Starting off 2015, dealers surveyed by Ag Equipment Intelligence and Cleveland Research Co. say that, on average, they’re expecting overall sales to decline 11% for the year. Compared to what the major equipment manufacturers are forecasting, the dealers’ outlook appears almost optimistic. And it doesn’t appear the dealers are necessarily on the same page as their chief suppliers in their outlooks for the year.

According to Ag Equipment Intelligence’s most recent “Dealer Sentiments & Business Conditions Update” report, issued on Feb. 27, the 11% year-over-year drop for the full-year 2015 compares with the down 8% forecast in December, but similar to the 10% decline projected in the November survey.

By brand, New Holland dealers were the most optimistic in their outlook for the year, forecasting a dropoff of 6%. Shortline and other dealers who are projecting a decline of 7% followed them. AGCO dealers see sales falling by 10%, John Deere and Kubota dealers expect an 11% decline. Case IH dealers continue to be the least optimistic, forecasting a sales decrease of 14% for the year ahead.

As for the manufacturers themselves, Deere reported last month that it was expecting declining North American sales in the range of 25-30%. In January, CNHI revised its industry forecast for North America and now expects tractors to be down 0-5% (from flat), with falloffs of 15-20% in high horsepower tractors (from down 10-15%), and combines are expected to decline 25-30% (from down 10%-15%). In January, AGCO reiterated its sales outlook, which includes an overall drop in equipment sales of 5-10%, with high horsepower tractor sales expected to decline by more than 20%.

The Assn. of Equipment Manufacturers is expected to release February 2015 unit sales today (Mar. 10). In January, total North American tractor sales rose by 3% year-over-year compared to a drop of 2% in December. All of the growth came in the less than 40 horsepower (18%) and the 40-100 horsepower (12%) tractor categories. Unit sales of large tractors (more than 100 horsepower) fell by 5% year-over-year, while combines declined by 53%, to the lowest level since January 2012.