15 November 1996

Regional sales fall

as BSE effect bites

AGRICULTURAL machinery dealers based in the south-west and Scotland are feeling the implications of the BSE crisis, reports the British Agricultural and Garden Machinery Association (BAGMA).

A recent survey held in conjunction with farmers weekly revealed that although tractor registrations countrywide remain reasonably buoyant, nearly 60% of dealers in the south-west and Scotland report a fall in sales.

Predictably, in the arable east dealers have seen no noticeable reduction in orders, but overall, 61% of dealers across the country report that tractor orders for the last quarter of the year are down.

In terms of end-of-year tractor sale totals, 40% of dealers believe it will be the same as last year – 19,000 over 40hp – while 5% reckon the figure will be higher.

While BSE-free areas have experienced more stable sales of tractor and machinery, poor prices for potatoes and vegetables have slowed sales significantly.

On the second-hand front, prices have held steady – only 20% of dealers noticing an increase in prices with 55% of dealers expecting prices to remain stable until Christmas.

More specifically, sales of tillage equipment this autumn have been stronger than expected with nearly a fifth of all dealers reporting increases in sales.

But it is a solution to the BSE situation which appears to be the key to improved machinery sales. Understandably, dealers are keen to see the problem quickly resolved before businesses have to close.n