Higher-powered tractors enjoy 20% UK market growth

Higher-powered tractors have dominated the market so far in 2023, as the sector continues to play catch-up following supply chain disruption during the Covid pandemic years.

Latest figures from the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA) show that, over the first nine months of the year, total UK tractor registrations grew by 4% compared with the same period in 2022.

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But for machines of 160hp or more the increase was nearly 20% higher, with the 161-200hp category actually seeing a 30% year-on-year increase.

According to AEA economist Stephen Howarth, this partly reflects the fact that extended lead times mean that orders that were placed in the second half of 2022 only came through in actual deliveries and registrations in the first half of 2023.

This was particularly the case for arable farms in the east of the country, who had a particularly good year for margins in 2022.


“It is these farms that tend to buy the bigger kit – but the higher-powered tractors also tend to have more components, so have been more affected by the supply chain issues, with even longer lead times,” said Mr Howarth.

It was a similar story in terms of regional distribution, with the East Midlands showing the strongest growth with 18% more tractor registrations in the first three quarters of 2023, followed by the Home Counties (up 13%), and the South East (up 9%).

However, the AEA has noted a definite slowing down in the number of new tractor registrations across the power bands and throughout the regions in the past three months.

According to Mr Howarth, this reflects a “normalisation” of the market, though there has been some resurgence at the lower end of the power range, with 51-100hp tractors up 12% in the July-September period.

As for the future outlook, the current financial squeeze on most sectors of agriculture is likely to show through in future registration figures.

“Farmer demand is likely to be affected, though it takes several months for this to filter through due to delayed buying and longer lead times,” said Mr Howarth.

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