Manufacturers are reporting an easing of lead times for the delivery of new slurry tankers with LESS equipment.

At the beginning of January 2022, an Irish Farmers Journal survey showed that buyers were waiting from nine to 12 months for new orders to arrive, with delivery times for higher specification custom-built machines running at up to 14 months.

Lead time waiting lists now are considerably lower and are running from four weeks to five months.

The delayed approval of TAMS applications, an element of uncertainty in the industry, high finance rates, and the fact so many machines have been supplied to the market in recent years have led to the reduced demand.

The Irish Farmers Journal spoke to four manufacturers this week about current trends in the market.

Frank Flynn, Redrock Machinery, Co Armagh

“Tanker and low-emission equipment sales are still busy, but have dipped off on recent years. We are currently building 800 tankers each year, of which approximately 55% are being built for the island of Ireland. Typical single axle 2,000-to-2,600-gallon tankers are currently carrying a lead time of around eight weeks.

“Meanwhile, larger tandem and tri-axle tankers have waiting lists of four to five months, and up to six months in some cases.

“Customisation doesn’t overly affect lead times within our business anymore, as we are now carrying enough componentry in stock to build 500 tankers, with a full shelf of every optional extra we offer”.

“The majority of sales to farmer end users in the Republic are being fitted with trailing shoes, whereas the contractors are buying a mix of both.

“A lot of the contractors buying bigger tankers in Northern Ireland are sticking with dribble bars.

“At present, there is very little Redrock stock sitting in dealers’ yards across the country. Our policy is that we don’t build to stock. Every machine that goes through the factory has an end user’s name on it.”

Paul Quinn, Mastek, Co Cavan

“Our lead times on new tankers and trailing shoes is around 10-12 weeks, depending on the model and specification. With the poor ground conditions in the lead up to Christmas, sales of umbilical systems have been very high.

“Current lead times on umbilical systems are around eight to 10 weeks. Since dribble bars were excluded from the TAMS grant aided funding, sales of dribble bars in Ireland have plummeted by 80%.

“Interestingly, flexi-shoes are surging in demand, and have completely surpassed the standard trailing shoes. In terms of trailing shoe orders, flex-shoes are currently accounting for 70% of orders.”

Eoin Keane, HiSpec Engineering, Co Carlow

“The lead time on a basic non-recessed tanker is four weeks, increasing to 12 weeks for recessed models. This increases to 16 to 18 weeks for tandem and tri axle’s or for any unique custom specification units. The market as a whole has slowed, especially in the UK. Previously, UK dealers were putting in big stock orders, but this has slowed down. We are seeing some dealers in the UK still carrying some of last year’s stock”.

“However, this isn’t the case in Ireland, all tankers being ordered here in Ireland are still being ordered for specific end users. The delayed approval to TAMS has been a factor in slowing confirmed orders. But you have to remember, lots of farmers have availed of TAMS over the past few years so the pool is getting smaller and smaller each year. Business will soon be back to normal for the foreseeable future, as it was before TAMS.”

Mike Kinsella, Abbey Machinery, Co Tipperary

“We have seen a steady increase in orders coming into the factory over the past few weeks. This has been off the back of TAMS approval letters starting to come through, the quickly approaching slurry opening season and our new Agri Pro trailing shoe range.

“However, these are deals that we have been talking to farmers about for the past six months.

“Recessed tankers and low-emission applicators are currently experiencing a lead time of around two to four months, while larger tandem axle tankers are running somewhere between three to five months.

“However, within the Abbey dealer network across the country, dealers have stock ready for immediate delivery.

“I’d estimate TAMS is currently driving 70-80% of our new tanker sales on the Irish market.”