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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.

A more detailed description of the agricultural engineering market and the key factors which influence it, be they environmental, political or economic, can be found in our Overview of the Agricultural Engineering Market.

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, either to support the growing of crops or for the management of grassland and other fodder crops to feed animals.

The value of sales of new farm equipment in 2017 is estimated at just under £1.75 billion. This is around £250 million higher than in 2016, following an uplift in unit sales, a small increase in the size and power of machines and a modest rise in prices. Sales figures for used farm equipment are not available and neither are sales of parts. Therefore, the total size of the UK farm equipment market will have been substantially larger than this.

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.

Size of UK farm equipment market (number of units)

Calendar year5-year average
2011-2015
20162017% change
2016-2017
2017 diff from
5-year average
Agricultural tractors (over 50hp)12,06510,60212,033+13-0
 Telehandlers2,980
2,7003,100+15+4
Tractor loaders3,5403,2503,375+4-5
Ploughs860650790+22-8
Power harrows1,090900950+6-13
Sprayers880830780-6-12
Utility ATVs6,3607,050n/an/an/a
Utility vehicles (side x sides)5,4406,100n/an/an/a
Mowers/mower conditoners2,9002,5603,220+26+11
Seasonal year5-season
average
10/11 - 14/15
2015/162016/17% change
15/16-16/17
2016/17 diff from
5-year average
Combines7705305300-31
Self propelled foragers
160160135-16-16
Round balers1,2309001,000+11-19
Big square balers
270175225+29-18

Outdoor Power Equipment

The total domestic market for outdoor power equipment has been estimated at more than £710 million in 2016, an increase of 4% on the previous year. Figures for 2017 are not yet available.

The 2016 season for lawnmowers started slowly after an extremely wet winter but sales were relatively good for a year with an early Easter bank holiday. Volume sales ended up being 0.4% higher than the previous year at just under 1.7 million units. The overall value of lawnmower sales grew by 6%, partly due to consumers switching to higher priced cordless and autonomous robotic mower models and partly due to higher market prices set early in the year as a result of raw material cost pressures.

Sales of mowers are estimated to have been worth more than £250 million in total, with volumes in the region of 36,400 petrol ride-ons, more than 340,000 petrol pedestrian units and some 1.22 million electric units. In addition, there were about 7,000 commercial mowers valued at below £80 million and 2,700 compact and sub-compact tractors worth in the region of £40 million.

The value of sales of chainsaws, brush cutters/trimmers, hedge trimmers and garden vac/blowers is believed to have been around £250 million, of which 38% is attributed to electric units and the rest to petrol models.

Exports and Imports

Latest figures from HMRC show that UK agricultural machinery exports reached nearly £1.9 billion in 2017, a rise of 13% compared with 2016. Over half of the total was made up of tractor exports (including used tractors), the value of which rose by 14% year on year. Other farm equipment exports were valued at £531 million, up 17% on 2016, while sales of outdoor power equipment rose 3% to £250 million.

UK imports rose by a similar amount in 2017, to £2.1 billion, largely due to the improved domestic market conditions for farm machinery. A summary of trade for the main types of equipment can be found in the table below.

UK imports and exports of agricultural engineering products

 ExportsImports
Product categoryValue (£ million, 2017)Change 2016-17Value (£ million, 2017) Change 2016-17
Tractors 1,048.1 +14%664.9 +19% 
Mowers for lawns, parks and sport grounds177.8 -2%217.6 +3% 
Harvesting and threshing machinery176.0 -1%510.6 +6% 
Engines for tractors101.0 +40%77.5 +123% 
Soil preparation and cultivation machinery91.2+27%158.8 +15% 
Handtools60.3 +9%228.6 -0% 
Engines for outdoor power equipment11.5 +111%44.3 +6% 
Other agricultural machinery 162.7 +25%227.4 +23% 
Total 1,865.7 +13%2,129.9 +13% 

Source: Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs
Please note that the list of products included in the table and analysis above is different from that used in previous years. This is due to some changes to the classification used by HMRC along with a reassessment of the codes relevant to the agricultural engineering sector. The figures exclude some categories of machinery which the data do not allow to be separately identified (e.g. ATVs, telehandlers).