CropLife 100: Equipment in 2018? Reply Hazy, Try Again
Ag retail equipment manufacturers for some time now have been caught up in the consolidation game. Not long ago John Deere formally added Hagie Manufacturing to its company line-up — and most industry trade shows that featured green equipment in 2018 also featured at least one Hagie self-propelled sprayer in the company’s distinctive yellow and gray color scheme. Likewise, self-propelled sprayers and floaters in Miller-St. Nazianz red paint have shared booth space with other manufacturer colors; first New Holland blue and more recently Case IH red. For this reason, when CropLife magazine polled the nation’s top ag retailers about their equipment choices for the 2018 survey, we combined John Deere with Hagie and Case IH with Miller when we asked respondents about their fleet make-ups.
How did these equipment manufacturers do among CropLife 100 retailers during the year? The answer was “Well — without a doubt.” Perhaps because of the host of new ag retail equipment that hit the market during the summers of 2017 and 2018, ag retailers kept adding and subtracting self-propelled sprayers to their applicator fleets during the past growing season. What is becoming obvious, however, is just how concentrated the Big Three companies in this area (AGCO Corp., Case IH, and John Deere) have become vs. the rest of the field.
With the 2017 CropLife 100 survey, sprayers in John Deere green paint were the most common machines in the nation’s top ag retail fleets, appearing in 75% of them (using 100% as the base if units from one manufacturer were present in all fleets among all ag retailers, which never tends to be the case). But in 2018 John Deere (now combined with Hagie units) built upon this percentage success, growing 3% to appear in 78% of the nation’s sprayer fleets.
Now holding down second place among sprayer fleets in overall numbers is Case IH/Miller. In 2017 75% of the CropLife 100 sprayers fleets featured machines with these companies’ red paint. In 2018 this percentage was almost unchanged, down 1% to 74%.
In third place is AGCO. The former market share leader among sprayers, AGCO sprayers now appear in 71% of the nation’s top ag retail fleets, down 1% from 72% in 2017. However, with its new RoGator C Series now entering the marketplace, the Duluth, GA-based company can probably expect an uptick to this percentage come 2019.
GVM remains a solid No. 4 in sprayer fleet percentages at 15%. All other manufacturers (including Precision Tank, RBR, and McGregor) finished with 6%, up 2% from 2017.
You May Rely on it
In terms of being able to rely on service calls from their equipment dealers, CropLife 100 ag retailers still found outlets sporting green to be the most reliable in 2018. When asked which equipment manufacturer provided the best service, 57% of respondents cited market leader John Deere. This was a 10% improvement over the 47% that said John Deere dealers were the best at service in 2017.
In second place for the service race was AGCO, mentioned by 23% of respondents as the best service provider. This was virtually unchanged from the company’s 2017 service percentage of 24%.
Dropping to third place was Case IH/Miller. Although the manufacturer was described as providing the best service by 26% of respondents in the 2017 CropLife 100 survey, this percentage dropped to 17% in 2018.
Don’t Count on it
As for the outlook for 2019 equipment sales, the numbers from the CropLife 100 survey could be better. Overall, approximately three-quarters of the marketplace (76%) plan to make new ag retail equipment purchases during the upcoming growing season. Again, as with the current fleet make-up and service rankings, John Deere leads the pack for intended new purchases in 2019. According to 2018 CropLife 100 ag retailers, 53% of them plan to buy green sprayers next year. Finishing in second and third place will be sprayers in AGCO yellow (43%) and Case IH/Miller red (41%). All other manufacturers were mentioned as “buys” by 6% of respondents.
However, a big warning sign for the industry could be the number of CropLife 100 ag retailers that plan to sit on the sidelines during 2019 when it comes to equipment purchases. According to the survey, this percentage stands at 24%, up 3% from 2017. Prior to 2017 the percentage of CropLife 100 ag retailers not planning to buy new equipment from one year to the next tended to range between 12% and 17%.