16 May 1997

BEDROCK OF BUSINESS…

Tractors are the mainstay of most farm businesses. For some they are a passion to be caressed and pampered, to others they are a mere necessity to be neglected and abused.

Whatever your approach, most owners expect them to perform well in a wide variety of conditions. Some are more successful thanothers. Tractors, or their sales at least, provide an indication of how the agricultural business is performing. Predictably, sales tend to increase – along with other types of machinery – when times are good, and decline when things are not so. Our report below provides the latest picture and predictions for the coming year.

And there is more. Few will have failed to notice the increasing engine power which is now available, the technological advances made in transmissions and the overall luxury provided for the operator. All this of course, is also a reflection on the state of the industry – if farmers could not afford to buy such developments then manufacturers would not be spending fortunes on developing them.

The danger is that if farm incomes decline – and the demand for high-tech tractors follows – tractor manufacturers could be faced with a severe problem.

But that is to be pessimistic. In this supplement we look not only at the latest trends in tractor development and attempt to unravel the results of the latest mergers, but also provide an in-depth tractor buyers price guide.

And for the BIG tractor enthusiast we take a look at two of the largest wheeled tractors operating in the UK.