Total U.S. 2-wheel drive tractor sales gained 4% for March compared to last year, while 4-wheel-drive tractor sales dropped 5% and self-propelled combine sales declined 20%, according to the latest sales data from the Assn. of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

First-quarter 2018 U.S. sales were essentially flat for the smaller-size tractors and 100-plus HP 2-wheel drive tractors declined about 5% for January-March YTD compared to 2017.

U.S. 4-wheel-drive tractor sales gained about 5% for the first quarter, and U.S. sales of self-propelled combines gained 4% for January-March YTD compared to 2017.

“As we close the first quarter of 2018, we are still cautiously optimistic for continued growth this year, but it’s tempered by uncertainty in the farm economy,” said Curt Blades, senior vice president, AG services.

“We are still contending with diplomatic jockeying over steel tariffs and China trade that is causing concern for the agriculture and manufacturing communities. Headwinds also include potential negative changes to the Renewable Fuels Standard. And, overall, we’re looking at the USDA forecast of a decline in 2018 net farm profits.

“Many farmers will still need to replace equipment at some point for longer term efficiencies, and we are still hopeful that tax reform could provide a positive stimulus.”

See the charts below for U.S. and Canada sales data.

AEM US AG March 2018

AEM Canada AG March 2018