How far would you be prepared to travel to bid and hopefully buy second-hand machinery?

The answer, according to auctioneers, is evidently some distance.

The handful of large machinery dispersals held in January and February surprised the trade, not by swollen numbers of prospective bidders, but by the determination of far-flung visitors with serious intend on acquiring kit.

It’s no longer a surprise to find Irish, Scottish, Welsh and even a few visitors from EU members states signing up for buyer numbers, reports one busy Midlands firm.

The apparent lack of sales over the autumn/winter period has deprived the market of second-hand machinery and – with the hoped-for arrival of single payment cheques for English producers in the offing – most producers are considering their options.

But it’s not just the offer of cultivation kit that’s likely to command the interest of buyers.

With a handful of large potato and root processing enterprises being offered in the south and eastern arable areas in the coming weeks, there’s the opportunity to acquire handling and processing lines at a fraction of the cost of new installations, it’s suggested.

Estimating values for fixed infrastructure is difficult, admits one auctioneer.

While capital costs for new lines can easily be five figures, demand on labour and transport to move used kit to a new location and adapt to fit can add considerably to buyers’ costs.

Other producers will seek different opportunities.

Prospective contractors or those looking to acquire high capacity arable or grassland kit are being presented with two impressive line-ups from former contracting operations in the coming weeks.

In the deep south-west the offer of grassland kit ahead of spring will no doubt tempt Cornish bidders to Truro on 3 March.

While nationwide interest is expected for the two Claas Jaguar 850 self-propelled foragers and headers units, other kit is likely to remain in the region following a dearth of sale opportunities in recent months.

At Doncaster on 1 March cereal and root growers will get a chance to review contracting kit that has the capacity to help those looking to expand acreages in a bid to drive efficiencies through scale.

Again, a large attendance is anticipated with prospective bidders already requesting catalogues from almost all corners of the country, says the auctioneer.

Once again it’s time to travel.