U.S. large ag retail sales were up 12.9% year-over-year in January, while Canadian sales were up 38%. Combined U.S./Canada large ag sales were up 15.4% (vs. up 11.3% in December), marking the fifth consecutive month with growth of over 9%.
Sales growth decelerated from a November high but remained robust. U.S. large ag retail sales were up 14.1% year-over-year in December, while Canadian sales were down 1.8%. Combined U.S. and Canada large ag sales were up 11.3% (vs. up 17.7% in November), marking the 5th month in 6 with growth over 9%.
Overall tractor unit sales continued their growth across North America in October 2020 despite a small pause in larger units in Canada, according to the latest data from the Assn. of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).
In its third quarter earnings for the year, AGCO reported total sales of $2.5 billion dollars, up 18.4% from $2.1 billion in the third quarter of 2019. For the first 9 months of 2020, total sales were $6.4 billion, down 1.5% from $6.5 billion in the same period last year.
Recent quarterly earnings reports for the major farm machinery manufacturers were described as either “better than expected” or “could have been worse,” according to several industry analysts. This is to say, at least, AGCO and Deere exceeded analysts’ expectations. (CNH Industrial didn’t.)
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Robotics and automation are far more than buzz words in agriculture, with companies engineering scalable solutions for farm fields of the future. While these technologies will be valuable tools for streamlining predictable farm tasks, automating creative troubleshooting and technical intuition — skills often associated with precision specialists — will be challenging.