British farmers are estimated to have spent almost £0.9bn on farm equipment in the first six months of 2013 – a drop of more than 10% on a year earlier, according to the Agricultural Engineers Association.
Early-season cashflows have been critical and, although the grain price remained high and stable until recent weeks, it has not been enough to offset the low yields, says Chris Evans, chief economist at the AEA. Dairy and livestock farmers have also found it tough going and suffered a large increase in their base costs over the harsh winter, but the general mood is now improving, says Mr Evans.
Tractors are usually the best indicator of activity and 6,677 units over 50hp were registered between January and June, a drop of 19.7% on the previous year. Meanwhile, tractor horsepowers have continued to rise, with this year’s average now just under 148hp.
Combine harvester sales, as predicted, have been much lower over this seasonal year (September to August) and are expected to reach 760 units, down almost a third. Although this season’s drop in sales is massive, sales in the preceding year were unusually high because of good grain prices and tax incentives to encourage big-kit purchases.
Self-propelled foragers sales are expected to total 160 units this year. The poor early grass season has recovered with recent rains relieving a hot, dry stretch.
A few machine categories including ploughs, tined seeders, pasture toppers and bale wrappers were still showing a slight year-on-year increase by the end of June. Deliveries of small drills have also remained on a par with last year, although numbers of trailed units are well down.
The sales figures might look a little disappointing but the AEA points out that we’ve seen several very strong preceding years. It might be that the figures have returned to a more normal level and the AEA isn’t expecting sales to drop significantly over the second half of the year.
(Source – http://www.fwi.co.uk/articles/13/08/2013/140501/half-year-machinery-sales-down-10-on-2012.htm)