Strong July Tractor Registrations
The latest tractor and self propelled machinery registration statistics from the Farm Tractor & Machinery Trade Association reveal that this July saw somewhat of a milestone in the behaviour of the Irish tractor market. Until 2013, the year which saw the introduction of a two part year for vehicle registration purpose, tractor registrations in any given year were heavily weighted towards the first quarter of the year. The introduction of the split registration year saw July become second only to January in terms of monthly registrations. However, this July became the month with the highest level of monthly registrations so far this year.
There were 249 new tractors registered during this July which is an increase of nearly 5% on the 238 units registered during July of 2017 but is also more tractors than were registered during this January when coincidentally 238 units were also registered. The strong July performance results in a total of 1,349 new tractors registered during the first seven months of this year and while that is a drop of 4% on the same period of 2018 this must be seen in the context of the January registrations which were 29% down on 2017. Even after a good month in February which was some 12% ahead of the corresponding period last year, the year on year level of registrations was some 15% down on 2017 which highlights the recovery in 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 very pronounced move towards higher power tractors in the Irish market is clearly evident in the 2018 registrations with 89% of all new tractors having in excess of 100hp, 55% over 120hp and 27% over 150hp.
Telehandler registrations to the end of July confirm a market that is continuing the strong performance of recent years with 31 units registered during July, bringing the figure for the first seven months to 257 units which is a 19% increase on the same period of 2017. Wheeled loaders have also seen strong activity with 15 units registered during July to bring the figure for the year to date to 93 machines which is a 33% year on year increase and also comfortably in excess of the 83 such machines in total which were registered in all of 2017.
With the onset of the grain harvest in July, the picture on registrations of new combines becomes much clearer and this year’s figure certainly defy the pessimism that might have been prevalent on this topic at the end of last year’s harvest and during this year’s difficult spring. A total of 31 new combines have been registered during to the end of July. While this figure is some way off the heights of 2013 and 2014 when 65 and 61 new combines respectively were registered it also a considerable improvement on last year’s market which saw only 20 new combines registered.
In what has been a challenging period for Irish farming with contrasting but extremely difficult weather conditions starting as far back as July 2017, it is clear that Irish farmers and agricultural contractors are continuing to invest in the mechanisation requirements of their professionally run agricultural enterprises. FTMTA has expressed the hope that the return of more typical weather patterns and moisture levels will be contained at levels that will allow the use of grass harvesting equipment much later than in normal years to fill the gaps in fodder supplies for the year ahead.
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