Ploughing money into tractors

UK sales of agricultural tractor have risen by more than a quarter on the year during the first half of 2021.

And despite registrations in Scotland lagging behind the rest of the UK, the figure here was still above 20 per cent – marking a substantial increase on the year.

The most rapid growth across the UK was in the 120-150hp range, where registrations were up by nearly two-thirds, compared with the first half of last year.

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The Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA), which gathers the statistics, said that growth had been seen across all regions of the UK - although in the West Midlands and South East/Home Counties the year-on-year rise was less than 10 per cent

The strongest increase had been in the East Midlands where registrations nearly doubled from the same period last year. Northern Ireland also saw an increase of over 60 per cent, while Wales mirrored Scotland in recording a 20 per cent rise.

The upturn marked a recovery from the sector’s woes during 2020, especially during the early months of the Covid 19 pandemic. In the first half of that year production plants across Europe were temporarily closed and even where they stayed open, supply chains were disrupted, said AEA economist Stephen Howarth.

“The market would probably have been challenging anyway, given the effect of extreme weather in late 2019 and early 2020 on farming activities.”

While there had been some recovery as 2020 progressed, with a 24 per cent fall across the first seven months, total sales for the year remained 14 per cent back on 2019 figures.

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