New tractor sales slump continues in the UK, but why?

Registrations of new agricultural tractors (over 50hp) in the UK in March were down (on a year-on-year basis) for the sixth month in a row.

The data comes from the UK-based AEA (Agricultural Engineers Association).

The figure for March 2019 (which stood at 1,557 units) was 6% lower than that for March 2018.

Year-to-date figure

After an even bigger slowdown in January and February, total registrations for the first quarter of this year (January-March inclusive) were down by 9% on the same period of last year.

2,667 new (agricultural) tractors were registered thus far in 2019. That’s 265 fewer than during the same period of 2018.

Only 480 new tractors were registered during February – the lowest figure for any month since December 2010. That figure was down 18% on the same month of last year.

According to the AEA, the slowdown in tractor registrations so far this year is “likely to be partly due to Brexit uncertainty having an impact on farmers’ willingness to invest in new machines in the short-term”.

Image source: Tim Scrivener

The association says that, given delivery lead-times, this could “continue to affect registrations in future months, even if the uncertainty is resolved quickly”.

For the record, 12,102 new tractors were registered in the UK during the entirety of last year. That figure was approximately 1% higher than the total for 2017. In fact, it was the biggest annual figure in four years.

Worldwide tractor sales

Meanwhile, over 2.1 million new tractors are believed to have been sold across the world in 2017 (the most recent year for which such estimates are available). That’s according to data from Agrievolution Alliance.

That number was 13% higher than the estimate for 2016 (1.9 million units).

Image source: Tim Scrivener