Figures released by the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA) confirm that 883 new agricultural tractors (>50hp) were registered in December 2021 bringing the total for the year as a whole to 12,017 units. This represents an increase in sales of 15.8% compared to 2020 when 10,380 tractors were registered.
December alone saw 883 machines sold; a 14% improvement on the figure for the corresponding month in 2020 and some 16% above the average for the period 2015-2019.
The recovery of new tractor registrations back to similar levels recorded in the three-year period from 2017 to 2019 is welcome news though not necessarily unexpected. The double-whammy of the coronavirus pandemic and adverse weather conditions hit the industry hard in 2020 so it was almost inevitable that tractor registrations would be higher in 2021 – especially in the early part of the year. Indeed, the first half of 2021 saw a 25% year-on-year growth. However, this growth was offset by a slow down in sales in the second half of the year due in no small measure to major disruptions to global supply chains ultimately resulting in longer lead times for tractor deliveries. As the AEA pointed out, without these disruptions, registrations would have been higher still in 2021.
It is expected that a significant number of machines which would ordinarily have been scheduled for delivery and registration towards the end of last year will now find their way on to customers’ farms in the coming weeks and months.
Tractor registrations remain a good indicator of the strength of the domestic market for agricultural equipment, the AEA explained. Tractors must be licensed for use on public roads and as such are registered with the Department for Transport which allows an accurate count to be made. In value terms, sales of tractors, plus parts and accessories, account for almost one half of farmers’ total spend on equipment, which again makes this data series a prime indicator.