EU regulation of tractors and farm machinery needs to undergo ‘a veritable U-turn’, according to a new study published by the European Agricultural Machinery Industry Association (CEMA) in Brussels this week.

The study analysed major trends and drivers that have shaped Europe’s farm machinery industry in recent years.

It found that, in terms of their structural set-ups and commercial realities, the tractor and automotive sectors are not comparable but, in fact, follow opposite trends.

The time has come for a major change in the way the farm machinery industry is being regulated by the EU, it found.

According to the study, EU regulation for farm machines’ needs:

  • To recognise and understand the structural specificities and drivers of the sector;
  • To abandon the distorted and harmful logic of using an automotive-based regulatory approach for tractors and farm machines;
  • To adopt a forward-looking regulatory approach that allows the European farm machinery industry to define its own technical standards and move towards more self-certification.

Gilles Dryancour, author of the study and Chairman of CEMA’s Public Policy Group (PPG), said there needs to be a veritable U-turn in terms of EU regulation to ensure European manufacturers of farm machinery – both big and small – can remain successful in Europe and beyond.

"Looking ahead, the agronomic, environmental and societal case for more innovative, advanced farm machines is clearly there: farmers will need them to work their land in more productive, sustainable and profitable ways and feed a growing world population.

"EU regulation should do its best to support this transformative journey in farming and farm machinery in the years ahead and turn it into a success story for Europe. The industry stands ready to help in the process."

CEMA is the European association representing the agricultural machinery industry. The industry represented by CEMA includes 4,500 manufacturers of agricultural equipment employing directly 135,000 persons and indirectly in the distribution and service network another 125,000 persons.

The companies are mainly small and medium-sized manufacturers according to the EU definition and in 2014 had a total turnover of €27 billion.