September usually marks a distinct dropping away of tractor sales as the silage season draws to a close, and those that are going to buy a new machine for the busy tillage period will already have it on the farm.
Yet, this year the falling away of sales would appear to be more distinct than usual, with a 24% decrease in new tractor registrations compared with September last year, according to the latest figures from the FTMTA.
However, September 2020 was an exceptionally good month with sales up 114% over 2019, as farmers scrambled to catch up on their machinery investment which had suffered in the spring.
Sales in April and May being 43% and 38% down, respectively, on the year before that.
A good year for dealers
It is also worth noting that new tractor sales have enjoyed a boom this year, standing at 2,186 new units by the end of September. This compares to an average of 1,804, at this time of year, over the three previous years.
The launch of new tractor ranges very often focuses on the top, with the bigger tractors gaining the most attention. Back on the ground though, it is still the medium-sized sector where the majority of sales take place.
The most popular power band is the 101hp to 140hp zone where just under 56% of sales were made.
Yet this is a broad slice of the spectrum and is difficult to compare with the next band which covers only a 20hp division of 141-160hp.
Despite this, it is noticeable that a third of the total number of tractors sold were in excess of 140hp, while just 13% were below 101hp.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to determine the median from these statistics, for that would be the clearest indication of the shift in tractor power.
Imports also down in September
Used tractor registrations were also well down last month compared to September last year.
358 were brought into the country in 2020, while the total for 2021 was just 208. Yet it would appear to be part of the same pattern of tailing off from a good year of sales overall.
The total used tractor registrations now stands at 3,011 for the year to date, which is one unit more than for the whole of 2020 which reached 3,010 altogether.
The average for the past three years is 2,282 imports per annum, a figure which disguises a significant increase during the years 2019 to 2021.