Last year was a good one for combine and tractor sales, with small tractor sales and self-propelled combines leading the way, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers' December U.S. Ag Tractor and Combine Report. “2018 was a solid year for equipment sales despite a weak overall farm economy and lingering trade issues,” Curt Blades, AEM’s senior vice president for agriculture, said in a press release. Despite a fluctuating stock market and trade worries that are causing “a lot of uncertainty” for the industry,” Blades said AEM remains optimistic “that the replacement market for large equipment will continue through 2019, and that the small tractor market will continue to be a bright spot on overall sales numbers.” Self-propelled combines saw the largest increase in year-to-date sales with an 18.2 percent increase, from 4,104 sold in 2017 to 4,849 in 2018. Four-wheel-drive tractors followed with a 12.9 percent increase (2,427 machines sold in 2017 to 2,741 in 2018). More than 233,000 2-wheel-drive tractors were sold in 2018, a 6.8-percent jump from 2017. In numbers for that category, machines of under 40 HP dominated, with nearly 155,000 sold, 9.2 percent higher than 2017. Overall tractor sales were close to 236,000, a 6.9 increase from 2017. Some of the most dramatic changes occurred at year-end: Self-propelled combines increased dramatically from 475 in December 2017 to 616 in 2018 (a 29.7 percent increase). Two-wheel-drive tractors also saw a 7 percent increase in December from the year before, but 4-wheel-drive tractors saw a 9.2 percent decrease from 283 sold in 2017 to 257 sold in 2018.
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