Farm Ireland

Friday 14 December 2018

Second-hand tractor imports outstrip new tractors sales for first time in 3 years

Eoghan MacConnell

Tractor dealers are responsible for the majority of used tractors being imported, as the number of imported second-hand tractor far exceeds new tractor sales for the first time in three years.

New figures from the CSO show 4,263 tractors were licensed for the first time in Ireland last year, with 2,453 of these imported while the remaining 1,810 were new tractors.

According to the latest statistics, the number of new tractors being licensed in Ireland has gradually declined in recent years, dropping from 1934 in 2016 to 1,810 in 2017.

According to Farm Tractor and Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA) CEO Gary Ryan, the figures are more reflective of trade activity and changing market demands than a surge in private imports.

In contrast, the numbers of used tractors being licensed in Ireland for the first time (ie used imports) have risen from 1,908 in 2016 and 2,453 in 2017.

“It is mainly trade activity with Irish dealers sourcing used imports for resale here.

“In 2015 there were 1,735 used imports which was considerably less than the long-term annual average. Sterling was strong, which impacted, as did the fact that sales of new tractors in the UK were in decline for a couple of years which reduced the supply of second hands.

"Brexit changed that with a weakened Sterling and an upturn of new tractor sales in the UK increasing the supply of used machines. In 2016 there were 2,200 used imports with the bulk coming after the Brexit vote - last year the figure rose to 2,750 units,” stated Mr Ryan.

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He said that most farmers are happier to get used imports through local dealers rather than trying to source them on their own. 

“As a trade association we would obviously encourage customers to deal with a local FTMTA member who will be there to support their farming business for the long term,” he stated.

He said that the weakness of Sterling will put pressure on the supply of UK used imports in the long term as nearly all tractors sold in the UK are Eurozone imports.

“The exchange rate will make these new tractors more expensive which will eventually be reflected in the price of second hands there."

Mr Ryan said that “average horse power continues to increase and this has the impact of reducing the number of tractors sold somewhat - as an industry we differ from the motor trade in that we effectively sell horse power rather than units. The growth in popularity on farms of telehandlers and dedicated farm loaders also impacts on new tractor sales.

The latest CSO statistics show over a third, or 1,605 of the 4,263 newly licensed tractors in 2017 went to Munster counties, with Cork alone accounting for 601 tractors in 2017.

The top five counties for newly licensed tractors in 2017 were Cork (601), Tipperary (301), Galway (264), Mayo (242) and Wexford (217).

New and used tractors licensed for the first time in 2017 by county in order of decreasing volume:  Cork 601 (241 new; Tipperary 301 (149  new); Galway 264 (112  new); Mayo 242 (90 new); Wexford 217 (119 new); Clare 199; Limerick 186; Meath 186; Kerry 186; Kilkenny 176; Donegal 173; Roscommon 152; Offaly 142; Laois 141; Cavan 136; Kildare 135; Waterford 132; Westmeath 110; Carlow 91; Monaghan 94; Wicklow 86; Dublin 76; Sligo 71; Louth 64; Leitrim 54; and Longford 48.

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