For the third year in a row, U.S. dealers are forecasting fewer additions to their precision farming departments, according to Ag Equipment Intelligence’s 2017 Dealer Business Outlook & Trends report.
The report, which tracks hiring and revenue projections for the coming year,reveals that only about 10% of U.S. dealers plan to add precision staff in 2017. This continues a gradual 13% decline during the last 3 years.
Independent dealers are the least optimistic group according to the report, with none planning to add staff in 2017 and more than 16% anticipating a reduction or relocation of precision specialists — up nearly 12% over this year.
2017 Precision Hiring Outlook
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Among the major manufacturers, Kubota dealers forecast the biggest drop in additional precision hires, going from 23% who planned to hire precision specialists this year to zero in 2017, according to the report, followed by John Deere, with about a 6% year-over-year decline.
But there is positive hiring news as well, with both Case IH and New Holland dealers are forecasting increases. Some 13% of New Holland dealers project adding precision specialists in 2017, more than double the percentage this year. About 16% of Case IH dealers are also forecasting hiring growth in the coming year, compared to just over 11% in 2016.
It’s also worth noting that New Holland dealers have the second highest hopes for precision sales growth in the coming year, with more than 34% forecasting precision sales growth of at least 2% in 2017, compared to about 18% this year. Deere dealers lead the way with 60% forecasting revenue growth in 2017, according to the report.