The new tractor registration figures issued by the Farm Tractor & Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA) covering the period to the end of May indicate that the recovering new tractor volumes seen in 2018 are continuing well into 2019. While April saw a slight drop in registrations in comparison to the same month last year with a 1% decrease to 207 units, May surged ahead with a 19% increase on 2018. A total of 210 units were registered in May bringing the figure for the first five months of 2019 to 1,313 units, up some 5% on last year which it must be remembered was the best year seen since 2008.
The three counties with the highest levels of registrations so far this year continue to be Cork, Tipperary and Wexford with 190, 133 and 92 units registered respectively to the end of April.
The trend toward higher horse power tractors evident in recent years and strongly manifested in the early part of 2018 has continued. While the percentage of all new tractors registered during the first five months having in excess of 100hp fell slightly to 93%, the percentages of tractors registered of over 120hp and 150hp have climbed marginally to 30% and 32% respectively – up from 59% and 31% at the end of April. A total of only 19 tractors have been registered so far this year with 70hp or less which is just over 1% of the total registrations.
In commenting on the figures, FTMTA Chief Executive, Gary Ryan welcomed what he said was strong evidence of the continuing confidence of Irish agricultural professionals in their sector and their preparedness to invest in the mechanisation of their businesses.
Coming on the back of somewhat of a slowdown in April with a 26% drop in that month, registrations of telehandlers in May also recovered strongly in May to continue the strong growth witnessed in that category in recent years. May saw 41 such machines registered, as against 32 in the same month last year, which brings the total for the first five months to 285 units, up some 40% on last year. Slightly more than 50% of the total registrations thus far continue to be seen in three counties with Meath, Cork and Wexford accounting for 60, 44 and 39 units respectively.
Perhaps surprisingly, registrations of wheeled loaders are back somewhat on 2018 with a total of 69 units registered, down 5 units on the first five months of last year. That said, silage contractors may have made the decision to concentrate their big ticket purchasing power on self propelled foragers this year with registrations of such machines at a record level for recent years of 54 machines up from 35 units last year.
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