As an editor I'm on a lot of e-mail lists for everyone from USDA (very helpful) to PR firms for plenty of companies (helpful too), and the mood appears to be pretty good in the market. Just coming off the 2008 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa where a little rain didn't dampen the spirits of those who attended, it's good to see that some optimism remains.
Henry Kirn, a machinery analyst for the investment firm UBS, issues regular statements regarding the ag market and how it relates to the equipment business. This week he noted that USDA bumped up its forecast for farm income by 4% from the initial forecast on Feb. 12. The move means that net income for 2008 will top $95.7 billion - a new record - and be 57% higher than the average annual net farm income for the past 10 years.
That's great news for the equipment industry, if they can of course keep up with demand. Kirn's comments this week note that his firm expects U.S. farm machinery sales to continue to improve, driven by higher commodity prices. But he sees the following constraints to that growth - elevated energy prices and production constraints at the manufacturing level.
After roaming the show and looking at the wide range of new equipment on hand (our editors responsible for finding new products found nearly 100 new items you'll be seeing in the pages of our magazines this winter) always makes it fun to cover the business. The tools you have available can improve your productivity.
And you're looking for bigger stuff too. News on that front comes from Claas and Case IH with their Class IX combines for even faster harvesting. Of course the bigger combine requires more efficient movement of grain from the harvester out of the field too. Yet farmers remain interested in bigger machines in the face of falling labor help and the need to move more bushels faster.
Got a comment about new machinery? Got an idea we should be covering? Share it in this blog (you have to be registered to add a comment).