The Read From MAGIE

The Read From MAGIE

As I write this column, I’ve just returned from the annual Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL. Being the main industry trade show devoted to the needs of ag retailers, MAGIE is the perfect place to get a “read” on what kind of year the ag market is having and where things might be headed for the next season.

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For the most part, things appear to be looking up. According to Jean Payne, President of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (which hosts the show), pre-registration for this year’s MAGIE was “an all-time high.”

Most exhibitors were also hopeful for better days ahead. “We just had one of our worst Augusts ever, with more than $2 million in inventory sitting at our facility,” said one equipment maker. “But for September, our orders are on pace to set a company record.”

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Still, other exhibitors weren’t sure that brighter days are just around the corner just yet. In fact, just before the MAGIE show took place, John Deere announced it was reducing the production of its tractors and combines by 20% and 60%, respectively.

“There is still a lot of grain and corn in the pipeline, which continues to keep commodity prices from going up,” said one market watcher. “And it looks like 2016 will see another strong harvest year for many of the crops, which will keep supplies bulging. So no, I don’t expect 2017 to be significantly different in terms of market strength than 2015 or 2016 have been. I’m pinning my hopes on a rebound happening in 2018.”

So we might have to wait to see which of these scenarios ends up being the correct one.

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