Tractor sales fall 12% in 2009

Tractor registrations in the UK fell by more than 12% in 2009, reversing the upward trend seen over the previous three years.

Figures from the Agricultural Engineers’ Association put the final count at 15,013 for tractors of over 50hp, which represents a decline of 12.2% on the previous year’s record levels.

“The industry had largely anticipated this, as it was widely accepted that 2008 represented the peak of the cycle, when investment was made in response to the high volumes and prices from the 2007 cereal harvest,” said a statement.

“Subsequently, farm returns have been much lower, not least due to higher input costs for 2008 production. The early part of 2009 saw strong results as deliveries were made of units ordered during 2008, but subsequently the market quietened.”

During the past 10 years, registrations have averaged around 13,800 units, ranging from 10,304 in 2000 to 17,104 in 2008.

The average size of unit sold in 2009 is provisionally put at 143hp, which would be a 4% increase on the preceding year and no less than 35% above the 2000 level. In terms of total horsepower sold, the 2009 level of 2.15m hp was 21% above the average for the decade.

“It can therefore be seen that sales have remained at elevated levels and are therefore likely to ease over the coming months,” said the statement. “But much depends on the outlook for farming and there does appear to be an underlying confidence in agriculture, despite the cereal and dairy sectors struggling to cover production costs in the recent past.”


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