New tractor registrations for the first quarter of 2008 are up significantly on the previous year as farmers across the UK look to invest some of the profit created by rising commodity prices.

During the first four months of the year 5518 tractors were registered, an increase of 11.4% on 2007, according to the Agricultural Engineers Association, the body that represents manufacturers and importers.

Sales of all farm machinery are rising, but due to recording procedures only those machines required to be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) can be regarded as providing an accurate picture.

“Just about every machine you can think of is in demand, except for set-aside mowers,” said AEA statistician Chris Evans.

The greater-than-normal demand has resulted in many of the major manufacturers reporting extended delivery times for new orders. But it is not just agriculture that is reporting increased demand for new products. Construction and manufacturing equipment share common parts with agricultural machinery and increased demand for new kit there means production is running at full capacity at some of the major suppliers.

“It’s not just a case of capacity at our factories, but that of some of our suppliers,” one manufacturer told Farmers Weekly.

April recorded the largest number of new tractor registrations for the year with 2116 units licensed by the DVLA, an increase of 28% on 2007.

Sales of combine harvesters are estimated to be up about 50% on last year to about 1030 units, but since not all are registered for use on public highways a precise statistic is not available.