Despite a lot of uncertainty and a weak farm economy, 2018 was a good year for sales of farm equipment. Figures from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers show tractor sales in the US rose 7 per cent, and combine sales jumped 18 per cent, compared to the previous year.
Senior Vice President of Agriculture, Curt Blades, says the increases were mainly due to farmers replacing older equipment.
"You may have had a farmer who was typically on a 3 or 4 year replacement cycle that may have made the decision to stretch that out to say 4 or 5 years. And at some point they simply need to replace some equipment and that's what we have found has been driving the market for the last 18 months."
Blades says 2018 started strong thanks to federal tax reform, and a strong US economy helped all year, but then came the trade war with China, and other drags on the farm economy.
"So if you're talking about a farmer making a half-million dollar investment, they have to feel good about the economy, and they've go to feel like it's something they want to do."
Despite tariffs and the trade war, Blades expects farm income will go up a little this year. He also likes the new farm bill, but worries the partial government shutdown will delay its implementation.