VDMA Agricultural Machinery Association: Agricultural machinery industry generates enthusiasm with innovation initiative

At the leading Agritechnica trade fair in Hanover, with its large-scale innovation initiative the agricultural machinery industry received an enthusiastic response from professional farmers from around the world.

“Those who focus on success in agribusiness need intelligent, powerful agricultural machinery,” states Dr. Bernd Scherer, Managing Director of the VDMA Agricultural Machinery Association.

Agriculture recognises digitisation trend
A particular impetus is provided by “digital networking solutions, which in numerous fields of application are already better established than in other branches of industry.” According to the results of an exhibitor survey conducted by VDMA in the context of the exhibition, for more than 40 percent of the farmers and contractors, digital product and service offerings have become a critical factor in purchase decisions. The study cites “gains in efficiency, meeting sustainability demands” as a central precondition for the market success of networked systems – this factor is highly relevant to 94 percent of the target group. Harmonising economics and environmental protection is “one of the key promises of digitisation, which is closely related to questions of compatibility, operating convenience and the availability of powerful broadband networks,” explains Dr. Scherer.

Mood of cautious optimism
With respect to the mood in the agricultural machinery industry, “to some extent considerable regional differences” are apparent, according to the VDMA Managing Director. A “particularly good mood” is currently exhibited for Central European countries, with positive results recorded for almost two thirds of those surveyed. The assessment of the situation with regard to North America, Asia and much of Western Europe is similarly optimistic.
Only in Germany does a majority of 54 percent tend toward a more pessimistic evaluation of the status quo; this is primarily related to the fact that “the economic downturn in Germany began relatively late.” As expected, the mood indicated for the CIS countries and Ukraine is considerably more restrained, with almost three quarters of those surveyed in the agricultural machinery field adopting a wait-and-see approach.

First-class exhibition ratings
Regarding organisation, visitor interest and the quality of discussions, this year’s Agritechnica received top marks from the managers surveyed.
“For our industry, coming to Hanover has once again proved worthwhile. Around 80 percent of the companies rate the exhibition as Good or Very good – a first-class result in a difficult situation,” says Dr. Scherer. The “increasing international character” of the event is particularly significant. “The fact that in the meantime more than half of the exhibitors have an international background provides motivation for us, particularly from a conceptual point of view. In the long term only those who know and understand our business with all of its global interdependencies will be successful.”

As expected, more difficulty in initiating business
For the industry, it was clearly somewhat more difficult to initiate new business relationships than in previous years. “Naturally the effect of the economic cycle is obvious in this regard,” explains Dr. Scherer. Under these circumstances, a satisfaction rating of approximately 60 percent is “a more than respectable achievement.”

Agritechnica serves as the largest trade fair worldwide for agricultural machinery, tractors and systems. Conceptually supported by VDMA in cooperation with the German Agricultural Society (DLG – Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft), it is held once every two years at the exhibition grounds in Hanover.

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