Farm equipment retail sales off in March

Farm equipment sales were down in March.
Farm equipment sales were down in March.
U.S. farm equipment sales fell in March compared to last year, despite the beginning of the spring buying season, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

March retail sales of tractors fell by 21 percent compared to March 2008, while combine sales were up about 32 percent, AEM’s March 2009 flash report showed.

An analyst said tractor sales made a "relatively slow start" to the spring selling season, though combine sales remained strong, the Associated Press reported.

Sales of row crop tractors declined 7 percent year-over-year and sales of four-wheel drives fell 14 percent in March, what the analyst called “seasonally important.”

March is seasonally less important for combine demand, the analyst said in a note to investors, according to the news source.

The analyst said the sales report could spell trouble for farm equipment manufacturers, which was reflected in market trading on Monday.

Despite the decline indicated in the March report, the 21 percent drop in tractor sales was less than a 25 percent drop in February, according to AEM data.ADNFCR-2034-ID-19118463-ADNFCR