15 September 2000

August sees 18.4% drop in tractor sales

TRACTOR sales in August were 18.4% down on the same period last year, according to latest data released by the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA).

A total of 987 units were registered, bringing the year to date figure to 7585 units, 2.6% less than the 1999 figure of 7597.

AEA economist Chris Evans believes the decline is partly accounted for by purchases of new tractors being delayed from August to September.

"The sales slump in August does not represent a definitive trend," says Mr Evans. "An increasing number of buyers are delaying purchases until September at the second new registration period."

Mr Evans also believes the rise in fuel prices could hold back sales, with buyers having to think carefully about operating costs before investing in new machines.

Meanwhile, the AEA predicts combine sales for 1999/2000 could be down to about 580 units, compared with 700 units for the 1998/99 season. It suggests sales of round balers may remain stable at about 950 to 1000 units for 1999/2000. &#42