South Africa’s agricultural machinery sales have continued their negative trend in comparison with the first two months of last year.
This is according to records by the South African Agricultural Machinery Association (SAAMA) that stated that for the period 1 January to 28 February 2019, tractor sales of 914 units and combine harvester sales of 19 units were respectively 20,5% and 34,5% lower than the 1 150 tractors and 29 combine harvesters sold over the same period in 2018.
SAAMA’s statistics show that during February 2019, 526 tractors (February 2018: 604 units) and 15 combine harvesters (February 2018: 21 units) were sold nationally.
Commenting on these statistics, the association’s chairperson, Greg Cadman, said:
“Although market sentiment has improved, farmers in most areas are unsure of what the immediate future holds in terms of crop yields. Early planted crops, mainly in the east, are generally looking good. Late planted crops are now dependent on continued rain and the absence of early frost. Maize yields, according to the Crop Estimates Committee, will be approximately 15% down this year.”
Wandile Sihlobo, head of agribusiness intelligence at Agbiz, said that the February tractor and combine harvester sales were 36% and 275% up respectively on sales in January.
According to Sihlobo, this was a reflection of the Crop Estimates Committee’s (CEC) latest 3% increase to its statistics for the national plantings of 2018/2019 summer grains and oilseeds crops.
He added that, however, even with this upwardly revised figure by the CEC, the total area currently planted to summer grains and oilseeds was 3% less than South Africa’s total plantings of these crops during the 2017/2018 summer season.
“Going forward, we suspect that South Africa’s agricultural machinery sales will generally be subdued this year due to expectations of a poor harvest on the back of unfavourable weather conditions and a reduction in area planted,” Sihlobo said.
Cadman said that while it was still too early in the year to make reliable estimates of tractor sales for the 2019 calendar year, “indications are that sales will be at a similar level to, or slightly less than, the [6 714] units sold last year”.
By Lloyd Phillips