Compared with prior years, the equipment sector for CropLife 100 ag retailers was pretty uneventful, with not many properties changing brand colors in 2017. However, based upon the number of new products set to make their market debuts in 2018, this might not remain the case for very much longer.
More than a decade ago, the sprayer market was dominated by a single company, AGCO. The company’s brand names, RoGators and Spra-Coupes, were present in better than 85% of all ag retail fleets. The rest of the manufacturers spent many years chasing this market leader to win back customers. To many, it seemed as if AGCO’s quest to gain a sprayer monopoly would be successful.
Once the 2010s started, however, CropLife 100 ag retailers began stocking their properties with more sprayers sporting red (Case IH) and green (John Deere) paint jobs. In fact, by the close of 2014’s sprayer game, the once double-digit market share spread between AGCO and its two nearest rivals had shrunk to just 1%. One year later, John Deere sprayers were more common at ag retail outlets within the CropLife 100 than AGCO’s were by a 6% margin. And this share difference increased to 7% following the data compiled from the 2016 CropLife 100 survey.
So the question for sprayers going into 2017 was if John Deere could keep moving towards a monopoly in fleets or would AGCO mount something of a comeback? When all the money was counted on this year’s CropLife 100 surveys, the answer turned out to be the latter.
According to the 2017 CropLife 100 survey, 75% of sprayer fleets at the outlet level are made up of John Deere units, a slight drop of 3% compared with the 2016 total. As for AGCO units, these were present in 72% of CropLife 100 sprayer fleets in 2017. This represented an increase of 1% vs. 2016. So now, the share difference between these two manufacturers is down to 3%.
(Editor’s Note: Since ag retailers own several different sprayers and can choose multiple answers to this question, these percentages are vs. 100%, not tabulated vs. one another.)
As for the rest of field, No. 3 Case IH saw its market share of sprayers in CropLife 100 ag retail fleets fall 1% to 62%. Likewise, GVM had its market share dip 2% to 15% and New Holland/Miller sprayers lost 3% to being present in 13% of fleets.
But there was one company that did see its market shares increase during 2017. According to the data from the survey, CropLife 100 ag retailers increased their sprayers sporting the Hagie name grew their presence at outlets by 1% to 25%. Of course, now that the Clarion, IA-based manufacturer is part of the John Deere family, its market share numbers will be combined with those of their green counterparts in future surveys.
‘Passing Go’ in 2018
Now that the game of sprayers is done for 2017, what will 2018 hold? Based upon this year’s host of trade shows, numerous self-propelled sprayer manufacturers are introducing new products and upgraded units into the marketplace, apparently anticipating some pent-up demand from the past three seasons. But does the CropLife 100 survey bear this level of optimism out? In a few words, kind of.
When asked if they planned to buy new sprayers in 2018, 79% of CropLife 100 retailers indicated that was their plan going into next year. This percentage was down, however, from those reflected in the 2016 CropLife 100 survey, when 82% of respondents planned to purchase new units.
In terms of which company sprayers ag retailers are planning to buy in 2018, the majority of these belong to the Big Three manufacturers, John Deere/Hagie, AGCO, and Case IH. For 2018, according to the survey, 66% of CropLife 100 ag retailers are looking to purchase John Deere or Hagie units during the coming year. This is almost double the percentage that are planning to buy RoGators from AGCO, which stands at 39% for 2018, according to respondents. Rounding out the Big Three, 33% of CropLife 100 ag retailers say they are looking for Case IH units in 2018.
As for the rest of the field, the only self-propelled sprayer manufacturer that CropLife 100 ag retailers are apparently planning to buy from in 2018 at more than a 3% level is New Holland/Miller at 7%. All of the other producers — GVM, Hardi, RBR, Equipment Technologies, etc. — share a 5% purchase percentage.
Even though other factors within the equipment marketplace may change for CropLife 100 retailers, their views on which service shops they tend to have their fleet taken care of has remained relatively unchanged. When asked which sprayer manufacturer provides the best services for its units, 47% of respondents in the 2017 CropLife 100 survey picked John Deere/Hagie as tops.