In turn, the ag tire market also has seen better days.
"The trend of reduced agricultural tire demand has continued into 2016," said Christopher Durbin, manager original equipment, BKT USA Inc.
"Certain factors, such as commodity prices and changing trends, have affected how farmers redistribute their wealth. However optimistic, it appears that 2017 will show flat to little growth in demand for agricultural tires."
Laurent Le Dortz, director of marketing–agricultural and compact line product line, Michelin Agricultural Tires, said a potential oil price increase could have a positive impact in the long-term period because of its impact on ethanol and corn.
He said there are some flairs of positivity noted by manufacturers, such as potential growth in aftermarket equipment.
"We have seen a slight rise in our aftermarket toward the end of 2016, and 2017 appears to be continuing the trend," said Scott Sloan, agricultural products manager, Titan International Inc.
OE vs. aftermarket performance
Manufacturers have battled declining OE and replacement market for years and project 2017 will be much of the same.
Overall, the ag market was still low, Mr. Le Dortz said, with a net farm income down 18 percent from 2015 and an OE market really depressed.
"It is anticipated that 2017 will remain low with no short recovery expected soon," he added.
The OE market continued to slide over the past four years, Mr. Durbin said. New and used inventories of farm equipment "OE manufacturers have reduced new output to assist in a reduction of these inventories," he said.
"The equipment inventory levels have diminished during 2016. With reduced inventories and a need to replace equipment that has been in service for additional years, demand for new equipment has started a resurgence."
Tire manufacturers saw some steep reductions in sales during an already shaky economic climate.
Titan felt a 20-plus percent drop last year in its OE customers, Mr. Sloan said, with $3 per bushel of corn making producers "a bit stingy" with their cash.
"Last year, most implement dealers were working to lower their inventory on used equipment, which was more attractive to end users," he said.