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Market remains hot but sales cool

Machinery makers face shortages of parts, supply chain delays, rising costs for labour and transportation as COVID disrupts the business.

Farm equipment sales are down for Canada and United States, with Canada showing significant drops from last year on the largest gear.

This year, four-wheel drive tractors and combines in Canada saw sales fall 22 percent from last season at this time.

American numbers were better, but followed the same trend, with four-wheel drive tractors off six percent and combines down two percent.

“Combines were up last month (year over year in Canada). But down is the trend right now,” said Curt Blades of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

“They are selling, but there are a lot of factors at play in a very unusual time for the farm equipment industry,” he said.

Farmers, in many cases, are in positions to buy new equipment this year. High input costs are causing some concern, however even higher commodity prices have left many producers in North America with some optimism about the future and Blades said that has a big influence on sales.

“Trouble isn’t with demand. We have come off two years of white-hot demand. But the manufacturers have found themselves tested to be able to supply it,” he said.

“You might hear in the national news that the COVID-slowed supply chain issues are improving. Maybe up to 80 percent OK, now? But you need 100 percent to deliver a tractor or combine. Eighty percent won’t get it done.”

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