Farm Ireland

Friday 15 December 2017

Used tractor imports soar by massive 75% in January

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

It's been a testing few years for the machinery trade and in particular tractor sales.

As the British pound continues its post-Brexit slide, increasing numbers of Irish buyers are travelling north in search of tractor deals.

This can been seen in the statistics with imports of used tractors increasing from 1,787 in 2015 to 1,905 last year.

In January, CSO figures show that used tractor imports up a staggering 75%. Some 221 used tractors were imported last month, compared to 126 in January 2016.

Meanwhile, new tractor sales continue to decline with figures from the CSO showing new tractor licences down 24% in January compared to last year.

Some 194 tractors were licenced last month, compared to 257 in the same month in 2016.

The figures come as tractor sales in Ireland fell to its lowest level since 2011 last year. Last year, some 1,937 new tractors were purchased falling from 1,986 in 2015 and 2186 in 2014.

Speaking to the Farming Independent recently Cathal Sweetman from D & S Machinery Ltd said he has found it very difficult going for a few years now as prices to farmers have been forced downwards.

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"What has really made it difficult is that the pressure has hit every sector of farming - milk, cattle, grain, potatoes and vegetables.

"It feels like there are too many people competing for too few sales, which results in overpriced trade ins and new tractors being sold with little or no margin.

"The other side of the coin is that tractors have increased in price due to engine emissions regulations and advances in electronics. This makes it harder for the average farmer to purchase a tractor."

While he acknowledged that no one can blame anyone for shopping around, Mr Sweetman urged farmers to think of the local dealer the next time they decide to buy a new tractor.

"The way sterling is going plenty are taking their business across the border or to Britain, resulting in Irish dealers being left with stock in their yards.

"I would remind farmers that when they support a local dealer they are guaranteed after sales support if something goes wrong.

"They are also supporting jobs, because the dealer will be employing mechanics who all needed training and who earn a living from the sector.

“The equipment, software and stock of spare parts - it comes at a cost."

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