THE national machinery dealer network continues to contract as smaller operators become absorbed into larger entities and farmer machinery buying patterns change.
Last year there were 604 machinery dealers Australia-wide, but that figure has now slid below the 600 mark.
Tractor and Machinery Association executive director Richard Lewis said the machinery distribution model continued to get smaller as the dealer network underwent ongoing rationalisation.
“I would get a phone call a week from an international company looking for a distribution model or an independent importer but there aren't any around which is making it tough,” he said.
“I think we are going to see more, bigger dealerships because with the advent of the internet and being able to buy parts online, tractor salesmen don’t need to see people as often as they used to.
“Farmers can have a relationship with a brand over their iPad.
“I don’t think farmers are any less close to the equipment side of things, but they just don’t necessarily need to see their suppliers as often as they used to.”
Mr Lewis said there had been a big change in the way farmers thought when it came to the type of machinery they purchased and how they went about it.
“There is a big move towards precision agriculture and a lot of talk about agronomists getting involved in machinery purchases. The technology is moving very quickly,” he said.