TRACTOR SALES across the UK may be down, but the average tractor is getting bigger.

Figures released by the Agricultural Angineers Association show that the average farm tractor is now close to 160hp, which is a 0.7% increase on the year. That is not enough, however, to counter the slide in total tractor horsepower, which has decreased by 17% to 1.378m hp.

The biggest bracket of the market is, as you would expect from the average figure, the 141-160hp range. However, sales of 241-plus hp tractors took a larger percentage of total sales - though this managed 610 machines, against 693 last year.

That is in line with a backdrop of 17.5% of falling sales across the board for farm-sized machines, though small tractors bucked the trend with a 17.3% increase in sales to 900 units.

So far this year, Scotland's sales have been holding up fairly well, with a near 7% drop recorded, meaning 1114 new tractor found homes in Scotland, which is roughly 13% of total UK sales of 8703 units.

Scotland's mixed farming economy seems to have led to it being better able to face up to the doldrums generally across the farming industry, but some of the mainly arable areas of England have suffered dramatic falls in tractor sales. The East Midlands has seen a collapse of 35%, with the West Midlands and Eastern England regions falling by almost 24% each.

Just 367 units were sold in Northern Ireland, which is a 30% drop from last year at this time, with Wales recording a 20% slump to 806 units.

• Looking for a new combine? This week's issue of The Scottish Farmer contains a review of all that's new in combine harvesters, with news from Case IH, Claas, Deutz Fahr, John Deere, Massey Ferguson and New Holland.