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Tractor and combine sales up double digits in 2021

After seven years of sluggish sales, the big growth leaders in machinery sales in 2021 are also the most expensive items on farmers’ iron shopping lists: high-horsepower tractors, four-wheel-drive tractors, and combines. 

Even amid supply chain shortages and other difficulties caused by the pandemic, nearly 360,000 total tractors and combines were sold from dealer lots in 2021 in North America, according to data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). Looking at just sales in the United States, a total of 317,897 tractors and 6,272 combine harvesters found new homes in 2021.

Sales of tractors over 100 hp. shot up 24%, four-wheel drives increased 18%, while harvesters experienced nearly a 25% boost for 2021 compared with the previous year.

For 2021, the only market segment in the U.S. gaining less than 10% was sub-40 hp. tractors, still seeing growth of nearly 9%.

A line graph showing equipment sales numbers in North America during 2021 and the last few years.
Photo credit: AEM

“Seeing gains in the double digits across North America year-over-year for both tractors and combines is great for equipment manufacturers,” says Curt Blades, senior vice president, AEM. “Sales gains over an already-successful 2020 came despite the supply chain issues and workforce challenges that made 2021 a challenging year for manufacturers. Our industry is working hard to navigate these supply chain challenges to deliver equipment and parts to farmers as they approach the 2022 growing season.”

Not in the clear yet

Don’t take this as the sure sign pandemic woes are over. The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA), which represents the nearly $1 trillion equipment finance sector, forecasts equipment shortages will continue in 2022 due to supply chain disruptions. 

The ELFA expects to see economic growth in trucks, oil and gas equipment, and materials handling equipment this year due to high demand. Companies in agricultural equipment, however, may continue to face familiar pandemic-related challenges.

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