The latest figures issued by the Farm Tractor & Machinery Trade Association in relation to registrations of tractors and other types of self-propelled machinery cover the period to the end of May and show a continued decrease in registrations when compared to a year ago. The ongoing Coronavirus crisis and associated restrictions undoubtedly continued to exert a strong impact on registrations during May when 130 new tractors were registered which was a 38% decrease on May 2019; this was however somewhat less than the 43% decrease witnessed in the April registrations. A total of 1,145 new tractors have been registered during the first five months of the year, down 13% on 2019. While the farm machinery sector has been operational at all times through the restrictions, there is no doubt that reductions in manufacturing capacity due to factory shut downs on the continent and other impacts on the supply chain are reflected within the lower levels of registrations of new machines. As the situation returns to a more normal footing at these facilities, such issues should be less of a factor in June although this is typically a month of lower registration activity with the new July plate weighing heavily on behaviour.
Cork remains the county with the highest level of new tractor registrations, by far, with 164 units registered in that county so far during 2020. Tipperary and Wexford swapped second and third positions in May with Tipperary ahead by one unit with 76 registrations to Wexford’s 75 registrations. Only two counties remain at single figure levels of registrations at the end of May with Leitrim and Monaghan each seeing 9 units registered so far this year.
Registrations of new tractors with over 100hp fell back slightly, from just over, to just under 91% in the first five months. Exactly 60% of all tractors registered in this period have in excess of 120hp as was also the case at the end of April. Nearly 32% of all registrations are of tractors with more than 150hp.
Registrations of used imports have been very heavily impacted by the restrictions imposed at the end of March. Such registrations are carried out through the NCTS centres which have been closed in this period. Only 26 used tractors were registered during March and April and these are likely to be units that were preinspected. A total of 816 used imports have been registered to the end of May which is a considerable drop of the 1,443 used machines registered in the same period of 2019. There is likely to be a large number of such machines to be registered when this becomes possible again; even though the NCTS is now reopening in a limited way this is only in relation to the National Car Test and there is no date for a resumption of VRT inspections as yet.
Teleporter registrations continue to be heavily impacted by the current situation with only 12 new units registered during May, a drop of over 70% on last year. A total of 208 such machines have now been registered during 2020 which is a 27% decrease on 2019. As mentioned previously, the closure of the registration facility at NCTS centres would be impacting heavily on the registration of such machines as many such registrations are done in that way.
Wheeled loader registrations dropped by 12 units in May, as against the same month last year, to record 10 units registered. Despite this drop, registrations of new wheeled loaders for the first five months of the year are only down 2 units on 2020 at 67 units.
For the second month in a row, there were no registrations of backhoe loaders during May, leaving the total for the year to date at 19 units, down from 39 at the end of May 2019.
A further 9 new self-propelled forage harvesters were registered during May bringing the total for such machines so far in 2020 to 31 units. While there may be a small number of additional units yet to be registered, it is likely that the vast majority of such machines are now registered. There have also been 2 second hand foragers registered.
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