Second-hand farm machine sales still being boosted by Brexit vote, say auctioneers

Tractors sold at Cheffins' monthly farm machinery auction at Sutton, near Ely. Picture: Cheffins.

Tractors sold at Cheffins' monthly farm machinery auction at Sutton, near Ely. Picture: Cheffins.


East Anglia’s second-hand farm machinery trade is still being boosted by the Brexit vote as business uncertainties drive UK farmers to seek low-cost equipment, and favourable exchange rates draw overseas buyers.

That is the assessment from auctioneers at the Cambridge Machinery Sales, the world’s largest monthly agricultural machinery sale, run by auctioneers Cheffins at its saleground at Sutton, near Ely.

In the first quarter of 2018, the firm said sales of second-hand machinery have topped £9.9m, with about 80pc of stock sold at the monthly auctions destined for export, with buyers from around 30 different countries competing for the best kit – made more affordable as a result of the weak pound.

Cheffins director Bill Pepper said: “As prices for new machinery continues to rise and the future of UK farming remains uncertain, we have also seen growth in domestic purchasers turning to second-hand options as a cheaper and more viable alternative since the Brexit vote in June 2016.

“On-farm sales have also experienced an uplift in overseas buyers competing against UK-based trade and one of our recent on-farm auctions in Cheshire saw online bidders from Spain, Greece and Ireland bidding for the best stock.

“The Spanish remain the strongest overseas buying force as their demand for tractors, particularly John Deeres, is tantamount to insatiable. For example, in a recent auction one Spanish buyer purchased 22 tractors, spending in excess of £500,000.

“Closer to home, with a stronger dairy sector in Ireland than here in England, the demand and prices paid for circa 100 horsepower tractors has increased as trade improves.”

Mr Pepper said the high prices achieved at the auctions had attracted new vendors seeking to dispose of machinery stock.

“We regularly act for private farmers throughout the country in addition to machinery dealers, local government departments and finance companies,” he said.

“March’s auction saw a consignment of 17 2017 Massey Ferguson tractors entered directly from a major finance company which recognised the auction route was the fastest and effective way of selling the end of lease stock. After intense interest and equally fierce bidding, all tractors sold grossing in excess of £700,000.”

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