The European farm machinery market is expected to return to growth again in 2017.

Sales expectations for most European countries are cautiously positive, according to CEMA – the European agricultural machinery industry body. CEMA’s ‘Business Barometer’ continues on a steady increase, having reached its highest value this month since 2012.

Notwithstanding the positive mood in the industry, the overall European tractor market still decreased slightly during the first quarter of 2017 – even if only by a mere 1.3%.

While first-quarter demand (compared with 2016) for tractors grew in Belgium (+4.9%), Denmark (+12.6%), Germany (+5.7%), Italy (+13.8%), Spain (+22.3%) and the UK (+26.4%), demand declined in Austria (-10.3%), the Netherlands (-2.3%) and France (-25.9%).


Image source: Shane Casey

Given the size of the French market, it was mostly due to the sharp decrease in France that the total European tractor market remained in the ‘negative’ in the first quarter of this year.

As an overall trend, sales of smaller tractors below 50hp and sales of larger tractors above 150hp are increasing. Demand for most power categories in between is weakening.


Image source: Shane Casey

Demand for balers, mowers, sprayers, combine and forage harvesters is also expected to decrease in 2017, according to the economic experts from CEMA’s national member associations.

Mixed outlook across Europe

For Europe’s two biggest markets, France and Germany, the overall outlook for agricultural machinery remains somewhat mixed.


In France, the market was 8% smaller in 2016 in comparison to 2015.

For some of 2017, it is expected that this trend will continue at a similar rate. The only machine market that is escaping this negative trend is that of forage harvesters.


Image source: Shane Casey


In Germany, the market for agricultural machinery experienced a 5% decrease in 2016. However, it now seems that the market is slowly bouncing back with a small increase expected for 2017. It is mostly the forage harvester and baler markets that are expected to increase. For all other machines, the market is stable or expected to grow – but only at a small rate.


The agricultural machinery market in Italy shows a steady decline since 2012, with a drop of 3.7% in 2016. For 2017, the market is expected to further decrease by 2.2%. The main reason is the slow replacement rate of tractors, due to low farming incomes.


As in 2016, the market in Spain is expected to grow in 2017. Higher growth rates are expected for sprayers, tillage equipment, seeders and planters. The Spanish tractor and agricultural trailer market is expected to grow at a lower rate.

United Kingdom

As expected, the Brexit decision has had an impact on the UK market. While the weakening of the pound improved the financial position of UK farmers, it made imported machinery more expensive.

2017 is expected to see a flattening of the UK’s agricultural machinery market after a 2% decline in 2016. The tractor market is expected to grow again from a 15-year low in 2016.

An improvement is also expected for seeders and feed mixer wagons, while the market for drills and tedders is decreasing after a strong 2016. For most other machine types, demand is expected to remain more or less stable.


Image source: Shane Casey


In the Netherlands, tractors and sprayers are the machine types for which demand is expected to be lower in 2017 – in comparison to 2016. For tractors, this is a continuation of the trend of recent years.

For mowers, balers, combine and forage harvesters a small increase in demand is expected. Overall, the Dutch market will likely remain stable.


The market in Belgium decreased in 2016, and a reasonably stable market is expected for 2017.

Demand for tractors was down by 3% and is expected to decline by approximately 10% this year. Next to the tractor market, most other machine types experienced a small decline in 2016 and are expected to drop slightly or remain stable in 2017.

The only exception is the forage harvester market, which looks set to grow slightly.


Meanwhile, in Austria, the market for agricultural machinery went up by 5.4% in 2016.