The NZ Tractor and Machinery Association says 4079 tractors were sold last year, up 13 per cent from 2016 and up 14 percent on 2015. The sales also just top the previous record of 4062 sales in 2014.
Figures from Statistics New Zealand show the value of imported tractors in January 2018 rose 191 percent, or $27 million, compared to the same month a year ago.
The last time New Zealand imported this number of tractors was in 2014 before dairy prices crashed.
Association's general manager Ron Gall said the huge lift in sales reflected the recovery in market positivity since the dairy downturn.
"Now we have all sectors of agriculture enjoying relatively good times," Mr Gall said.
"There's a confidence with farmers and contractors that things will continue for the near future at least."
Sales were particularly strong in the dairy areas of Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu, Canterbury and Southland and in the horticulture, viticulture and arable areas of Northland, Hawkes Bay, Nelson and Marlborough.
Otago, home to dairy and horticulture and viticulture, experienced particularly impressive growth, with a 28 percent increase on 2016.
The biggest increase on last year's sales was Taranaki with 214 sales in 2017 compared to 158 in 2016, representing a 35 percent boost. Combined, the areas of North, Mid and South Canterbury had a 22 per cent increase on 2016.
Drought conditions might affect some sales in the coming months but, Mr Gall said, tractors were used longterm rather than short term, so those conditions were not likely to affect the overall figures.
"If the economy keeps performing as it is, then farmers will have the confidence to keep their equipment up to date," Mr Gall said.