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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 2019 is estimated at just under £2 billion. This is around 3% higher than in 2018, as a drop in unit sales was offset by an 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
2014-2018
20182019% change
2018-2019
2019 diff from
5-year average
Agricultural tractors (over 50hp)11,60212,10212,333+2+6
 Telehandlers3,085
3,6753,600-2+17
Tractor loaders3,3903,7003,250-12-4
Ploughs780730525-28-33
Power harrows1,0001,140810-29-19
Sprayers825780810+4-2
Utility ATVs6,7006,7006,400-4-4
Utility vehicles (side x sides)5,7006,5006,000-8+6
Mowers/mower conditoners2,9003,0003,100+3+7
Seasonal year5-season
average
13/14 - 17/18
2017/182018/19% change
17/18-18/19
2018/19 diff from
5-year average
Combines610575580+1-5
Self propelled foragers
160180183+2+13
Round balers1,0701,0601,040-2-3
Big square balers
240240250+4+4

Outdoor Power Equipment

The total domestic market for outdoor power equipment has been estimated at around £750 million in 2018, slightly lower than the previous year.

2018 started promisingly for the industry, as many UK economic indicators reported growth, supported by a strong global economy. However, wintry conditions in late February and early March meant the ‘garden season’ started almost a month later than usual. Commercial customers also struggled as the wet conditions that followed led to water-logging in many green spaces. The latter part of spring brought more favourable conditions and order books started filling up again and hopes were expressed of market recovery, only to be dashed by the driest start to summer in modern times. Although a challenge for gardeners, groundsmen faced a challenge to reverse the damage to grass areas and repair dry, unstable soils speedily. In all, the 2018 season was much shorter than most years.

Sales to commercial markets were volatile on a monthly basis but finished the year with an increase of more than 4% in monetary terms. Unit deliveries of compact and sub-compact tractors built on increases in 2017, to advance by 4% and 20%, respectively. In contrast, markets for lawn/garden tractors, ride-on mowers, domestic lawnmowers and handheld garden tools all struggled in the face of the extreme weather conditions experienced during the year. For example, sales of mowers were valued at just under £325 million, including both commercial and domestic models, a decline of about £15 million on the year before.

Exports and Imports

Latest figures from HMRC show that UK agricultural machinery exports reached £1.8 billion in 2019, a fall of 6% compared with 2018. Over half of the total was made up of tractor exports (including used tractors), the value of which dropped by 7% year on year. Excluding tractors and tractor engines, other farm equipment exports were valued at £494 million, up 2% on 2018, while sales of outdoor power equipment were down by 11% to £190 million.

UK imports were marginally lower in 2019, at just under £2 billion. 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, 2019)Change 2018-19Value (£ million, 2019) Change 2018-19
Tractors1,048.5-7%740.0-6%
Mowers for lawns, parks and sport grounds184.9-11%195.4-4%
Harvesting and threshing machinery184.4-4%460.3+8%
Soil preparation and cultivation machinery105.8+10%196.3-1%
Engines for tractors64.0-22%63.0-30%
Other agricultural and forestry machinery 203.9+4%262.4+12% 
Other outdoor power equipment4.8-4%78.7-2%
Total1,796.3-6%1,996.1-1% 

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