As the trade wars continue to wage in the US, sales of farm tractors and equipment mirror the uncertainty across the wider farming industry.

That’s according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) in North America. During May, sales of new tractors in the US saw minimal growth in most categories. Sales in Canada dropped in all but two categories.

Total 2WD tractor sales in the US increased by a slight 1.6% (compared to May 2018).

Broken down by horsepower, the under-40hp category experienced a small increase of 0.7%. The 40-100hp category saw growth of 2.9%. The 100hp+ category saw an 8.6% increase in sales.

Likewise, total 4WD tractor sales increased by 1.6% (compared to May 2018). Sales on a year-to-date basis (compared with the same period of 2018) grew by 6.3%. Bear in mind that, in the US (in this context), the term ‘4WD tractor’ typically refers to big, articulated-chassis, equal-sized wheel tractors.

Overall, total sales of new farm tractors saw a minimal increase of 1.6%. However, this was essentially overshadowed by a 13% drop in sales of new self-propelled combine harvesters.

[caption id="attachment_394464" align="aligncenter" width="728"] Source: Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)[/caption]

While US numbers may have seen slight increases (in many categories), Canada saw major decreases - raising concerns at the AEM.

Canadian worries

The under-40hp and 100hp+ (2WD) tractor categories were the only ones that experienced growth in Canada. The others declined; some saw significant drop-offs - as bad as 20% for 40-100hp tractors and 56% for all 4WD tractors.

"While numbers were up for the US in May, the ongoing trade war has us concerned about the direction they may take in coming months," commented Curt Blades, AEM’s senior vice president of agricultural services.

"Free trade is critical to keeping the US economy and our industry strong, especially when you consider 30% of the equipment manufactured in the US each year is ear-marked for export."