North-west dealer Burgess, which went into administration on 14 November, says it has managed to keep four branches of the company open and retain 40 jobs.

The branches still operating are at Chester, Nantwich, Leek and Shrewsbury, while those at Llangefni, Denbigh and Barton have closed.

Sales of new farm machinery have ceased, but Burgess will still offer spare parts and servicing facilities for customers’ existing machines from the four remaining branches. It will also continue selling garden machinery and countrystore-type items such as electric fencers, tools and workwear.

Jonathan Budd, one of the two directors who bought the company from the Burgess family at the beginning of the year, said the firm had run out of funding. But falling sales of its McCormick tractor franchise were also said to be a contributory factor.

The withdrawal of Burgess from selling farm machinery is all the more poignant because of its lengthy history and once-mighty coverage. Established in the 1860s, its network of branches reached more than 80 in the mid-1970s, making it the biggest dealer in the UK in terms of number of outlets.

It still had 30 branches in the late 1990s and ran its own successful winter machinery show for several years. But branch numbers dwindled to just seven before the recent troubles.

Burgess originally sold Massey Ferguson equipment, then switched to Fiat in the south and Leyland in the north. It was subsequently a Case IH dealer and, lastly, took on the McCormick franchise.