combine 2

Combine sales are up nearly 31% on the same period last year, and many of the buyers are reckoned to be smaller arable farmers.

According to Chris Evans, economist at the Agricultural Engineers Association, 725 machines were sold in the most recent combine sales year which ran from 1 September 2006 to 31 August 2007.

That compares with 555 combines sold in the same period in 2005/2006.

In recent years it’s been contractors and larger growers who have been doing most of the buying, he says. And mostly they’ve been buying bigger and bigger machines to boost workrates and make the most of what seems to be an increasingly unreliable harvesting window.

Smaller arable farmers, meanwhile, have simply not been able to justify buying new combines while grain prices were in the doldrums.

But better prices and a damp harvest that saw many older machines struggling have prompted those smaller farmers to go back into the dealer showrooms.

And the same combination of better returns and tough field conditions has also seen a run on cultivations equipment throughout the year, says Mr Evans. In fact many machinery companies have been struggling to keep up with demand.

And tractor sales? They’re currently standing at 11,472 for the period from 1 January to 31 August 2007, 15.6% up on the same period last year. They’re expected to hit 15,250 by 31 December.

Interesting facts
* Two-thirds of combines are bought in the September-to-December period.
* 25% of all combines are bought in October alone
* The lowest sales figure for combines was in 2001
* March is the most popular month for tractor sales. July is the 2nd most popular and September the 3rd most popular.
* Looking to buy a new combine?
* Check out the model options in our 132-model combine buyers guide