Annual tractor sales were down just over 11% last year, according to Agricultural Engineers Association figures.
In total 13,347 tractors over 50hp were registered in the UK during 2010, with the average size provisionally put at 141.7hp, representing an unusual 1.2% decline on the preceding year.
Sales of tractors less than 100hp were reported to have been particularly strong early in the year, possibly reflecting the better returns on livestock farms when product prices were firm and before rising input costs had taken their toll.
“Last year saw subdued activity through much of Europe, and in fact the UK performed as well as any other major market,” the AEA said. “It is of note that DEFRA recently forecast farm incomes being down by 13% for 2010; there is not such a correlation in every year, but there clearly can be a link between the relative prosperity of farming and demand for capital investment.”
The AEA predicted a small increase in tractor sales in 2011, concentrated into the earlier part of the year on the back of high cereal prices. “Some farmers may be encouraged to consider investing over the next few months if facing a significant tax liability, although by no means all producers are in such a favourable position.”