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Hot Combine Sales Reveal Run for Tech
By Dan Miller
Tuesday, March 14, 2023 8:39AM CDT

Farmers continued their pursuit of technology last month, evidenced by the large number of combines they are buying.

From the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) on Monday comes the monthly Ag Tractor and Combine Report, this one for February 2023. Sales last month rose a fairly astounding 165% over February 2022, a few percentage points more than the 132% increase recorded in January this year, over January 2022. In the month just ended, manufacturers sold 530 combines compared to 200 in February 2022. For the first two months of this year, compared to January and February 2022, combine sales are up just shy of 150% (1,007 combines sold this year, compared to 405 combines during the first two months of 2022).

"With the technology in today's equipment, especially in new harvesters, it's no surprise to see that segment continuing to grow as farmers look to increase the yields they can get with these new units," Curt Blades, senior vice president, industry sectors and product leadership, AEM, said in a release. "On the tractor side, most of those losses are the result of overly hot sales of small units during the pandemic. With overall sales reverting to near their five-year average, this is more a return to normal than anything else."

Tractor sales overall were down in February and are down for the year. However, as Blades said, the decline is seen clearly in the sale of tractors, 100 hp and below. February sales of less than 40 hp tractors were down 25.6%, while sales of tractors 40 to 100 hp were down 12.9%, both compared to February 2022. Small tractor sales also were down in January and have been for months, in a strong reversal of under 100 hp small tractor sales during the heart of COVID.

Positive news for tractors comes in higher horsepower sales. Sales of two-wheel drive, 100+ hp tractors were up 2.7% in February and are up 12.8% for the year, compared to February 2022 and the first two months of 2022. Four-wheel drive tractor sales are up a strong 55% in February 2023 (up 94 units) compared to a year earlier and 22.5% for the year, compared to the first two months of 2022.

Dan Miller can be reached at dan.miller@dtn.com

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