Last month the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA) released the latest sales statistics for the UK, including the breakdown by brand for 2020.

Overall, total sales for tractors over 50hp in 2021 recovered from a low of 10,380 in 2020 to a much healthier 12,017 in 2021. This figure was still 23 units short of the 2019 total.

Spring sales boost

The improvement in sales was most marked during the spring with April, May, and June showing the biggest margin over the year before, as those farmers that had delayed purchasing came back to the market.

Massey Ferguson UK sales
Sales in 2021 showed a healthy recovery, only restrained by supply problems

The association is of the opinion that sales would have been higher still in 2021 if the machines had been available to buy. It is expecting a rise in early registrations for this year as dealers fulfill back orders.

However, despite the lower total number of individual tractors registered being slightly lower than 2019, the total power sold matched it at a fraction under two million horsepower.

On a regional basis, Northern Ireland showed the second greatest increase with a 36% climb. East Midlands saw a rise of 41% while Yorkshire actually fell by 1%. Most other regions enjoyed a 10-25% boost.

Sales by brand in the UK

Despite Brexit, the figures for sales by brand in the UK are still embargoed for a year by EU regulations, so we only get to learn of the 2020 results.

Company% market share 2019% market share 2020
John Deere28.126.5
CNH 2627.1
of which NH17.117.8
of which Case 8.99.2
- MF12.313.2
- Fendt6.87.5
- Valtra5.55.5
Same Deutz Fahr1.81.7
Agri Argo1.11.3
- McCormick0.80.9
- Landini0.40.4
Others 4.15.3
Total unit sales 13,54511,935
These figures are for all tractors sold, including those less than 50hp

John Deere loses UK top spot

Most notable from this table is that John Deere lost 1.6% of the market to just about everyone else. This translates to a decrease in sales of 634 units, 17% down on the previous year.

Yet this pales in comparison to the misfortunes of Claas which saw its sales plummet by 329 units or 42%. JCB also suffered, losing 91 sales, 30%, from 2019.

New Holland CNH
Sales of New Holland tractors declined less than the average for 2020

These figures must be seen against a backdrop of a 12% reduction in overall sales for 2020, suggesting that the 'winners' were those companies that suffered the smallest slide.

Fendt stands out in this regard, being just 2.5% down which equates to 23 units. Its stable mate, Massey Ferguson, also weathered the Covid-19 storm well, emerging only 5% down.

Fendt strong performance
Fendt was the clear winner in a falling market

This performance has allowed AGCO to catch up slightly on its arch rival CNH, although let down slightly by Valtra which saw a 13% drop in sales, which was directly in line with the national trend and meant that it at least maintained its market share.

Both companies will no doubt be taking some satisfaction from the anguish of John Deere, especially CNH, which actually topped the chart, while AGCO only missed out on beating the green machines by a fraction of a percentage point.

No longer the dark horse

There are probably many reasons being given for the strong performance of Fendt in the UK, but whatever lies behind its success, it is mirrored on the continent where the brand took third spot in both France and the Netherlands.

We will have to wait until next January to discover how the individual manufacturers recovered from 2020, a year dominated by supply shortages and strengthening commodity prices.