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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, 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 2020 is estimated at between £1.8-£1.9 billion. This is around 5% lower than in 2019, as a larger drop in unit sales, due to a combination of Covid-19 and weather-related challenges, was partly 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
2015-2019
20192020% change
2019-2020
2020 % diff from
5-year average
Agricultural tractors (over 50hp)11,38112,04010,380-14-9
 Telehandlers3,180
3,6002,900-19-9
Tractor loaders3,3503,2502,980-8-11
Ploughs680525550+5-19
Power harrows940810840+4-11
Sprayers810810500-38-38
Utility ATVs7,3407,6007,500-1+2
Utility vehicles (side x sides)6,1006,3005,800-9-6
Mowers/mower conditoners2,8903,1002,600-16-10
Seasonal year5-season
average
14/15 - 18/19
2018/192019/20% change
18/19-19/20
2019/20 diff from
5-year average
Combines567580515-11-9
Self propelled foragers
167183157-14-6
Round balers1,0201,040930-11-9
Big square balers
230250185-26-19

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 agricultural machinery exports were worth around £1.63 billion in 2020, a fall of 9% compared with 2019. Over half of the total was made up of tractor exports (including used tractors), the value of which also dropped by 9% year on year. Excluding tractors and tractor engines, other farm equipment exports were valued at £448 million, while sales of outdoor power equipment were down by 19% to £154 million.

UK imports were also lower in 2020, falling by 11% to £1.78 billion. Imports of all types of farm equipment declined, compared with 2019, but outdoor power equipment imports rose by 10%.  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, 2020)Change 2019-20Value (£ million, 2020) Change 2019-20
Tractors956.9-9%666.0-10%
Mowers for lawns, parks and sport grounds145.9-21%212.4+9%
Harvesting and threshing machinery178.9-3%414.1-10%
Soil preparation and cultivation machinery83.3-21%173.3-12%
Engines for tractors73.1+14%28.6-55%
Other agricultural and forestry machinery 186.8-8%203.8-22% 
Other outdoor power equipment7.8+62%88.9+13%
Total1,632.6-9%1,787.2-10% 

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).