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Industry Facts

On this page you can find some key facts about the UK markets for farm equipment and outdoor power equipment, along with information about exports of agricultural engineering products from the UK.

Farm Equipment

As the name suggests, the farm equipment industry provides a range of machinery used by farmers. AEA members primarily supply equipment for use in the field, typically either to support the growing of crops or for the management of grassland and other fodder crops to feed animals.

The AEA estimates that the value of sales of agricultural machinery in the UK reached more than £2.4 billion in 2022. That is 11% higher than in 2021 and up by nearly a third since 2020. Most of the rise in the latest year was due to higher prices as, in common with all businesses, machinery manufacturers faced increased costs for materials, components and labour. There were mixed trends in terms of the number of machines of different kinds sold during the year but the market was slightly smaller than in 2021 overall.

The table below covers some of the main categories of equipment and shows the estimated size of the UK market for new equipment, in terms of the number of units delivered annually. Figures for tractors are based on registrations for road use. More details of tractor registrations can be found on the Tractor Statistics page. Figures for harvesting machinery are provided for seasonal years (running from September of one year to August of the next). For combine and forager harvesters, they are based on retail orders placed, not deliveries. Due to supply chain disruptions, not all orders placed in the 2021/22 season were delivered during the same season. The extended lead times involved meant some orders for machines to be delivered in 2022/23 would also have been placed earlier than usual. Therefore, the figures for both of those years may not give a true picture of the demand for machines, particularly for combine harvesters.

Size of UK farm equipment market (number of units)

Calendar year5-year average
2017-2021
20212022% change
2021-2022
2022 % diff from
5-year average
Agricultural tractors (over 50hp)11,67512,01711,580-4-1
Telehandlers3,415
3,7503,830+2+12
Sprayers700530620+17-11
Tractor loaders3,4903,9903,510-12+1
Ploughs650660480-27-26
Power harrows9501020900-12-5
Grain drills730860870+1+19
Fertiliser distributors2,0302,1402,060-4+1
Mowers/mower conditoners2,9853,0002,970-1-1
Tedders1,7001,4601,690+16=
Hay rakes1,4101,4601,370-6-3
Utility ATVs7,2907,1006,850-4-6
Utility vehicles (side x sides)6,1005,8007,200+25+18
Seasonal year5-season
average
17/18 - 21/22
2021/222022/23% change
21/22-22/23
2022/23 diff from
5-year average
Combines575670500-25-13
Self propelled foragers
172167148-11-14
Round balers1040950700-26-33
Big square balers
2402552550+6

Outdoor Power Equipment

The total domestic market for outdoor power equipment has been estimated at around £940 million in 2022, 2% lower than the previous year. In 2021, the industry enjoyed exceptionally high sales volumes despite supply chain disruptions and delays. The industry was still looking at strong levels of order placing in the early part of 2022 and volume sales in the first half of the year showed a positive trend for most product segments. However, the second half of the year provided an unprecedented steep decline in demand that was not only induced by the economic and political turbulence that most industries were facing but also by the weather. Summer 2022 was the driest this century and the 4th warmest on record.

Despite a 10% decline in comparison to the previous year, consumer lawnmower sales reached 1.45 million units. Within domestic riding lawncare, it was the petrol ride-on and out-front volume that declined steeper that the market. Domestic (front engine) garden tractors declined at a similar rate to the overall market, while zero-turn petrol mowers increased by 7%. Following the long term trend to electrification, for the first time hybrid and battery driven equipment represented over 5% of the total segment.

Equally, the battery-driven segment within walk-behind mowers grew most strongly (+30% in comparison to 2021), to the detriment of petrol (-27%) and corded units (-15%). In 2022, for the first time this technological shift meant more battery-driven units were sold into the market than petrol walk-behinds.

Robotic mowers showed single-digit growth and their share of the overall market is significantly lower in the UK than in other north European countries.

In 2022, the overall volume of commercial mowers remained at similar levels to 2021. Although compact tractor sales by AEA members were similar to the two previous years, sub-compact tractors lost their gains from 2021. Diesel commercial units, mid-mounted as well as out-front, were equally on similar levels to the previous year.

After unprecedently high sales of handheld outdoor power tools in 2021, it was expected that 2022 volumes would be subdued as households emerged from lockdowns and were able to resume their travels to their preferred holiday destinations, spending less time in their gardens and surrounding green spaces.

Lawncare handheld equipment like lawn trimmers and brush-cutters saw increased sales in the first half of the year but declining demand in the warmer summer months. Overall, the segment declined in single figures. The remaining outdoor power handheld segments, such as hedge trimmers, chainsaws and garden vacs declined at double digit percentage rates as their demand peaks in autumn were subdued. Hedge-trimmers lost almost a third of their 2021 volume and chainsaws almost a quarter. Garden vacs and blowers declined by 8%.

Although the market share of battery-driven products continues to increase and is now over 38% of the total, overall volumes declined this year due to supply chain issues. Petrol and corded units declined at a similar rate to the overall market, being down by 18%.

Exports and Imports

Latest figures from HMRC show that UK exports of agricultural engineering equipment were worth nearly £2.2 billion in 2022, 30% more than in 2021. Shipments in the two previous years were reduced, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and exporters getting used to the new trading relationship with the European Union. By 2022, these factors were largely behind us and trade was back in full swing. The value of exports was boosted by higher prices but the scale of the increase shows that the number of machines being shipped was also significantly higher than in 2021.

As usual, tractors (and tractor engines) made up around two-thirds of total exports by value. Tractor exports were up 42%, compared with 2021, with strong growth throughout the year as the supply chain disruptions caused by Covid-19 began to ease. Exports of other farm equipment grew less strongly but, nevertheless, they were worth 13% more than the previous year. Overseas sales of outdoor power equipment rose at a similar rate.

Exports to both the European Union and non-EU markets grew strongly, with both showing similar rates of increase. As a result, there was little change in the share of exports going to the EU, which stood at around 60%. The United States remained the single biggest market for UK machinery exports and shipments were worth nearly half as much again as in 2021. Australia and South Africa were among other non-EU countries to see strong growth but, for obvious reasons, exports to Ukraine dropped by more than half.

Imports grew equally strongly in 2022, with a year-on-year increase of 31% to £2.7 billion. As with exports, higher prices made a key contribution to that rise but were not enough to explain all of the growth. A higher proportion of imports came from the EU, from where there was an increase of around 40%, compared with a rise of about 20% in imports from outside the EU.

UK imports and exports of agricultural engineering products

ExportsImports
Product categoryValue (£ million, 2022)Change 2021-22Value (£ million, 2022) Change 2021-22
Tractors1,355.3+42%928.5+34%
Mowers for lawns, parks and sport grounds164.6+12%291.3+16%
Harvesting and threshing machinery227.3+17%515.9-2%
Soil preparation and cultivation machinery116.3+24%307.0+54%
Engines for tractors62.7+6%96.0+304%
Other agricultural and forestry machinery 230.2+6%432.5+80%
Other outdoor power equipment4.4+3%99.2-7%
Total2,160.8+30%2,670.4+31%

Source: Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs
Please note that all the figures in this section exclude some categories of machinery which the data do not allow to be separately identified (e.g. ATVs, telehandlers).