Tractor sales fell 11.4% year on year in September to 552 units, according to the South African Agricultural Machinery Association (Saama).

For all of 2016, sales fell 11.3% to 5,855 units, when drought conditions prevailed in the summer rainfall area. Industry expectations for 2017 are that overall tractor sales should be at least as good as those in 2016. In the first nine months of 2017, they were up 4.2% when compared to the same period in 2016.

In its final estimate in late September, the Crop Estimates Committee said the 2017 maize crop would rise 115% compared with the 2016 crop to a record 16.7-million tonnes.

"The overall sentiment in the market remains positive. However, farmers are quite cautious about buying new equipment ahead of the summer-cropping season. Equipment sales for the rest of the 2017 calendar year will largely depend on how the summer rainfall season develops," the industry body said.

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