Tractor sales spiked across Europe in late 2017…but why?

How are sales of new tractors faring across Europe? CEMA – an umbrella body representing the agricultural machinery manufacturing industry across Europe – has compiled a report, which reveals some interesting trends.

In total, 161,235 new agricultural tractors were registered across 30 European countries in 2017. This means that the European tractor market grew by 12.8% in 2017 (compared with 2016).

This, says CEMA, represents a further increase from an already-high level.

The increase was largely due to a peak in registrations in December. Up to December, registrations were only up marginally. Higher sales were solely the result of more tractors below 50hp being sold, while demand for tractors above 50hp remained stable.

The main reason for this December peak was the introduction of new technical requirements for tractors at the start of 2018; these became mandatory on all new tractors on January 1 of this year.

Image source: Shane Casey
Known as the Tractor Mother Regulations (TMR), tractors not meeting these requirements needed to be registered (or placed on the market) before that date. Therefore, many tractors were registered towards the end of 2017; it is expected that registrations during early 2018 will be negatively impacted – as a consequence.

Comparing different power-bands shows that sales increased for most power ranges. However, sales of new tractors between 100 and 150hp decreased slightly. Registrations of large tractors (above 300hp) remained stable.

Almost all tractor markets in ‘CEMA countries’ experienced significant growth rates in 2017 – varying from 5.7% in Spain to 22.9% in Denmark. The French market was the only exception, with a 2.2% decrease in new tractor registrations.
Image source: Shane Casey

Without taking into account the peak in December, figures were still mostly positive. Up until the third quarter, all CEMA markets – except France, Germany and Austria – grew in comparison with the year before.

Country-by-country breakdown

According to CEMA, the French agricultural machinery market (as a whole) experienced a sharp decline in the first half of 2017. However, this was followed by strong growth in the second semester – resulting in a total increase in turnover of 2.1%.

The agricultural machinery market in Germany grew by approximately 9% in 2017. This was mainly due to a rise in tractor sales. For other agricultural machinery, demand only increased marginally.

In Italy, the agricultural machinery market experienced a substantial increase in 2017 in the demand for many types of products.

Sales there were partly encouraged by EU and national funding.

Demand in the UK during 2017 was higher for most agricultural equipment product groups. Only sprayers and grain drills experienced noticeable declines. Consequently, overall growth was witnessed.

The total Dutch market for agricultural machinery also grew in 2017 – compared with 2016 levels.

In Belgium the overall agricultural machinery market declined in 2017. Demand for balers and combine harvesters, for example, showed a noteworthy drop. In contrast, demand for sprayers, forage harvesters and mowers was relatively stable.

Image source: Shane Casey