July of this year saw “a milestone in the behaviour of the Irish tractor market”.

That’s according to the Farm Tractor & Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA). It made the comment, having analysed data for registrations of (new) tractor and self-propelled equipment.

Gary Ryan, chief executive of the FTMTA, explained: “Until 2013, the year which saw the introduction of a two-part year for vehicle registration purposes, tractor registrations in any given year were heavily weighted towards the first quarter.

“The introduction of the split-registration year saw July become second only to January, in terms of monthly registrations. However, July of 2018 became the month with the highest level of registrations so far this year.”

The data shows that 249 new tractors were registered during July; that’s an increase of nearly 5% on the 238 units registered during July of 2017.

It’s also more than were registered during January of this year (238 units – coincidentally the same number as for July of last year).

Ryan explained: “The strong July performance results in a total of 1,349 new tractors registered during the first seven months of this year.

“While that is a drop of 4% on the same period of 2017, this must be seen in the context of the January registrations which were down 29% [on 2017].

“Even after a good month in February, which was 12% ahead of the corresponding period last year, the year-on-year level of registrations was still 15% down on 2017. This all highlights the recovery that has taken place since – during more recent months.”

The three counties with the highest levels of registrations continue to be Cork, Tipperary and Wexford – with 181, 110 and 106 units registered respectively (to the end of July).

The pronounced move towards higher-power tractors in the Irish market is clearly evident in 2018 registrations. 89% of all new tractors have in excess of 100hp; 55% are over 120hp; and 27% are over 150hp.