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Tractor sales continue to decline, but used kit bottleneck released

With incomes still down across all sectors, it is not too surprising new tractor sales figures for the first half of 2016 are down compared to the first half of 2015.

James   Rickard


Buying trends have seen the average power per unit rise in 2016.

According to the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA), in the first half of the year 5,382 agricultural tractors with more than 50hp were registered for road use, a decrease of 9.8 per cent compared with the first half of 2015.


While the number of units sold was down, buying trends have seen the average size of units sold in the first six months of 2016 increase to 158.5hp, up 2.7 per cent on the same period last year.


An analysis by power group indicates a small increase at the upper end (over 160 hp) while the greatest decline is seen in the mid-power bands.


Whereas large scale farms and contractors are likely to stick to a buying plan, the AEA comments that the uncertainty of Brexit will leave many potential machinery customers lacking in confidence to invest.


Manufacturer's view

Deutz-Fahr romp on despite market trends.

One tractor manufacturer bucking the downward sales trend is SDF UK, which reports an increase in tractor unit sales of 63 per cent in the first five months compared to the same period last year.


Mark Ormond, SDF managing director UK and Ireland says; “Appointing more dealers to fill in geographical gaps has certainly helped our cause. We are also working with the dealers a lot more to better service customers.”


As for the effects of Brexit on the tractor business, which has weakened the pound by about 9 per cent, Mr Ormond says any manufacturer would need to put its prices up by the same amount to maintain the status quo. However, he says SDF UK will be reviewing the pound and its prices on a daily basis.


“On the positive side, second hand sales have been given a boost, which has released a bottleneck in the dealership network which has been preventing new orders from being taken’” adds Mr Ormond.


Elsewhere, Case IH UK says its sales figures are down in-line with the overall industry figure of about 10 per cent.

Versatile tractors such as the Optum seem very popular at the moment, says Case IH.

Paul Harrison, Case IH UK and Ireland business manager says; “At the moment we are not seeing any indications that the market dynamic will change. However, despite the overall tractor market shrinking, our UK market share is continuing to grow.”


“As yet, Brexit has had little effect on the Case IH business. We’ve certainly gained more orders than lost.


“In terms of tractor prices, we will not be making any knee jerk reaction to the fluctuating pound. We will continue to monitor the pound, should it continue to be weak then our prices will have to reflect that.”

Used machinery market

Buoyed by a weakened pound Cheffins saw a 50 per cent uplift in gross sales compared to the same time last year.

This time of year is not normally known for its strong second hand sales market, but a recent Cheffins machinery sale belied any Brexit woes.


Buoyed by a weakened pound it saw a 50 per cent uplift in gross sales compared to the same time last year. Many European buyers, especially those from Southern Ireland, were looking to make the most of the relative bargains to be had, during what is traditionally a quieter time of year, says the auction house.


Bill Pepper, Cheffins director says: “Telephone enquiries were noticeably greater and the Sunday viewing day saw more from the export trade than we have experienced in months. On the sale day itself, trade was best described as solid, nothing outstanding but certainly better than we would expect for this time of year.”

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