Equipment manufacturers and dealers are trying to strike while the iron is hot and farmers are in the buying mode. The Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association will host the Iowa Power Farming Show January 29, 30 and 31, an event that has been held in Des Moines for 53 years.
This year's show promises to be worth attending. The huge number of ag exhibits and the large amount of equipment on display are expected to draw a record crowd of more than 16,000 farmers from a five-state area.
"We have 69 new exhibitors coming to the show and we're working to secure every available space for more exhibitors," says Tom Junge, show director for the equipment dealers' association. A total of 571 companies from 25 states and 4 Canadian provinces are using 1,538 booths this year.
New farm machinery for you to see
New equipment companies attending include Baker Tillage, Clarke Machine, Collins Enterprises, CP Products, Cressoni Cornheads, Environmental Tillage Systems, Exmark, Fantini Cornheads, Gehl, Gizmow Mowers, Great Plains Industries, HH Fabrication, Johnson Drainage Plows, Johnson-Hygrade, Kann Mfg. Corp., Kuhn Mfg., LandLuvr Track System, Maschio, Merritt Equipment Company, Montag, Netafin, Rhino Skidloader Mower, Schulte Industries, TYM Tractor and Walker Mowers.
"We are proud that 80% of the show consists of equipment displays and that we also have the major brands of equipment," says Junge. "Farmers will be impressed with the equipment on display and appreciate the ability to compare products side-by-side in one setting."
The Iowa Power Farming Show will be held January 29-31 in the Hy-Vee Exhibit Hall, Wells Fargo Arena and Veterans Auditorium in downtown Des Moines. Doors open at 9 a.m. all three days and close at 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and close at 3 p.m. on Thursday. The equipment dealers' association, which who owns and operates the show, represents more than 400 agricultural, outdoor power and industrial dealers throughout Iowa and Nebraska.
Admission to the Iowa Power Farming Show is $5; however farmers may save $2 by completing a registration form, which is used for demographic purposes. For a complete list of exhibitors or to register, visit www.iowapowershow.com.
Farmers in a buying mood for 2008
Equipment sales finished strong for 2007, and the buying trends look to continue in 2008, says Junge. Good commodity prices and higher net farm incomes have farmers in the buying mood for equipment.
Evidence of this can be seen throughout the Midwest at equipment dealerships and shows. The first-ever Nebraska Power Farming Show held in Lincoln in December was over capacity with exhibitor requests and had high attendance making it the sixth largest indoor farm show even in its first year.
"Farmers attending were buying equipment, not just looking at it," says Junge.
2007 was a strong year for farm equipment sales, according to data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers or AEM, which reports retail sales of farm power equipment. Although sales grew throughout the year, much of the buying took place after harvest as farmers made purchases in November and December in order to meet the end-of-the-year tax deadline.
In December, U.S. retail sales of tractors with more than 100 horsepower (hp) were up 49.5% compared to December of 2006. AEM data says combine sales for December were up 14.5% compared to the same month a year before. "I've been in this business for 38 years and I've never seen it this strong," says Tom Haley of Haley Implement in Carroll, Iowa, a New Holland dealership with three stores. "Sales have just been excellent."
Machinery sales rose throughout 2007
Farm equipment sales grew throughout 2007 after a soft sales year in 2006. In fact, AEM had predicted 2007 to have slight increases in combine sales, but they had estimated declines in sales of 100-plus-hp 2-wd tractors, four-wheelers and planters. As commodity prices and net farm income climbed throughout 2007, buyer confidence among farmers grew as well.
Krause Corporation enticed farmers at the 2007 Iowa Power Farming Show last January with $500 coupons that could be used toward the purchase of Krause farm tillage equipment. Krause produces tillage pieces including disc harrows, field cultivators, chisel plows, disc/coulter chisels as well soil management and grain drill equipment.
"We offered 71 coupons to qualified leads at that show and 43 of the coupons were redeemed within 30 days of the show on purchase of Krause equipment," says Dennis Schwab, territory manager for Krause Corp. "I've worked these shows for many years and last year was by far the best show I've ever worked."
Farmers are buying tractors, combines
AEM reports that through October 2007 the cumulative sales of 100-plus-hp 2-wd tractors (17,129 in total) were up more than 21% from the previous year. Combine sales continued strong. Through October, unit sales were up 14% to 5,827 units sold.
"Our fiscal year ended Oct. 31 and our 2007 total sales were up 24% over the year before which included new and used products and parts and service," says Glen Vetter of Vetter Equipment in Denison, a Case IH dealer with nine locations.
Those sales figures fall in line with reports from other equipment dealers. The Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association completed an informal survey of Iowa dealers who reported that new equipment sales for 2007 were up 29.9% over 2006.
Machinery inventory projections for 2008
Huge demand often results in inventory and product supply delays. The Iowa-Nebraska dealers association reports that dealers indicate a lead time of 12 months for combines and corn heads and that some makes and models of tractors can take as long as six months to get.
"We preplan our inventory and orders six to 12 months in advance," says Vetter. We don't have a shortage of inventory now -- only on a few items. Combines are pretty much sold out unless a dealer had really planned ahead."
Tom Haley says his New Holland locations have been able to fill orders on equipment that is needed so far. "It might become more difficult to keep equipment on hand if these strong sales continue farther into 2008," Haley says.
What are the projections for sales of machinery for 2008? Early indicators point to good equipment sales continuing in 2008, says Junge.
The AEM Outlook Report says U.S. retail sales of tractors and combines are expected to grow overall in 2008, led by four-wheel drive tractors. For two-wheel drive tractor business in the U.S., unit sales of machines in the 100-HP-and-over range are predicted to be strongest with a 3.4% increase. Demand is expected to be generally positive for most other types of agricultural machinery covered in the AEM survey. Combine sales are expected to increase 3.8%.