A total of 158,100 new agricultural tractors were registered within Europe in 2023, 4.9% less than in 2022 according to a recent report issued by CEMA (the association representing the European agricultural machinery industry).

Of these 158,100 registrations, CEMA considers 26,200 (17%) to be 50hp and below. Meanwhile, the remaining 131,900 (83%) are said to be over 50hp.

However, this 4.9% decline is only slightly below the average number registered in the last five years. Looking closer at the year that was, the number of machines registered in the first half of the 2023 was only marginally lower than the same period during 2022. The decline was instead sharper in the second half of the year.

The report cites that one of the main reasons as to why tractor registrations held up so well during the first half of 2023 was because manufacturers were catching up on a backlog of orders as a result of disruptions to global supply chains during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Although farm inputs had come back on the highs of 2022, they were (and still are) above 2021 and before, all of which had a negative impact on farmers’ willingness to invest during the latter half of 2023.

Higher horsepower

While 2023 European tractor registrations were lower, it wasn’t the same for all power bands. The highest power bands, machines above 175hp (132kW) saw strong growth, with registrations of these larger tractors up by 12% year on year.

In contrast, 13% fewer tractors were registered between 80-175hp (60-132kW), although this range still made up almost half of the agricultural tractors registered in 2023. There was also a small decline in the number of tractors under 80hp (60kW) registered.

However, the figures quoted underestimate the total size of the market for low-powered tractors, as not all of them will be used on the road, meaning that they do not need to be registered in some countries.

Country by country

Not all countries recorded a decline in registrations in 2023. The two largest markets, France and Germany, both recorded small increases. That meant their combined share of European registrations increased to 41%.

The United Kingdom also recorded slightly higher registrations than in 2022. In contrast, registrations were lower in the other four top markets - Italy, Poland, Spain and Austria.

Focusing on the three largest markets, France recorded 36,396 new registrations, 2% more than in 2022. Germany recorded a total of 28,881 agricultural tractor registrations which was fairly unchanged to the 2022 at 0.4% of an increase. Italy recorded 12.8% fewer year on year registrations at 17,534.

Closer to home, the Irish and UK markets arguably both held their own. Ireland recorded a 2.6% drop on 2022 while the UK recorded a 2.4% increase in new tractor registrations.

The markets hit the hardest were Moldova, Hungary and Lithuania, each recording respective registrations declines of -37.8% (995 units), -31.8% (2793 units)and -26.9% (1014 units).

Respectively, these markets are considerably smaller than the likes of Germany and France.