Tractor sales for the first half of 2019 are down by 5% from the previous year but fell by a sharp 13% in the month of June. Tractor sales are a traditional indicator of farmers’ confidence to invest in their businesses.

The Agricultural Engineers’ Association (AEA) reports that 6,198 units of 50 horsepower and above were registered in January – June 2019, a 5.1% drop on the same period of 2018. The June 2019 total was down by 12.9% to 1,034 units.

But the AEA notes that first half 2018 was exceptionally high – in fact the latest six-monthly figure is the highest since 2014 save for 2018.

Farmers appear to be opting for smaller machines – sales of machines over 240hp fell by 11%, while those over 280hp fell by more than a quarter. There is evidence that sales of these larger machines were recovering in the second quarter after a slow start.

By region, the drop registrations affected most of England and Wales, save from the Home Counties and East Anglia. But sales were up in Scotland and Northern Ireland.