100hp-PLUS BARRIER BROKEN
By Andy Collings
THIS will be the first year when average tractor horsepower on UK farms will exceed 100hp, predicts the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA).
It is also a year which should see more tractors sold than during the last seven years.
Few can deny the tractor market has held up well in 1995 as the industry has used generous grants and buoyant grain prices to upgrade its tractor fleet.
Peak sales were recorded in August (2894 units) but the fall of 12% during September was not a true reflection of what was to come for the rest of the year.
The last quarter of 1995 is expected to be about 5% down on the previous year, but still very healthy when the exceptionally high sales of 1994s last quarter are recalled.
Hard as it is to put a figure on the total tractor sales in excess of 40hp for 1995, the AEA ventures the opinion it will be about 19,000 – about 5% higher than 1994.
Good news as the above statistics clearly are, it is one thing to sell a tractor and another to deliver it. Lead times for tractors – the time from order to on farm delivery – have been stretched this year.
Tractor manufacturers are cautious about investing huge sums into production plants when demand for tractors could quickly diminish. They have been in that situation before.
A worldwide shortage of tractor tyres has also compounded the problem, a problem which is taking some time to resolve.
Regionally, it is the West Midlands and the Yorks and Lancs areas which recorded the largest increase in sales, contrasting rather starkly with the northern region which registered a fall – 2.9% by the end of September.
An analysis of horsepower once again reveals that farmers are prepared to invest in ever larger and more powerful tractors. Most popular power band is now the 91-100hp bracket which is responsible for about 25% of all sales with 81-90hp a close second.
Tipping the averages into the 100hp plus zone are the number of sales in the 101-120hp and 121hp+ brackets which combine to take nearly 30% of sales. It is also worth noting that 121hp+ tractors sales have registered a mammoth 50% increase on last year. *
Jan-Sep 1994Jan-Sep 1995%
Hp rangeUnits% of totalUnits% of totalchange 1994/1995