21 April 1995

Tractor sales level off

HAVE tractor sales peaked? January and February figures recorded a marked increase on the same months last year but March saw only a 0.1% increase.

Agricultural Engineers Assoc-iations economist Chris Evans believes we could be moving into a decline situation – albeit a slow one.

"It is hard to see sales figures showing any significant increases over the months to come," he says. "And my feeling is that they will be lower."

Mr Evans points out that those purchasing tractors in recent years were, in the main, replacing old, "worked-out" key tractors. He believes the majority of sales are now from farmers looking to update their second string tractors to ensure machinery is in good order if a decline in income is suffered.

"Good finance deals and a reasonable secondhand trade are also encouraging farmers to renew their tractors when they are much younger – less than two years old in some cases," he comments. "This situation will only continue as long as there is confidence in the industry."

Figures recorded in March for tractors over 40hp were 1811 – marginally more than March 1994. This brings the year to date figure to 4454, an increase of 6.9% on the same period last year. &#42