New EU Regulation sets stricter diesel engine exhaust emissions

New EU Regulation sets stricter diesel engine exhaust emissions limits

for agricultural machines

Over the last 20 years, diesel engine exhaust emissions from agricultural machines have been reduced significantly in line with applicable EU legislation.  Today, a modern agricultural tractor emits about 95% less Nitrogen oxides (NOx) and Particulate Matter (PM) than a comparable machine did twenty years ago.  In other words: taken together, 25 newly built tractors in 2016 emit less NOx and PM than one single tractor built in 1997!


Clean Ag machines – What’s new?

From 2019 onwards, a further reduction in diesel engine emissions will be achieved as new limits, the so-called ‘Stage V’ requirements, will become effective. For the first time, the new Regulation will introduce Particulate Number limits and emission limits for the smallest and biggest engines used in agricultural machines (<19kW & > 560kW).

With this step, EU environmental requirements for agricultural machines will become the strictest in the world. 


New EU Regulation (engine emissions Stage V) – What is the impact and timing for the industry?
The agricultural machinery industry is committed to improving air quality in Europe by adapting its machines to the upcoming ‘Stage V’ requirements. To make the necessary investments, the industry needs balanced rules to ensure the costs are spread over a reasonable period of time. 

It is important to underline that the European agricultural machinery industry currently produces a broad range of different machines with diesel engines (such as tractors or combine harvesters). To comply with the new technical provisions, each and every model (type of machine) will need to be redesigned in a short period of 18 months after the introduction date. 

Therefore, CEMA requested a 24-month transition period – as now included in the Regulation - that will provide manufacturers the necessary lead-time to build their machines in compliance with technical requirements and place them on the market on time once the stage V requirements will be mandatory.

Note: Introduction dates and entry into force of stage V requirements varies depending on engines power classes. - CHECK the timeline in the graph below


A balanced regime for SME manufacturers

Most manufacturers of agricultural machinery in Europe are Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs*). Many of these SMEs produce specialized machines, such as sugar beet harvesters or self-propelled sprayers, which are sold in very low volumes: in some cases,  less than 10 units of a vehicle type per year are produced!

To avoid that these companies are disproportionately harmed by the cost of compliance with new legislation the transition period has been extended by 12 extra months for SMEs. This means SME manufacturers producing less than 100 machines per year will benefit from a 36-months transition period to adjust their fleet. 


Replacement of engines
The replacement engine provision will remain in the new Regulation. This provision will make it possible to replace broken engines by new previous-Stage engines (e.g. Stage IIIB, Stage IV). This situation usually affects a small number of machines per year. Nonetheless, it is an important provision for farmers, as it effectively allows them to keep using their machines and have the possibility to replace a broken engine by another engine meeting the same characteristics.


Narrow tractors – the need for a realistic and feasible timeline 
Narrow tractors have been specifically developed for use in narrow vineyards and orchards. This type of tractor carries out specific tasks that can only be performed thanks to particular operational characteristics (narrow width, a low point of gravity and a tight turning ability). Due to the limited space available on the machines it is a real challenge to make the necessary design modifications to comply with new engine emission limits.  This means an SCR catalyst needs to be installed which will decrease the manoeuvrability of the machine and the visibility for the driver. 

To maintain these special characteristics, a three year delay was granted in 2011 before Stage IIIB and Stage IV exhaust emissions requirements needed to be met. 

What does the Regulation on Stage V limits mean for narrow tractors?
The introduction dates of Stage V in combination with previous given delays led to an unrealistic emission timeline for manufacturers.

To address this challenge a compromise solution was found allowing manufacturers to make a direct step from Stage IIIB to Stage V limits avoiding the intermediate steps that would have incurred high investments for the industry in a very short period of time. 

The ag machinery industry welcomed this decision as it supports the competitiveness of the industry while confirms its commitment to guarantee a major environmental protection. 


Diesel engine emissions timeline


*SME Definition by European Commission