Recently, Ag Equipment Intelligence visited with industrial and agricultural analyst Mike Shlisky about what farm equipment dealers he’s spoken with are saying about the sales outlook for 2019.

Shlisky says, “Dealers appear to be relieved to have entered something of a stable phase centered around replacement of 3-5 year old equipment. They are concerned about farmer reactions to higher equipment prices, lower discounts and higher interest rates, since so many farmers have seen debt levels rise over the last few years. Dealers are also reporting that farmers are paying close attention to cost; while most are not willing to forego the latest technological improvements, ‘creature comforts’ such as high-end seats and other amenities are being passed up in favor of more basic configurations.”

Besides the need to replace older equipment, Shlisky says there are two other overriding factors that could affect machine sales in 2019. These are are technological improvements and political and policy changes. Planter and sprayer units are often the first off the lot in advance of planting season, and companies such as Deere have focused on bringing the technology on its sprayers up to the level of its advanced high speed planters. This is likely to be a multi-year trend for Deere, as the company further develops and uses its newly-acquired Blue River Technology division. Beyond technology, policy changes surrounding soybean tariffs and related subsidies could move the needle for equipment sales in the coming months — both positively and negatively.”

Farm Equipment Dealer Survey

Going into the new year, overall dealers are forecasting 1% year-over-year growth, according to the results of the most recent Ag Equipment Intelligence Dealer Sentiments survey. A net 26% of dealers are expecting sales improvement in 2019 compared to 17% in the previous month.