Farmers face wait of six months for fodder equipment
A SIX-MONTH wait for delivery of new diet feeders is being reported as the continuing fodder problems drive demand for winter feed equipment.
The lift in sales is a direct result of farmers utilising mixer wagons and straw blowers to stretch out limited on-farm fodder and bedding reserves. This equipment also enables farmers to incorporate new rations into their mixed feeds.
Pat Kenny of IAM Machinery in Kilkenny said sales of winter feeding equipment have been extremely strong for a number of months due to the fodder crisis, with farmers having to wait until March next year for delivery of new diet feeders.
“Normally business wouldn’t start for diet feeders until after the Ploughing Championships, but this year by the end of July we had already started selling feeders. We are virtually out of them already,” Mr Kenny said.
Machinery sales are generally holding up despite the impact this summer’s drought and continuing fodder shortages have had on farm incomes.
Although sales of farmer-spec mowers and rakes have taken a hit this year, new tractor registrations are running close to last year’s levels.
Close to 1,500 tractors have been sold so far this year, according to the latest statistics from the Farm Tractor and Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA).
The figures, which include tractor sales up to the end of August, are 2pc back on the same period last year.
FTMTA boss Gary Ryan said 2018 tractor sales have rallied in the second half of this year as farmers bought new 182-registered tractors in July.
However, this came after a very slow start to the year, with tractor sales to the end of January running some almost 30pc back on 2017 figures.
Despite the downturn in farm-spec mowers and rakes, Mr Ryan said sales of bigger butterfly-type silage mowers and large tedders — typically bought by silage contractors — have been far stronger.
Contractors have also been buying plenty of self-propelled silage harvesters in 2018, with total sales of 31 units this year.
These are hugely expensive machines , typically costing around €300,000 apiece, and the worry now is how contractors will be able to meet repayments if, as anticipated, cashflow difficulties materialise as the winter progresses and farmers delay settling their contractor bills.
Sales of slurry spreading equipment has been steady rather than spectacular, according to Eibhlin Murphy of Mayo-based Major Equipment International.