The tractor and machinery industry is welcoming a challenge by the Minister of Agriculture to train New Zealanders rather than continue relying on seasonal migrant workers.
Retail sales in all categories were 4640 units sold during 2018 – up 14% on 2017 (4079). (In the dairy boom year -- 2014 -- sales were 4062.)
A breakdown of the figures shows the sub-60hp category had 1227 sales (+23% on 2017), the key 60-120hp sector had 1505 (+4.5%) and 120-250hp had 1753 (+14.5%). The high horsepower (250hp+) prime movers moved the most -- 156 units (+50%) eclipsing 104 sales in 2017.
TAMA president John Tulloch says the trend is likely to continue into 2019 provided there is no sudden global impact or bad weather.
UK new tractor registrations were 12,102, about 1% higher than in 2017. But December 2018 saw a 38% decrease on the same month in 2017. December 2017 many pre-registrations to beat new regulations imposed by the European Union.
Sales in Ireland were largely static, reports the Farm Tractor & Machinery Trade Association: 1762 units were registered in 2018 versus 1796 in 2017 (-2%).
In a larger view, the Agrievolution Alliance released numbers for 2017 showing sales of 2.1 million tractors -- 13% higher than the 1.9m sold the previous year. China and India combined sold one million units -- 490,000 and 600,00 tractors respectively.
US tractor sales were up 4% at 220,00 units. Europe sales were up 13% at 190,000 tractors, with major increases in the key markets of France and Germany.