Second-hand kit in demand as new tractor registrations slump

Long manufacturing lead times for new machinery are reducing the number of agricultural tractor registrations in the UK.

With fewer new tractors available, demand for second-hand machinery is booming and high-specification tractors with low hours are reported to be in most demand.

Brown & Co divisional partner George Watchorn says the lack of availability and ever-increasing prices of new equipment are helping to support the second-hand market.

See also: Fall in June tractor registrations as supply issues worsen

Mr Watchorn said: “I can’t see that trend changing in the coming months, while those factors are still present in the marketplace.

“Demand is strong in the UK, and we are also selling a lot overseas as well to eastern Europe and Ireland.”

The items selling best at the moment, according to Mr Watchorn, are low-houred second-hand tractors and good clean cultivation equipment.

Bill King, chairman and auctioneer at Cheffins, says good-quality second-hand machinery prices have risen since the pandemic and are still rising.

Mr King said: “Generally, there is a shortage of second-hand equipment coming through to the market, because the new equipment isn’t being supplied as quickly as it was pre-pandemic. Therefore the trade-ins aren’t coming on to the second-hand market.”

Equipment is being held on for longer, which means the better-quality machinery with lower hours and higher spec are in short supply and fetching a premium, according to Mr King.

“A lot of manufacturers have also increased prices this year, so the higher the value of a new piece of equipment, the higher the impact on second-hand residual prices,” he said.

New tractor registrations

The number of registrations of new tractors in July dropped by 4.5% on the same month last year, with just 973 units registered.

During the first seven months of 2022, the number of new registrations was 7,393, down by 6% on the previous year.

Stephen Howarth, agricultural economist at the Agricultural Engineers Association, cites supply-chain challenges and longer lead times as the major reasons for the fall in the number of machines being registered.