Farm Ireland

Friday 27 April 2018

Auto-steer 250hp tractor sales take off

John Deere's largest rated tractor, the 570hp 9670RT
John Deere's largest rated tractor, the 570hp 9670RT

Darragh MCCullough

Need a new tractor, and feeling flush?

How about a 570hp John Deere 9570 or the 598hp Challenger, both of which come in at a cool €440,000?

Meanwhile, the strongest rated tractor on the market - New Holland's 628hp T9.700- costs almost €30,000 less at €412,000.

While the sales of larger tractors continues to grow in Ireland, with 24 machines over 250hp sold last year, the most popular new tractor is in the 120-150hp bracket.

Fendt leads the way in terms of the most expensive machine in this range, with its 714 Vario costing an eye-watering €172,000, according to figures published in the latest Irish Farmers Monthly magazine.

At the other end of the scale, Belarus's 150hp 1523.3 is less than a quarter of the price at €37,250.

And for those looking for the cheapest tractor on the market, the 81hp Belarus 920 is hard to beat at €19,450.

A total of 24 new tractors over 250hp were sold in 2015, according to the FTMTA's chief executive, Gary Ryan.

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Tractor sales held up well in Ireland last year, dipping by just 3pc compared to the 15pc fall experienced in Britain.

John Deere and New Holland each have almost 20pc of the 1,900 tractors that are sold here annually. Massey Ferguson, Case IH and Claas make up another 35pc share.

However, trends vary, with Meath Farm Machinery, who trade in John Deeres, reporting a sales increase of nearly 30pc in 2015.

"The new range has really proven itself with customers at this stage. Even in the first couple of weeks of this year, we're up another 20pc," said joint owner, Ian Timmons.

He added that a big increase in the sales of tractors over 250hp.

"We sold six in the last year, and a 8345, which is rated for 400hp, to a local potato farmer in the last week," he said.

"Farmers are often trading in two tractors for one, not just because of the increased efficiency, but also because of the shortage of skilled drivers," said Mr Timmons.

He also noted an exponential increase in the sales of tractors with automated-steering systems.

"These systems can cost up to €16,000 on a tractor, so we were only selling about two or three a year up until last year.

"But they are fitted as standard on some of the tractors that are manufactured in the US, and when we let them out on farms for a trial here, they just don't come back.

"Last year we ended up selling 12 units, and I can't see it getting any less popular," said the Meath dealer.

Indo Farming