Tractor sales rose 11.2% year on year in July to 502 units, according to the South African Agricultural Machinery Association (Saama), following a rise of 24.4% in June.

For all of 2016 sales fell 11.3% to 5,855 units, when drought conditions prevailed in the summer rainfall area.

In its sixth forecast in late July, the crop estimates committee said the 2017 maize crop would rise 105% compared with the 2016 crop, to a record 16-million tonnes.

"Overall sentiment in the market remains positive, with many farmers now having harvested their crops and having a good measure of their crop realisations. The good July tractor sales reflect a situation where stocks of lower-priced equipment, brought in when the rand was stronger, were taken up by buyers," the industry body said.

Expectations for 2017 are that overall tractor sales should be at least as good as those in 2016. In the first seven months of 2017, tractor sales are up 4% from the same time last year.

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