Farm Ireland

Wednesday 16 January 2019

'Farmers are postponing buying €85,000 tractors as impact of Brexit looms'

A new tractor would cost around €85,000, plus VAT. (stock picture)
A new tractor would cost around €85,000, plus VAT. (stock picture)
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Farmers are holding off making serious machinery investments on their farms at the moment, in light of Brexit uncertainty, according to Gary Ryan.

Ryan, the Chief Executive of the Farm Tractor and Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA) said that now is the time of the year where farmers look at making investments for the following year.

"However, farmers are postponing big decisions at the moment. A new tractor would cost around €85,000, plus VAT," he said and machinery dealers who would usually see this level of activity in the market have said that farmers are holding off on these decisions.

Farmers, he said, have a lot of fodder for this winter, but many also have big bills that have to be paid.

"And these farmers are thinking 'I have a tractor already...I'll keep it for another year." This, he said, is good news for the machinery parts industry, but reflects the growing uncertainty around Brexit.

Ryan was talking at the launch of a Genfitt report on performance trends in the Irish agricultural sector, which found that while weather had the biggest impact on the sector this year, the majority of respondents said that Brexit would have the biggest impact in 2019.

The report also said that while the fodder crisis may have diverted spend, cash is still available and incentivised to use on investments such as machinery and tractors.

"Young farmers are buying bigger, more powerful tractors. The question is, is this necessity or just vanity," it asks.

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One respondent said "Farmers (are) facing big bills for fodder and new buildings. (I) will not have money to spend freely."

The report also said the lack of second-hand tractors is a big issue. "In previous years it was significantly easier to find a good, consistent stock from the UK. Now supply has reduced significantly, so the issue is; repair with parts, invest in new or even lease?"

Respondents said that Brexit, credit control and weather would be the three key issues facing this in 2019, with the report stating that 'overall, people are cautious about 2019, but prepared for what might be ahead'.

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