15 August 1997

Tractor sales still fall but 97could see upturn:AEA

LATEST figures from the Agricultural Engineer Association show tractor sales continue to fall.

July is 28.1% down on the same period last year, and year to date, sales are 16.2% lower.

In terms of actual figures, 1231 tractors over 40hp were registered in July, bringing the year to date figure to a total of 9313 tractors.

AEA economist Chris Evans puts the decline down to low grain prices, which have made growers reluctant to make big investments in machinery.

"With harvest still to be completed – and the prospects in many parts for a pretty mediocre one at that – combined with far from attractive prices, it is quite natural there should be a degree of reservation at the moment," he says. Even so, with August offering "R" registered tractors, Mr Evans believes there could be an upturn.

"There is still some way to go in 1997," he says. "The attraction of an "R" reg, a better than expected harvest and/or a change in prices could conceivably change the whole scene by the end of the year."

But few would realistically expect 1997s total to approach the 18,600 units sold last year.