New tractors sales up 5% for Jan-March 2019
Despite the continued uncertainty in the agricultural industry, positive March tractor sales mean that 2019 sales of new units are up 5% on the same period in 2018. Peter Thomas Keaveney reports.

Despite continued uncertainty in the agricultural industry, new tractor sales have risen 5% in the first three months of the year.

Based on figures, a total of 915 new tractors have been registered in Ireland for the first three months in 2019 in comparison to 871 tractors in the same period in 2018.

Analysing Motorcheck’s figures, we see that Massey Ferguson is leading the market to date in 2019, with a total of 190 new tractors sold, up from 148 tractors during the same period in 2018.

New Holland is slightly behind in second place, having sold a total of 184 new units, down from 210 new units in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, in third place, John Deere has sold a total of 181 new tractors, down 14 units from the 195 new tractors it sold in the same period in 2018.


Looking at what models Irish farmers and agricultural contractors are buying, the Claas Arion range has proven most popular, with a total of 48 units sold up until the end of March.

In a close second, John Deere 6155M and 6155R models have sold a total of 43 units.

In third, New Holland has sold a total of 34 new T7 tractors, while the New Holland T5 has claimed fourth position with 28 new units sold.

The Case IH Maxxum commands fifth position, with 27 new units registered.

In pictures: standout machines at Balmoral 2019
Gary Abbott outlines some of the standout machines at this year’s Balmoral show.

Kramer KL 60.8

The Kramer stand featured the flagship model, the KL 60.8 all-wheel steer loader. This is the first one of its kind in the country to date.

The loader is powered by a 156hp (116kW) Deutz engine, meeting stage IV emission regulations.

The KL 60.8 is claimed to have a 3865mm turning radius leaving it a highly manoeuvrable loader for its size. It is fitted with a hydrostatic transmission capable of 40km/h, with an operating weight of 10,000kg. The loader is fitted with a 150 l/min hydraulic pump as standard but a larger 180 l/min pump can be opted for. Perhaps a loader to watch out for over the coming months.

The new Kramer KL60.8 wheeled loader.

New Holland T6.180

On the R Kennedy stand, seen the New Holland T6.180 tractor fitted with the most recent Dynamic Command transmission (DCT). This model is the first six cylinder New Holland tractor to feature the Dynamic command transmission which based around a three-range, eight-step semi-powershift Dual Clutch concept.

Both the odd and even numbered gears have a separate shaft and clutch. Power is then simply modulated between the two clutches as an odd gear is disengaged with one clutch, the second clutch is engaging the even gear ratio. This is a simple arrangement, yet extremely efficient New Holland claim.

The New Holland T6.180 is the first six-cylinder model from New Holland to feature its DCT transmission.

Thompson 16t dump trailer

TBF Thompson has been manufacturing dump trailers for many years now in Coleraine, Co Derry. At this year's show, Thompson had its 16t dump trailer on display. These dump trailers come standard with a high level of specification, including Hardox steel for increased wear and high-speed commercial axles with 560/60 R 22.5 BKT tyres.

Thompson 16t dump trailer.

JCB 4220

One of the standout tractors was the JCB 4220, powered by a six-cylinder Sisu 6.6l engine outputting a maximum power of 235hp with 950Nm of torque. The tractor is equipped with a two-range CVT transmission and is capable of travelling at speeds of 60km/h at 1,600rpm. It is fitted with JCB’s CommandPlus cab with an all-round self-levelling suspension system.

The JCB 4420 is fitted with a 6.6l Sisu engine.

Kverneland IXtrack T3 sprayer

The Kverneland IXtrack T3 is a new sprayer to the Irish market. It is designed with a focus on a short, low and compact design and is available with two tank sizes – 2,600l and 3,200l. It is fully Isobus compatible as standard, with the included iXclean Pro automatic valve management system, and all functions are controlled from the cab.

The frame of the new T3 is now riveted instead of welded for a more robust construction, claims Kverneland. Boom widths range from 18m to 30m.

Other features of the sprayer include iXflow spray line recirculation system, GeoSpray function for individual nozzle control and an optional steering system allowing a maximum steering angle of 32°.

Kverneland's new IXtrack T3 sprayer.

Antonio Carraro TN 5800

Antonio Carraro manufactures compact tractors for specialised work such as vineyard and orchard operations. On the Ballyward Plant Services (BPS) stand was the Antonio Carraro TN 5800 tractor.

This particular model is designed for working on hills and mountains. It is fitted with a 49.7hp four cylinder Yanmar engine and weighs in at 1,630kg. The tractors sees a short wheel base and a tight steering radius for agile movement in crop rows.

Interestingly, its chassis allows for longitudinal oscillation or pivoting movement up to 15°, which allows the tractor to maintain traction on the most uneven and challenging conditions.

The Antonio Carraro TN 5800.

Farm vouchers to promote use of contractors' precision agriculture
The farm machinery industry and contractor interests across Europe have made a proposal to implement a voucher system to encourage smaller farmers to access precision agriculture technologies.

Farm machinery industry and contractor interests across Europe have joined forces in a CAP Reform proposal to provide farmers with a voucher system to support the use of precision agriculture (PA) through the employment of high technology contractor services on farms.

CEMA, the European Farm Machinery Manufacturers Association and CEETTAR, the Organisation of Farm, Rural and Forestry Contractors, have prepared a joint proposal for the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy to allow smaller-scale farmers have cost-effective access to precision agriculture technology through the use of voucher based contractor services.

European research has shown that 25% of European farmers currently have access to PA technology, compared with 98% in the USA and Canada.


While the EU wants to keep its model of small family farms, many are considered not to be sustainable as small farms if they don’t have access to PA as a means of reducing production costs. The proposed voucher option would allow contractors to provide the benefits of PA services that smaller farmers cannot afford to buy.

The European Commission proposes to give a more important role to member states’ authorities in the new CAP, through national strategic plans. CEETTAR believes that the amount of the annual voucher would be calculated on a given percentage of the total cost of the service representing the PA part of it. FCI is the sole Irish member of CEETTAR and is supporting the voucher proposal.

AgriArgo appoints product manager
AgriArgo has recently appointed a new product manager for Ireland and the UK.

AgriArgo recently appointed Andrew Starbuck (ex-Grimme) as its new product manager for Ireland and the UK.

Starbuck’s principal role is to communicate Landini and McCormick product features to dealers and end-users, and to relate customer and dealer feedback to the team supporting these products based at Harworth in South Yorkshire, as well as to the engineers in Argo’s tractor factories in northern Italy.

Starbuck takes over from product specialist Paul Wade, who has retired after a 44-year career with International Harvester, Case IH and McCormick tractors produced at the former works in Doncaster.