2018: Rise of the machines Derek Casey
Asks five leaders from the Irish machinery trade how 2017 will be remembered and about the outlook for the year ahead
I think that overall it has been quite a good year for the trade and certainly far better than might have been expected in the earlier months. As of the end of November, registrations of new tractors stood at 1,765 units which, while still a 5pc decrease year on year, is a considerable improvement on the position at the end of March when registrations for the first quarter were 17pc less than they had been at the same point in 2016. We were then coming off the back of a difficult period in terms of milk price. Sales of most categories of implements have proved resilient in recent years, particularly in relation to grass equipment of all types. 2017 has been a very positive year despite the negativity and difficulties in grain prices and somewhat unseasonable weather in some areas. It started extremely slow with business levels quite stagnant but once we got the better summer type weather business soared with the majority of business completed late in the spring and early summer close to silage season. Business was definitely led by the dairy sector where we are seeing good on-farm prices. And this has given rise to confidence as we are seeing many buyers purchasing machines earlier now for delivery in 2018 summer. Tillage machinery business in 2017 was helped by the much needed TAMS II scheme.