Sales of tractors in 2017 increased markedly, just topping the previous highest recorded levels of 2014, says NZ Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA) General Manager, Ron Gall.
Mr Gall said the association recognised that some farmers in both islands were currently experiencing hardship with the very hot and dry conditions. The challenging drought conditions may affect sales in the coming months but it was hoped changing weather would provide some relief.
Mr Gall said in 2017, a total of 4079 tractors were sold. This is up 13% on 2016, up 14% on 2015 and even slightly up on the boom dairy year of 2014, which had 4062 sales.
Sales were particularly strong in the dairy areas of Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu, Canterbury and Southland and in the horticulture, viticulture and arable areas of Northland, Hawkes Bay, Nelson and Marlborough.
Otago, home to dairy and horticulture and viticulture, experienced particularly impressive growth, with a 28% increase on 2016. The biggest increase on last year’s sales was Taranaki with 214 sales in 2017 compared to 158 in 2016, representing a 35% boost. Combined, the areas of North, Mid and South Canterbury had a 22% increase on 2016.
Mr Gall said the increased sales reflected the improved dairy forecast payout along with steady growth in horticulture and viticulture.
According to TAMA’s biennual industry value and employment survey, the total number of people employed in the tractor and farm machinery sales and servicing sector had also increased. There has been a 14% increase since 2015 – from 2492 to 2846 roles. Nearly 40% of those employed earned salaries of more than $75,000.
Of respondents to the survey, 57% said they had difficulties hiring staff and 19% had hired migrants.
“The machinery/technology sector offers innovative and well-paid jobs with a strong career pathway, including senior roles in sales and business management. TAMA is looking at options to profile the industry as a rewarding career choice for young people,” Mr Gall said.