Equipment manufacturers remain cautiously optimistic, despite current challenges

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As producers start to prepare for the upcoming seeding season, equipment manufacturers are also preparing for what could be another successful year for their industry.

Despite all of the challenges that came with the pandemic, including persistent supply chain shortages, the ag equipment industry has seen strong sales over the course of the last two years.

Curt Blades, with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), says the upcoming year has the potential for further growth as farmers consider all the variables that lay ahead with this years’ crops.

“Folks are are cautiously looking at the future and grain prices that are pretty good, looking at the bottom line of their operation, saying, you know,  this is okay. Obviously, there’s real concerns about input prices and supply issues, and all the things that come with that. But I think in general, there’s good optimism out there and farm country and that bodes well to equipment manufacturers and suppliers,” he says.

Although covid-related restrictions are loosing across the country, Blades says that supply issues continue to be a very real challenge for the industry, along with transportation and labour shortages. However, he said through careful collaboration, the ag equipment industry has been able to plot and plan to do their best to minimize the impact felt by farmers due to these issues.

The industry is also doing their best to navigate the increasing price of steel and tariffs, something that Blades says will have an affect on the price tag of equipment this year.

“Just like we’ve seen inflation in other markets, we can expect some price inflation in the Ag equipment space, it’s just sort of the reality because the cost has gone up.  I do know that manufacturers take pricing discussions very seriously. And if they’re going to be raising prices. It’s a calculated decision that’s not taken lightly because we recognize that farmers are oftentimes working on very thin margins. So yes, there will be some some price increases, we fully expect that.”

Blades added a silver lining as he says farmers can also expect to see new technology and different features on equipment which will add to the value of the machines and could, for some producers, justify the unavoidable price increases.

These features and technological advancements aren’t likely to slow down either, according to Blades. Although there are some companies who make a conscious effort to produce more traditional machinery, the vast majority are making significant investments into technology and different artificial intelligence programs.

Blades explains these innovations not only streamline many facets of the farming process, ultimately creating more earning potential, they also lend themselves to changing the conversations, for the better, with regulators and environmentalists.

Prepare, adapt and rally will be the name of the game for the upcoming year with several factors still undetermined, including the short and long-term impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, on the global markets.

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