Bigger Brazil acreage

A new report by the Economic Research Service of USDA says total cultivated land area in Brazil could grow to 410 million acres. If economic and political factors come together, Brazil's 20 million farmers could significantly reduce their already low production costs. The report says Brazil could increase its cultivated land area by an amount that is equal to or greater than the total number of U.S. cropland acres. For the full report, go to www.fas.usda.gov/pecad/.

AGCO reports growth in Europe

Equipment manufacturer AGCO reported that net sales for its fourth quarter increased 9%, mainly due to higher sales in Europe, incremental sales of its new Challenger product line and positive currency impacts. These increases were partially offset by lower sales and dealer inventory reductions in 2002 in North America, excluding the company's recently acquired Challenger line. Improved sales in Europe came partly as a result of the region's recovery from the foot-and-mouth livestock crisis. South America also saw stronger equipment industry conditions and margin gains. The company blames slower-than-expected sales in North America largely on regional drought and uncertainty over the new farm bill.

Farmland business improves

There could be light at the end of what has been a long tunnel through Farmland Industries' Chapter 11 reorganization. The company reported that its overall earnings increased in the first quarter of 2003. The company credits the gain largely to reducing expenses 25% from the previous year. In addition to the roughly $20 million in cost reductions, Farmland's pork and processed meats business strengthened. Overall, the company recorded a total loss of $417 million due to one-time charges related to the Plan of Reorganization and charges related to the intended sale of its declining crop inputs business.

ATV alliance

John Deere and Bombardier have formed an alliance to develop and sell all-terrain vehicles. The first machines will be a line of John Deere brand utility vehicles based on Bombardier's ATV platform. Expected launch will be sometime late in 2003.

Ag equipment outlook

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) says it expects U.S. sales of combines and farm tractors to increase in 2003. The organization's “State of the Ag Industry Outlook” bases its conclusions on a poll of 38 ag equipment manufacturers. Surveyed companies account for about two-thirds of the ag equipment sold in the U.S.

The report points to modest growth of sales of 4-wd tractors after a decline in that category's 2002 sales of 21.7%. Sales of 2-wd tractors with more than 100 hp are likely to improve after last year's 18.6% drop. For self-propelled combines, U.S. sales are forecast to increase 14.4% following a 2002 decline of 21.3%. Manufacturers say the top factors that could positively affect new equipment sales are farm cash receipts, credit availability and interest rates. Potential negative influences include cotton and hog prices, as well as the availability and pricing of used equipment.

Print copies of the complete 21-page report are available for $25 each by calling AEM at 312/321-1470. The report also is available at www.aem.org.

Used equipment online

Ag equipment manufacturer CNH introduced a Used Equipment Locator system available for Case IH, New Holland and Steyr dealers.

The system allows dealers to display specifications and multiple photographs of any machine placed into the system. The site can be accessed via the www.newholland.com or www.caseih.com home pages and then following the link for used equipment or using the Dealer Locator to find the used equipment or dealers by region. It's a good way for farmers to shop online but still work through a dealer.

Independent Web site www.equipmentTraderOnline.com allows visitors to buy and sell all kinds of equipment online. The site works much like an online classified ad newspaper, with dealers from many companies, as well as individuals, posting their equipment for sale.