The total number of licensed (taxed) tractors recorded on Irish roads as of 31 December 2020 stood at 78,119, according to the Irish Bulletin of Vehicle and Driver Statistics 2020.

This is a 2.97% (2,256 more tractors) increase on the 2019 report where 75,863 tractors were taxed for road usage.

The bulletin is an annual publication released by The Department of Transport which compiles data up to the end of each calendar year. It deals with all transport vehicles on Irish roads alongside indicating, for example, how many Massey Ferguson, John Deere or New Holland tractors there are taxed across the country.

It also includes all of the since discontinued brands which continue to work on Irish farms such as Fiat, Leyland and Renault.

It revealed that the total number of taxed vehicles recorded on Irish roads on the 31 December 2020 was 2,860,984.

This represents an increase of 55,145 vehicles (1.97%) on the previous year. The main components of the vehicle fleet include 2,215,127 private cars, 377,890 goods vehicles, 78,119 agricultural tractors, 51,924 vintage vehicles and 44,819 motorcycles.

Tractor brand by brand

The data indicates that Massey Ferguson is Ireland’s most popular tractor brand with a total of 16,266 tractors taxed. This accounts for almost 21% of all taxed tractors in the Republic of Ireland.

Next up in second place was New Holland, with 14,107 (17.89%) taxed tractors.

In a close third was John Deere, with its tally of 12,542 tractors (15.91%).

Together, the top three most popular brands alone accounted for 54.43% of all tractors taxed on Irish roads.

Case/David Brown came in fourth with a tally of 7,011 tractors or 8.89%. This was followed by Ford with 5,237 tractors (6.64%), Zetor with 3,436 tractors (4.36%) and Landini with 2,954 tractors (3.75%).

County by county

The rebel county (Cork) is the only county with more than 10,000 tractors. Next up is Tipperary with 5,399 tractors followed closely by Galway with 5,204 tractors and Mayo with 4,835 tractors.

Co Leitrim has Ireland’s smallest tractor fleet in Ireland, with less than 1,000 units.

The county is joined by Louth (1,055) and Longford (1,304) with the lowest tractors.

Potential irregularities

In the interest of fairness it must be pointed out that some of the Department’s data may feature outdated brand classifications which may have an impact on certain brand by brand true figures.

Such an example includes classifications for both Ford and New Holland.

For instance, the later Fords such as the 40 Series may arguably be classed as either Ford or New Holland or even both.

In a similar fashion, there are classifications for both Valtra and Valmet.

Here, it may be possible that the transition period from Valmet to Valtra Valmet and then ultimately to Valtra, could mean tractors of that era could have fallen under either classification.

Case IH’s legacy is also tied up in this situation where we see the International brand recorded separately.

However, again it is possible that transition tractors could have fallen under either classifications.

Fuel type

Diesel remains the most popular fuel across all road users accounting for 64.4% of vehicles, followed by petrol which accounts for 32% of vehicles in the Irish fleet. Petrol/Electric account for 2.16% (61,756 vehicles) of the fleet, electric accounts for 13,694 (0.48%) and petrol/plug-in hybrid electric is 12,296 (0.43%).

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