Farm machinery sales strong, dealers say
WATERTOWN, S.D. (AP)--Farm machinery dealers say last year's spike in crop prices means many farmers have more cash available to buy equipment.
Kent Anderson, office manager at Watertown-based John Deere dealer Codington-Clark Equipment, said sales are holding strong, but a lot of it is based on last year's success which did not cover all aspects of agriculture.
"Cattle growers and dairy farmers are in a pinch," Anderson said. "Not everybody benefits from high grain prices.
"So there are areas that are not flush with cash."
Sales have been steady at Hurkes Equipment in Watertown, continuing somewhat of a buying spree last year.
"It's a carry-over, but we've had a good start to the spring," said Pat Hurkes. "The smaller tractors have been doing well, but the higher horse power sales are down."
The buying spree has slowed a bit this spring as field work begins and farmers take a more cautious approach to spending. Hurkes said farmers are keeping things a little closer to the vest.
"Oh yeah," he said. "Even the real strong operators who could buy, they're holding out.
"They'll tell you that."
Keith Mack, who works in sales for Case IH dealer Titan Machinery, said dealers are still living off of 2008 sales, and they will be hard to match in 2009.
Livestock and dairy farmers have seen their markets drop while having to buy higher-priced feed. Grain markets at this time last year were going up, and stocks in the bin in 2008 were worth twice as much as in the previous year, Mack said.
"Last year there was a lot of optimism," he said. "Now they're a lot more guarded in their outlook."