New tractor (50hp +) registrations for the month of May declined sharply compared with the corresponding figure from last year as the effects of the coronavirus outbreak took its toll.
According to the Agricultural Engineers’ Association’s (AEA) monthly report, just 586 tractors were registered last month as opposed to 1008 in May 2019. That’s a drop in sales of almost 42%.
The fact that some major tractor plants closed temporarily through April and May could well have been a factor as could the restrictions placed on dealers during lockdown and the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus felt by farmers on top of lingering concerns regarding the potential impact of Brexit. Add to all that the challenging weather conditions in recent months and you have the perfect storm.
The survey also shows that overall tractor sales in the UK for the first five months of this year were 26.5% down on the same period in 2019.
Tractor registrations through the Department of Transport have always been regarded as a good barometer of the health of the UK market for agricultural equipment, not least because – in terms of value – tractors, parts and accessories, account for almost 50% of farmers’ total investment in equipment.
Whilst uncertainty about the future persists, farmers seem increasingly less inclined to commit large sums of their hard-earned cash unless they really have to. Instead, many farmers are looking at ways to extract the best possible performance and productivity from their existing machines and extend their life by adding new implements and accessories such as front loaders, front linkages, PTOs and track systems. If you’re one of them, transforming the versatility of an existing tractor is not the only benefit you can expect. Further down the track, when the time is right to buy that brand-new tractor, you’ll also be pleasantly surprised by the increased part-exchange value your tractor can command. Sounds like a win-win!