THE FARM equipment buying season is about to begin, and machinery companies hope for a good year. They just might get it.

A John Deere executive recently spoke at Agrievolution, an international conference on farm equipment held in Orlando, FL, about the U.S. farm equipment market. Doug DeVries, senior vice president of global marketing, made some interesting observations about equipment buying in 2010:

  • Farmers tend to have long memories, which is why they have paid down debt dramatically from the early 1980s and continue to do so. In 2002, the percent of debt to assets dropped below net cash income and has stayed there. Thus, farmers are in strong financial positions even though farm income has dropped from 2008 to 2009.
  • DeVries states there is high confidence that farm income will recover in 2010, which bodes well for equipment manufacturers.
  • More farm equipment, especially tractors and combines, is purchased in the spring than any other time of the year.
  • Sales figures for 2009 indicate farmers bought more large tractors and combines than they did in 2008. Recent figures from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers show that combine sales were up 15% for 2009 compared to 2008 and sales of large, 4-wd tractors were up 2% for the same time period. Meanwhile, the entire tractor market was down 20% with tractors under 100 hp dropping 29%.

So the time might be right for you to make your equipment purchases. And what better place to learn about the equipment than at the upcoming National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, KY? We hope to see you there.