April saw strong U.S. sales of self-propelled combines, jumping 59 percent compared to the same month last year, and a 21-percent gain for April year-to-date combine sales, according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).
U.S. 4-wheel-drive tractor sales gained 2 percent in April compared to last year, with year-to-date April gains of 4 percent over last year.
For 2-wheel drive tractors, April sales in the 100-plus HP category dropped 7 percent, while 40-100 HP 2-wheel drive tractors gained 7 percent, and little change in the under-40 HP category. Total April year-to-date sales for 2-wheel drive tractors remained relatively flat.
“We saw that 2017 was better than 2016, and in 2018, growth is sluggish but still positive,” said Curt Blades, AEM senior vice president, AG services. “The downward trend in net farm income obviously is a concern since it is such a big factor in equipment sales. A bright spot, if you will, is the impact of continued replacement of aging machines; one downside is the continued threat of U.S. protectionism on farmers’ business as well as for equipment manufacturers. So, there’s still a lot of uncertainty with the year one-third over.”