01 Mar 2021

So what does the last year’s tractor registration data reveal?

The Agricultural Engineering Association (AEA) published the final agricultural tractor registration figures for 2020.

It includes the breakdown of registrations by region and power band. Almost all parts of the UK saw a decline in registrations between 2019 and 2020. According to the report, only the South East of England saw a fractional rise in registrations.

However, the rate of decline was smaller in the North of England and Wales than elsewhere. The sharpest fall was in the Home Counties, with the South West and Northern Ireland also seeing declines of more than 20%, compared with 2019.

The decline in registrations was seen across most of the power range, apart from the top and bottom. There was a small rise in the number of compact tractors (50hp and under) being registered and there was also a rise among machines at the other end of the range; 25% more trac-tors over 320hp were registered in 2020 than in 2019.

There was a modest fall among machines over 200hp but all broad power bands below that level (and above 50hp) saw year-on-year falls of 15-20%.

The rise in registrations at the top end of the power range meant that the aver-age power of agricultural tractors registered during the year topped 170hp for the first time, reaching 171.0hp.

That represents a rise of nearly 30hp, compared with a decade ago. Including compact tractors in the calculation brings the average for all machines down to 153.4hp

 Tractor reg per regions

 Tractor reg per powers

There were 10,380 new tractor registrations in 2020, compared with 12,040 in 2019.

Most of the year-on-year decline took place between April and July, when supply chains were adversely affected by Covid-19 disruptions, according to the AEA.

Between April and July 2020, there were 3,520 new tractors sold, compared with 5,400 during the same period in 2019.

However, for the final five months of the year, registrations were 11% higher than in August to December 2019, and from September onwards volumes were slightly above the average of recent years.

Although the number of tractors sold in 2020 was down on the previous three years, it is similar to levels recorded in 2015 and 2016.

Strong demand ahead

Stephen Howarth, AEA agricultural economist, said a combination of poor weather in early 2020 and Covid-19 disruption in April and May slowed the market during the first six months of the year.

“Once we were through the weather issues in particular, the market picked up and that has been reflected in the stronger registrations toward the back end of 2020,” he said.

“What we’ve been hearing in recent months is that the market has remained quite strong and, therefore, we would expect to see registrations being quite strong in the early part of this year.”

But Mr Howarth said further into the year was difficult to forecast.

“After that, a lot will depend on external factors such as the impact of leaving the EU and the challenges that will bring for our members and the agricultural industry more generally.”