Tractor industry remains optimistic for year ahead after challenging 2020

Overall sales fell 15 percent last year compared to 2019.
Overall sales fell 15 percent last year compared to 2019. Photo credit: Getty

The country's tractor industry is optimistic about the year ahead after a challenging 2020.

Overall tractor sales fell 15.3 percent last year compared to 2019, with sales of bigger machines (those with 375 horsepower or more) down 25 percent.

However, Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA) president Kyle Baxter says the industry remains positive after a strong end to the year, with December sales up 18.4 percent on 2019.

Baxter said TAMA members were reporting demand for tractors was now "steadily building across the country" as customers moved to secure machines for the 2021 spring/summer season.

"However, the pandemic is continuing to disrupt the overseas supply chain across Europe, America and Asia," he said.

"While New Zealand TAMA members are doing everything they can to ensure machines arrive on time for the season ahead, there will be potential delays in global manufacturing and international shipping routes that could be felt during the first half of the year."

Baxter said the industry was expecting a drop in sales of high-end tractors going into 2020, however the COVID-19 pandemic reduced sales even more than had been foreseen.

Sales of higher horsepower tractors traditionally sold into the arable/cropping and dry stock farming sector (machines with horsepower between 140-375) were among the hardest hit, with about a 20 percent reduction in sales volume compared to 2019, while tractors sold for the viticulture and horticulture sectors (80-100 horsepower) had a drop in annual sales volume of around 5 percent.

Sales of lifestyle tractors (20-30 horsepower) remained strong, with sales volumes much the same as in 2019, Baxter said.

"On a positive note for 2021, our members who manufacturer within New Zealand are reporting strong order banks for their equipment from customers. 

"This is very good news and another sign that our primary industry is still feeling buoyant amongst the global turmoil."