Farm Ireland

Monday 22 January 2018

FTMTA: €20m is splashed on new combines

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Irish tillage farmers have splashed out more than €20m on new combine harvesters so far this year, despite substantially lower grain prices in 2013.

Some 75 new combines, costing between €150,000 and €475,000 each, have been registered in the first eight months of 2013.

At an average value of €275,000, the combines account for total sales of €20.6m.

New figures released by the Farm Tractor and Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA) show that 2013 combine sales are running close to the 2012 record of 78 combines.

FTMTA chief executive Gary Ryan described the combine figures as "remarkable."

The sales are almost double the five-year average prior to 2011, when around 40 machines were sold annually.

Mr Ryan maintained that the awful spring weather was a key driver behind the higher sales.

"A lot of the higher sales seem to have been driven by people looking at the terrible spring and fearing a repeat of last year's harvest, which all had to be done in one week basically," he said. "In the event of a repeat, they wanted bigger and faster machines to get through it."

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Mr Ryan added that Irish combine buyers in 2013 had continued to switch to four-wheel drive and tracked machines, which was another indicator that weather and ground conditions are affecting buyer behaviour.

"I would say about 75pc of the machines sold this year were either four-wheel drive or tracked," he remarked.

Meanwhile it appears the Government's attempt to boost car sales by introducing '131' and '132' registration plates was responsible for tractor sales plummeting in June this year and subsequently soaring in July.

Registration figures from the FTMTA show that June tractor sales fell by 41pc to 80 tractors compared to the same month last year. They subsequently rose by 50pc in July 2013 compared to July 2012.

"There were 225 new tractors registered in July, a 50pc increase year on year," said Mr Ryan.

Total tractor sales up to the end of July were 1,499 units, some 4pc lower than the same period last year. By comparison, tractor sales in the rest of Europe are lagging 10pc behind last year.

Weather also affected sales of silage and hay equipment such as mowers, rake and balers this year.

"The spring was so poor and the season so late that grass customers did not want to commit," explained Mr Ryan. "That said, they are still cutting silage now and will continue as late as possible to rebuild the fodder stocks so grass equipment has continued to sell right through the summer."

Self-propelled forage harvesters have picked up somewhat, with 22 new machines registered. In recent years, forager sales have languished down around 15 units per year after peaking at 30-plus in the mid 2000s.

Irish Independent