Sales of new tractors fell by 40% in June compared with a year ag,o according to the latest figures from the Farm Tractor Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA).

This would appear a dramatic decline, however, at 54 units being sold, the total is more in line with the years 2019 and 2020, where 65 and 63 machines were sold respectively.

Optimism from the FTMTA

The organisation is not discouraged by this fall, noting that “there remains a strong demand for new tractors on the Irish market”.

Tractor registrations 2022
Forward ordering by dealers allows some stock to be kept

Instead of a lack of farmer interest in buying new, it places the blame firmly on supply chain problems, noting that the figures “continue to show the continuing impact of disruptions to global supply chains on the number of agricultural tractors being registered in Ireland”.

Overall, total sales for the year to date stand at 1,368 units, compared to 1,539 for 2021.

Although it is an 11% reduction, it is in line with 2019 where 1,378 tractors had been sold by now.

Loader sales do well

Despite the claim that supply chain problems are causing a reduction in tractor registrations, the sales of materials handlers showed an increase during the same period.

It might be thought that telescopic loaders and wheeled loaders would be subject to the same delays as tractors, but it would appear not to be the case.

Sales of telescopic loaders have increased by 58% over the year while those of wheeled loaders have risen by 13%, the latter recording a 62% increase in June alone.

Specialist machines

Backhoe loaders also saw positive growth with a 5.7% increase over last year and an extra three units being sold in June.

Loader sales 2022
Loader sales have increased significantly in 2022

There may well be an element of substitution within these numbers as larger farms plump for machines focused on materials handling rather than all-purpose tractors.

However, the fact remains that loader sales appear not to be constrained by component shortages to the extent that tractors are said to be.

The toothbrush factor

The feeling within the trade is that the supply situation is less than ideal, but with customers accepting long delays and companies implementing mitigation strategies, the situation has stabilised to a large extent.

Such strategies include scouring the market for essential components. One company is said to have bought a quantity of electronic chips from an electric toothbrush manufacturer which had them pre-ordered from the supplier.

It happily admits that it paid well over the odds and that dental hygiene may suffer globally, but its products were completed and made available to farmers – with the extra cost passed on.