54 new self-propelled forage harvesters have been registered in Ireland so far this year (up to the end of May). That’s according to data compiled by the Farm Tractor & Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA).

Given the time of year (i.e. the fact that the grass silage season is already well underway), it’s unlikely that many (if any) further machines will be registered during the remainder of this year.

In any case, the figure is already the highest for many years. Is this a reflection of growing dairy herds and, thus, increased workloads for agricultural contractors?

In contrast, just 35 new self-propelled forage harvesters were registered during the entirety of last year (2018).

Image source: Shane Casey

Between 2015 and 2017, sales figures varied between the low-to-high thirties. Looking further back, between 2012 and 2014, sales numbers bounced around the low-to-mid twenties.

This table (below) shows the data more clearly:

Data source: FTMTA

Global sales

Interestingly, the total global market for self-propelled forage harvesters (of all makes/brands) is now believed to be in the region of 3,000 machines per year.

Claas is still the top-selling manufacturer of self-propelled forage harvesters around the globe. John Deere is also a significant contender worldwide.

However, it’s believed that Krone’s current production output – circa 320 machines per year – is now similar to (or even higher than) New Holland.

Meanwhile, Fendt is striving to amass a following for its machines.

Elsewhere, it’s believed that upwards of 300 self-propelled forage harvesters are built by Eastern Bloc manufacturers such as Rostselmash and Gomselmash.