With agricultural commodity prices under pressure across the board, attention is focusing more than ever on controlling costs, especially for machinery.
Prices have soared in recent years, with a fully equipped 175hp tractor now carrying a retail price of more than £160,000.
Even with discount and trade-in, it could typically cost £80,000 to trade an eight-year-old model for a new one of similar specification.
Stephen Howarth, economist with the Agricultural Engineers Association, said: “Currency exchange rates have had a big impact, but there are other factors pushing up price, such as complying with emissions legislation.”
At least tariffs on imports from the EU are not adding to prices and Mr Howarth’s understanding is they are unlikely to be imposed post-Brexit.
He said: “There are no tariffs at the moment on tractors and combine harvesters. There are, however, some exceptions.
“For example, some ATVs can attract the same 10 per cent tariffs as cars, but it depends on design. Some sprayers also have tariffs applied, but generally at 5 per cent or less.
“Spare parts are more of a Brexit worry, especially those despatched via the Channel crossing at Dover. There may be delays, but a lot of our members have been making contingency plans, such as building up stocks.
“The timing is less of a concern than it was in March when everyone was building up to a busy season.”
As to the wisdom of replacing machinery when it is so expensive, Mary Munro, head of farming in Scotland for Strutt and Parker, said: “People have to review decisions carefully rather than just rushing out and buying just because it fits in with the normal replacement policy.
“You cannot say ‘do not replace anything’, but looking more closely at deals and finance options makes sense. It might be a case of replacing a machine a year later than normal or thinking hard about sharing with a neighbour.
“There is plenty of scope for going into a joint venture with machinery.
“Being good in the workshop can also help make machines last much longer.”