The latest new tractor registrations figures for September, issued by the Farm Tractor & Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA) show a significant year on year improvement. The FTMTA figures show that 135 new tractors were registered in September, the best September new tractor registration performance since 2014. The figures showed the new tractor market to September, at 1,761 units, is only 4% behind the market for the same period in 2019, despite the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The September new tractor registrations figure was more than double the 63 units registered in the same month of 2019 as the sector showed signs of making up for the earlier season reductions, making the improvement during the third quarter all the more significant.
Ireland’s largest farming county of Cork predictably continues to lead the field on 238 units registered so far this year, followed by Tipperary and Wexford nearly tied on 124 and 123 units respectively. The next nearest rival was Meath with 97 new tractor registrations.
Tractor horsepower levels continue to increase now with 56% of all tractors registered in the power band above 120hp, many of which are contractor owned tractors. It is also interesting from the FTMTA Power Band figures that the numbers of tractors in the popular 100 to 120hp band, which is typically the farmer user, is slowly decreasing while registrations of smaller and specialist tractors increased in 2020. The size of the 150hp+ power band is now almost equal to that of the traditionally popular 100 to 120hp segment of the new tractor market.
Used tractor imports are also recovering, with 1,894 used tractors registered so far this year, back from 2,355 for the same nine months of 2019. This is despite a total shutdown of the NCT Centres during April, May and June for registration purposes, when only a handful of imported used tractors were re-registered in Ireland, compared with what are typically the peak months for used tractor imports.
September brought much-needed recovery to the telescopic loader registration numbers, after a difficult number of months. The FTMTA figures show that in September 50 new telescopic loader units were registered. The close-down in construction activity from April to June had a considerable impact of new machine deliveries. This is clearly shows in the year-to-date figures which are showing a 20% reduction, down to 349 units from 437 units in the same period of 2019.
Last year was a bumper year for self-propelled silage harvester registrations and this year contractor’s investment focus turned to wheeled loaders. The latest FTMTA figures show a strong month with 11 units registered in September. This equates to a total of 105 wheeled loader registered to-date in 2020, a 25% increase on the 2019 figure. It is understood that cheaper Chinese origin wheeled loader machines are fueling the increased registration numbers at farm and farm contractor level.