Agricultural machinery exports from the UK rose by 14% in the first half of 2008 to £815.5m, according to recent figures published by the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA).

Sales of new tractors saw the biggest rise, up 15% to £415.8m with the USA taking 23.6%, Ireland 14.3% and France 13.3%. The Czech Republic proved the UK’s largest new customer, registering 62% more tractors than last year.

Massey ferguson 8690

The Ukraine has also jumped seven-fold in terms of imports from the UK, making it the 8th most important export market for farm machinery.

As a whole, Europe remains the UK’s main venue for new tractor sales, accounting for 63.2% of all new tractor exports form January to June 2008, says Chris Evans of the AEA.

“On the tractor side the increase is substantial, particularly as it can only be down to a couple of companies following McCormick ceasing UK production last year.”

Massey ferguson 365hp

Behind the figures, says Mr Evans, is the increase in demand and the sterlings decline, which makes UK exports more competitive.

“The result is a bit better than expected, but it’s hard to predict what will happen in the coming months,” he adds. “As markets change, it may be possible that manufacturers may decide to come back to the UK.”

With demand for machinery projected to peak this year (see story: Tractor sales have ‘reached their peak’) the used tractor market remains buoyant, increasing by a significant 65% to £81m.

Farm machinery exports also rose 12.6% to £162.3m, however amenity markets such as lawn and park mowers have suffered, dropping 14% in the same period.