester sales are now 35% down on last year.”New Holland SA’s Managing Director, Peter Askew, said despite current tough conditions for many national farming businesses, there were still farmers out there who would be making money over the next year and who would be needing new machinery and implements.

Askew added, “The backlash of the global economic downturn is still going to be felt next year. So, we’re going to have to tighten our belts and actively go out and look for new business. Sitting at our desks and waiting for new business to come in is not going to work. While many farmers may not be looking for new tractors and harvesters, there are most definitely other products, like balers and planters, that they will need. We must go out there and market these products to them.”

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Reynolds said the SA agricultural machinery industry’s expectations for total 2010 tractor and harvester sales remained in the order of 5 000 units, approximately 10% down on 2009’s total sales figure.