Green shoots as combine harvester sales double
The tumbleweed may have been blowing across the forecourts of some car dealerships last year but tractor sales bucked the recessionary trend by jumping 23 per cent.
The news was even better for combine harvester vendors, who saw sales doubling from 40 to 80 machines in the past year. Just 17 combine harvesters were sold in 2010. The most popular combines cost from €200,000 to €450,000.
Some 1,893 new tractors were sold last year while new car sales were down by 12 per cent during the same period. Tractor sales in 2011 reached 1,543, while 1,315 were sold in 2010. The price range of the most popular models is from about €55,000 to €100,000.
The Farm Tractor and Machinery Trade Association, which represents the farm machinery industry, said the increase in sales was very welcome after some tough years. Tractor sales fell by 75 per cent between 2008 and 2010, according to the association’s chief executive, Gary Ryan .
“2010 was the worst level of sales of tractors in Ireland in 40 years,” he said. “These figures are good and they show recovery but we need more of it.”
He said the average number of tractors sold over the past 25 years was about 2,000 a year. During the boom years, sales were boosted by the construction industry as builders bought high-spec tractors and traded them in regularly.
Mr Ryan attributed last year’s rise in sales to a growing confidence in the farming sector and said the signs were good for the coming year if inquiries were anything to go by. He said there was a long lead-in to these purchases and it often took six months from the initial inquiry to delivery of the vehicle.
Farm incomes rose by almost one-third in 2011, when farmers would have been making inquiries about last year’s purchases.