Following the boom years of 2008 and 2011, 2015 will be remembered by farm machinery manufacturers as a difficult business year, with tractor and combine markets in all regions down by around 10%. Speaking at Agritechnica last week, New Holland brand president Carlo Lambro said the fall in commodity prices has not helped. “There is also a great deal of political instability and we hope the CAP reform will work as it is,” he said. The picture is not encouraging, he admitted, but added that New Holland has gained some ground with tractor and combine volumes. “We have increased our share of the North American tractor market, and despite the demise of the European livestock sector have managed to grow our tractor business.” Mr Lambro is particularly pleased with the brand’s European combine performance in the declining market. “We have increased our share of the European combine market for the fifth successive year.” The global market for new combine harvesters this year is around 25,000-26,000 units (around 9,000 in Europe and 7,500 in North America), and is divided roughly 60% rotary/40% conventional. “We are number one in the conventional combine market.” Looking ahead, Mr Lambro believes it is critical to continue to invest in new technology, and of the US$1.1 billion invested in R+D this year by CNH Industrial (3.6% of net revenues), US$520 million was earmarked for agricultural equipment. He promises us more combine updates in 2016, and the brand director is keen for New Holland to regain the leading position in the self-propelled forage harvester market. “The focus is on developing more powerful tractors and combines. European farmers need more power and efficiency to be better able to deal with lower commodity prices. New Holland is a strong company that belongs to a very powerful group, and we are ideally placed to meet the demand for more power in the future.”