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Ag tractor sales up for 2017

Downturn of 2016 carried over into 2017 but began to reverse as year progressed.

Farm tractor and combine sales saw some improvements in 2017, although weakness still exists, according to the latest report from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

AEM senior vice president for AG Services Curt Blades said, “When we look at 2017 U.S. retail sales, especially from midyear on, the bright spot continued to be the small-tractor sales under 40 hp, with consistently positive numbers, while tractors 40-100 hp have essentially been flat.”

Smaller tractors under 40 hp were up 4.6% for December compared to the prior year and up 8% for the year. Meanwhile, sales of 100 hp-plus tractors were down 7.4% for the month compared to December 2016 and were down 8.1% for the year.

“For the larger ag tractor sales (100 hp-plus two-wheel drive), we saw some real softening at the beginning of the year but some sizable reversals to end at a negative 8%, and (four-wheel) drive tractors and combines ended on a positive note, with modest gains,” Blades noted.

Four-wheel-drive farm tractors saw an 18.4% increase for the month of December 2017 compared to the year before and ended the year up 4.9%.

Combines saw a year-over-year improvement of 3.6%.

“So, while the downturn of 2016 carried over into 2017, it began to reverse as the year progressed,” Blades said. “With tax reform passed, we are cautiously optimistic for continued overall improvement in 2018.”

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