Rise of the machines has its own dedicated show

Big boys toys is a term often used to describe today’s new farm machinery.

Massive tyres and increased horsepower have been just two of the hallmarks of the move to ever larger kit that now sees fieldwork completed in hours rather than weeks.

All of the leading manufacturers’ most recent models will be on display when the second Yorkshire Agricultural Machinery Show takes place in the grounds of the York Auction Centre on Wednesday, February 4.

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Last year’s debut event was such a success that organiser Richard Tasker was inundated with requests and testimonials that he had to make the show a permanent fixture in the agricultural calendar. There was also a similar clamour from those who wanted to exhibit and this year he has extended the number of trade stands to 130.

“It has grown so quickly and we were delighted with the turnout for our inaugural show. There appears to be a real appetite for this kind of event and the demand for trade stands for the second year is a clear indication of how our first show was enjoyed by all.”

Richard puts the overall success of the event down the way the county’s farm machinery manufacturers and dealerships have bought in to the concept of the White Rose’s own premier machinery show.

“Our location and easy parking are two of the key factors behind the huge attendance we received in 2014 but the other outstanding feature is that every major manufacturer is represented as well as many of Yorkshire’s own manufacturers and nearly every dealership.”

Richard and York Auction Centre already had a sterling reputation for the sale of farm machinery, albeit the largely second-hand market with their regular York Machinery Sales but taking on the new farm machinery market place was a different proposition altogether. Their initial foray in February 2014 was to be a real stab in the dark.

“When we started planning for the first show we had no idea that it would take off in the way it has but within a matter of days after I’d mentioned we were going to put it on we were well on our way. There are of course other machinery shows in the UK plus some very well-known and established annual events run by individual farm machinery dealerships in Yorkshire such as those put on by Ripon Farm Services and Farmstar and they all have their place. What it shows is just how interested our county is in what is available and that farmers are always looking to learn more about how they can manage their farms more profitably.”

That’s one of the reasons why next year’s show is set to see a number of stands related to precision farming through satellite technology and the likes of autosteer, yield mapping and variable rate application. Experts will be on hand to guide those new to precision farming and there will be demonstrations from companies involved such as RTK and Geosteer.

Many large-scale arable farmers have embraced satellite technology and the rest of the cereal growing community is now looking at it more closely. Key to the technology’s adoption is whether the set-up costs outweigh the potential benefit to income.

The Agricultural Engineers Association reports on sales statistics in the machinery market place for the UK. It estimated that the overall value of turnover of its members to the British market in 2013 was around £4.4 billion, with the agricultural sector estimated at just over £3.7bn.

In the past decade between 10,000 to 18,000 new tractors have been registered each year with 2013 being 10.4 per cent down on the previous year. The average horsepower of an agricultural tractor has risen from 126hp to 150hp in that time. John Deere tractors made up 31.6 per cent of the UK market in 2012; Massey Ferguson and Case IH tractors made up a combined 22.6 per cent of red tractors in the UK; and New Holland made up 18.3 per cent.

Yorkshire has one of the highest counts of farm machinery dealerships in the UK including a number of multiple depot businesses such as Ripon Farm Services, Farmstar and Russells all of whom will again be at the show.

“Farm equipment required differs in each area of the county. In predominantly livestock production areas it’s more grass harvest related, whereas in the Vales of York and Pickering and in Holderness it is the much larger tractors, combines and trailers that take centre stage. Our show reflects all of these farmers’ needs and provides a great opportunity to take a look at what the whole market has to offer rather than purely visiting one franchise.”

While Richard and the rest of the team at York were thrilled by the reaction to the debut show they have not sat back and just hoped things would click into place for 2015.

“The second show will also include a greater focus on renewable energy with local companies such as Steven Dresser’s Thirsk-based Dresser Solar and Duncan Renewables as well as a number of others. This brings another important aspect to the event and once more it mirrors the move in the market place by farmers towards embracing this further.”

The Yorkshire Agricultural Machinery Show is on February 4, 8.30am-4.30pm.