If You put in an order for a new combine and don't see it until next year, join the crowd. Agricultural machinery sales have skyrocketed, leading to lags in delivery of new equipment. While consumer goods languish in stores, it's the opposite in agriculture. U.S. manufacturers of ag equipment are basking in a rosy sales climate. (See “Over the top,” page 47.)

The U.S. manufacturers aren't the only ones experiencing good sales. Reports from the first Agrievolution conference held recently in Rome show a strong global demand for ag equipment. “This is going on all over the world,” reports Rusty Fowler, president of Krone North America. “The agriculture business worldwide is in a boom.”

The boom has led to tight supplies in equipment, which may be similar to the equipment shortages experienced in the 1970s, Fowler adds. “I think the lessons we learned from the '70s have to be remembered. This won't last forever.”

Driving the global demand is an effort in some countries to make up for lost time in crop production. The Russian ag manufacturing representative at Agrievolution told the assembly that the average age of all Russian equipment is about 25 years old. Now that Russia's financial and political sectors are relatively stable, Russian farmers are finally able to borrow money to grow crops and purchase new equipment. As a result, producers in Russia and other former Soviet bloc countries are on buying binges. The same is true in emerging countries like India and China that also are investing in their farmers.

In the end, manufacturing also will play catch-up, and soon there will be plenty of equipment for everyone to buy. including U.S. farmers.