Registrations of new tractors have stabilised somewhat, but continue to lag behind the levels achieved in the same period of 2017.

That’s the message from the FTMTA (Farm Tractor & Machinery Trade Association), as it reviews statistics covering the first half of this year (2018).

A total of 1,100 new tractors were registered during the January-to-June period. That’s a decrease of 6% on the same period of 2017.

It is notable though that, in a repeat of last year’s registration pattern, the year started with a considerable drop and then recovered as time moved on.

New and old on display recently at a Fendt dealership in the midlands

The three counties with the highest levels of registrations (so far this year – to the end of June) are Cork (158), Tipperary (98) and Wexford (88).

The July figures will no doubt be closely studied as a guide to the likely final outcome for the year. July has become a key month for registrations of all types of vehicles, since the introduction of the split registration year in 2013.

According to the FTMTA, the move by some farmers to using telehandlers or dedicated farm loaders has “reduced demand for tractors over the years”.

Telehandler registrations have enjoyed a strong recovery in recent years, with slightly over 300 (new) units registered in each of 2017 and 2016. The final outcome for 2018 may be even higher, with 226 units registered during the first six months. That’s a 29% increase on the same point last year.


While many of these machines are no doubt engaged in construction activity, the FTMTA says that there is “a clear increase in their prevalence in Irish agriculture”.

Wheeled loaders have also seen a strengthening level of activity during 2018. 78 (new) units were registered to the end of June, as against 85 in the entirety of last year. The three counties with the greatest level of registrations of such machines were Cork (13), Kilkenny (13) and Tipperary (10).

Image source: Shane Casey

The strong agricultural base in these counties, combined with the fact that over half of all registrations took place in May, indicates that many of these machines went into service with agricultural contractors (at the start of the silage season).

Image source: Shane Casey

Self-propelled forager registrations indicate a market that is “continuing its strong performance”. 29 (new) units were registered by the end of June, with possibly a very small number of others still to filter through the registration process.

Visibility on combine harvester registrations does not become clear until July registrations are completed.

There is, according to the FTMTA, anecdotal evidence of a market that has performed “far better than was expected” at the end of last year’s harvest and during the difficult winter and spring planting periods.

FTMTA machinery trade

FTMTA chief executive Gary Ryan (pictured above) told AgriLand: “The latest registration statistics show a market that continues to recover as the year moves on and, when taking telehandler, loader and forager registrations into consideration, the continued investment in farm mechanisation by Irish farmers and agri contractors is impressive – in what has been a challenging year.”