16 May 1997


AVERAGE tractor power has, in recent years, continued to rise, according to the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA).

The average tractor currently stands at 103.7hp – last year saw the 100hp barrier broken for the first time. It is a reflection of how UK farmers are taking a firm hold of mechanisation by moving to larger, yet fewer tractors.

It is a view held by AEA economist, Chris Evans, and one which is compounded by the growing number of tele-handlers and self-propelled equipment often bought to replace a tractor.

Mr Evans believes that if farmers continued to buy the same volume of horsepower each year, this will reduce the annual tractor market by 2% a year.

Current market statistics reveal a dip in tractor sales of 17.1% for the first quarter of 1997 compared to last year. The drop is evident on all horsepower sectors up to 120hp, while tractors over 120hp showed a 4.9% increase on the same period last year.

The AEA expects the tractor market to continue its decline, albeit slowly, but if Mr Evans predictions are anything to go by, 1997 still looks set to be a good year. &#42