The registration statistics issued by the Farm Tractor & Machinery Trade Association to cover the first half of 2018 show that while registrations of new tractors have stabilised somewhat they continue to lag behind the levels achieved in the same period of 2017.
A total of 1,100 new tractors were registered during the January to June period which is decrease of some 6 per cent on the same months in 2017. It is notable though that, in a repeat of last year’s registration pattern, the year started with a considerable drop which has recovered as time moves on.
The three counties with the highest levels of registrations to the end of June are Cork, Tipperary and Wexford with 158, 98 and 88 units registered respectively. A factor that has undoubtedly reduced demand for tractors somewhat over the years has been the move by many farmers to utilise a telehandler or a dedicated farm loader. Telehandler registrations have enjoyed a strong recovery in recent years with slightly over 300 units registered in each of 2017 and 2016. The final outcome for 2018 seems likely to be even higher with 226 units registered during the first six months which is a 29 per cent increase on the same point last year. While many of these machines are no doubt engaged in construction activity there is a clear increase in their prevalence in Irish agricultural also as farmers find them a valuable tool around the farmyard. Wheeled loaders have also seen a strengthening level of activity during 2018 with 78 units registered to the end of June as against 85 in all of last year.