Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues

R4045 Sprayer John Deere
According to CropLife 100 survey respondents, approximately eight out of 10 sprayers in their fleets (78%) are John Deere units. Pictured: Deere’s R4045 Sprayer.

In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little more varied than just the red and blue of the nation’s major political parties. There is also a fair amount of yellow and green paint as well, not to mention a few members dressed up in black and white. So who dominates the equipment process?

For much of the history of the CropLife 100 annual report, ag retailer voting in this area tended to mirror Chicago politics a bit, with a single four-letter company dominating the landscape. However, instead of beginning with the letter “D,” the ag retail equipment house was ruled by an “A” company, AGCO. Throughout the early 2000s, self-propelled sprayers dressed in AGCO yellow were the most common across the nation’s ag retail outlets. Typically, approximately 80% of the CropLife 100 ag retailer equipment fleets were made up of AGCO units. Every other manufacturer was left chasing this market leader.

But a funny thing began taking place once the calendar turned to 2010. For whatever reason, ag retailers started moving their voting dollars to sprayers outside of the AGCO party. In a few short years, the market share advantage once held by yellow units started shrinking bit by bit. By the end of 2014, the once dominant share difference between AGCO and nearest rival John Deere was down to a mere 1%.

By 2015, the stage was set for a sprayer showdown. In the end, according to CropLife 100 ag retailers, an average of 82% of their fleets were dressed in John Deere green vs. 76% dressed in AGCO yellow. (Editor’s Note: Since ag retailers tend to have multiple different sprayers in their fleets, the survey allows respondents to select multiple options, with percentages shown vs. 100% if one brand name was present in all fleets.) This 6% difference marked the first time since the CropLife 100 survey began following the sprayer sales market that AGCO wasn’t the overall leader.

Still Easy Being Green

Given all the drama surrounding sprayer sales leading up to 2016, the question was what would this year bring? Could John Deere maintain its new leadership position or would AGCO mount a comeback? And what of the rest of the field?

Not surprisingly, 2016 was not an overly strong year for ag retail equipment sales. According to the CropLife 100 survey data, the top three manufacturers — AGCO, Case IH, and John Deere — all saw their percentages fall from 2015. However, when all the figures were finally tallied, John Deere had succeeded in not only increasing its market share lead, but building upon it as well.

Source: 2016 CropLife 100 Survey
Source: 2016 CropLife 100 Survey

According to CropLife 100 survey respondents, approximately eight out of 10 sprayers in their fleets (78%) are part of the John Deere party. Sprayers in AGCO yellow come in second place, with a 71% presence market share, now 7% behind the market leader.

As for No. 3 Case IH, the past few years have seen a steady decline in market share among the nation’s top ag retailers. In 2014, the company’s sprayers were present in 68% of CropLife 100 ag retail fleets. This dropped to 65% in 2015 and dropped another 2% this year to 63%.

The rest of the field performed significantly better than the Top Three in 2016. According to the 2016 CropLife 100 survey, No. 4 Hagie saw its market share stay flat at 24%. Meanwhile, No. 5 GVM and No. 6 New Holland/Miller-St. Nazianz each increased their market share presence numbers 2%, to 17% and 16%, respectively.

Slowness in 2017

Now that the races have been decided for 2016, what might next year bring? If the CropLife 100 retailers are to be believed, the market for ag retail equipment will stay slower than normal. For 2017, almost one in five ag retailers plan to sit out the equipment race entirely (18%) by not making any purchases whatsoever.

For those who do plan to buy, it appears the race will again boil down to three players — John Deere, AGCO, and Case IH. According to the survey, 53% of respondents will be looking to add John Deere sprayers to their fleets. Forty-three percent will opt of AGCO while 41% will add Case IH red units to the mix.

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