The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has released its 2007 “ag outlook” report, which provides farm machinery manufacturers’ predictions for overall business volume in the U.S. and Canada.

Agricultural machinery manufacturers participating in the survey expect the industry overall to experience flat or a slowing in retail sales of 2-wheel-drive tractors in 2007, with the greatest decreases in the over-100-hp category, and with U.S. sales slightly more robust than Canada.

Sales declines are also forecast for 4-wheel-drive tractors, again with Canadian sales to be slower. The outlook is brighter for U.S. combine sales with slight growth predicted, while Canadian combine sales are predicted to decline somewhat.

AEM notes that these numbers should be put in the historical perspective that they follow a few years of strong sales for the overall market for tractors and combines.

For other types of farm-related equipment covered in the AEM ag equipment forecast, both U.S. and Canadian sales are expected to show flat sales or modest declines in the majority of machine categories covered in the survey.

Forecasts represent the average of responses from companies in each product line, and represent industry wide expectations rather than individual company performance. Forecasts are for unit sales and not company profitability. The AEM ag industry outlook for 2007 covers 23 types of farm field and farmstead type equipment as well as electronic and hydraulic components.

Tractor and Combine Business Volume Predictions
For 2-wheel-drive tractors, unit sales of under-40-hp machines are expected to be flat – a 0.5% decrease in the U.S. and a 0.3% decline for Canada. For 40-100-hp tractors, the outlook is also for essentially flat growth, down 0.2% for the U.S. and down 0.8% for Canada. For tractors over 100 hp, U.S. sales are predicted to decrease 3.1% and Canadian sales are anticipated to decline 4.5%.

Sales of 4-wheel-drive tractors (all sizes) are expected to drop 2.5% in the U.S. and decrease 10.3% for Canada.

Self-propelled combine retail sales are predicted to increase 1.1% in the U.S. but drop 4.8% for Canada.

Forecasts for Other Farm Field Equipment
For farm field equipment other than tractors and combines, the strongest growth overall is seen for air seeders/air drills (all types) with gains of 8% expected for the U.S. and growth of 17.3% for Canada.

U.S. sales are expected to be the slowest for planters (down 4.7%), self-propelled sprayers (down 3.6%) and field cultivators (down 3.0%). Canadian sales are anticipated to slow down the most for chisel plows (down 6.3%), field cultivators (down 4.3%) and tractor backhoes (down 3.8%).

NOTE: The complete AEM ag industry outlook will be available on the AEM website – www.aem.org – under the Industry Trends Section.