Region/Countries: Europe, United Kingdom Industry: Agriculture / Timber Date: May 2023

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: With Wisconsin’s strength in agriculture and industrial equipment, UK markets may welcome the state’s innovative products.

Farmers in the UK are looking to buy new tractors.

The need for agricultural machinery is expected to be strong over the next several years as the UK deals with a rising population, a shrinking pool of farm workers, emission restrictions, product innovations, and government policies supporting new purchases.

The UK’s farm machinery market is projecting a compound annual growth rate of 6.1% between 2023 and 2028.

The UK accounted for 9% of the agricultural equipment sales in Europe in 2022, and 47% of the purchases were for tractors. With a change in emission rules that took effect at the end of 2022, many farmers will have to buy newer, lower-polluting tractors in the next few years.

At the same time, the UK’s population is growing and needs to eat. There are 67.7 million residents in 2023, up more than 200,000 from 2022. But the number of farm workers—many of them seasonal immigrants—has been falling, creating an “acute shortage of farm labor,” according to a Mordor Intelligence report. That has led to higher wages for farm workers as well as a rise in food prices to help pay for those increased wages, adding further demand for farmers to update their equipment and productivity.

John Deere, AGCO Corporation, and CNH Industrial NV are among the major tractor manufacturers with an established base and distribution network in the UK. Several companies are introducing new models to improve productivity and reduce emissions. For example, New Holland has a prototype methane-powered tractor that uses liquefied gas and has four times the storage capacity of its current methane-fueled machine that runs on compressed gas.

With Wisconsin’s strong reputation in agriculture and industrial equipment, companies are encouraged to consider targeting Scotland and Wales, where the switch to advanced equipment has been slower than in England. Smaller machinery that works well on hilly terrain could have an advantage in those regions.