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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). They are based on retail orders placed, not completed sales. Due to supply chain disruptions, not all orders placed in the 2021/22 season were delivered during the same season, so the figures for that year may not give a full picture of the market, particularly for combine harvesters.

Size of UK farm equipment market (number of units)

Calendar year5-year average
20212022% change
2022 % diff from
5-year average
Agricultural tractors (over 50hp)11,67512,01711,580-4-1
Tractor loaders3,4903,9903,510-12+1
Power harrows9501020900-12-5
Grain drills730860870+1+19
Fertiliser distributors2,0302,1402,060-4+1
Mowers/mower conditoners2,9853,0002,970-1-1
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
16/17 - 20/21
2020/212021/22% change
2021/22 diff from
5-year average
Self propelled foragers
Round balers975875800-9-18
Big square balers

Outdoor Power Equipment

The total domestic market for outdoor power equipment has been estimated at around £780 million in 2019, up 4% from the previous year. Figures for the value of the market in 2020 are not yet available.

As all other sectors, the OPE industry had to deal with serious challenges in 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Undoubtedly the most significant of these occurred in early spring, at the height of the grass growing season, with the announcement of the first UK lockdown. Government instructions to work from home if possible, and ideal spring weather conditions drew many homeowners to their gardens. At the same time service dealers had to close their show rooms and repair shops. The industry rose to the challenge with manufacturers keeping factories in operation adhering to health and safety restrictions, and many dealers increasing their online presence, order & collect, and delivery facilities to satisfy customer demand. By the end of May most dealers had modified their premises and could trade with social distancing measures in place. The weather in the summer months supported grass growth, and as the UK emerged from the lockdown and the economy restarted, the impact on commercial sales eased.

Despite the upturn of lawnmower sales after April, it was not sufficient to match the sales of the previous year. The market volume for lawncare overall is expected to have been 4% smaller than in 2019. Sales of handheld powered garden tools benefitted from the increased consumer focus on their outdoor space, with 15% year on year growth recorded, with much of the increase coming from cordless units. The commercial side of our industry suffered the most, with golf and other sports facilities closed for long periods as well as local authorities redirecting their staff and efforts to support combating the pandemic. AEA surveys showed that sales declined by a quarter in comparison to 2019.

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

Product categoryValue (£ million, 2022)Change 2021-22Value (£ million, 2022) Change 2021-22
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%

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).