On-site and online collective machinery sales have seen a countrywide lift since the Brexit vote, despite July and August being considered difficult months for sales, with domestic buyers focused on harvesting crops and watching cashflow.
Cheffins’ Cambridge sale centre recorded a 50% increase in gross sales post Brexit as overseas buyers cashed in on the weakening sterling, which has been to the benefit of exporters in general.
“The first indicator was shortly after the vote with telephone enquiries noticeably greater and more exporters attending the pre-sale viewing day than we had experienced in months,” according to the company’s Bill Pepper.
Topping the list of buyers were Spanish exporters keen to secure the better end of the John Deere tractors on offer with a top bid of £38,000 for 2009-plate 7930.
Others followed in Cheffins’ August sale where £25,000 secured a direct off-farm 2010-plate 6930 with good spec.
Ford tractors have staged something of a comeback with Far Eastern buyers once again returning to support the trade.
The same is true of older Massey Ferguson 100 and 200-series models, with plenty of machines selling into East Africa after fluctuations in prices.
The Brexit effect has also had a positive impact on sales of larger plant such as excavators and diggers, says Dave Smith of Brightwells’ Handley sales centre, Herefordshire.
The company saw an almost complete clear out of residual stock with only four out of 50 excavators and four out of 40 dumpers remaining unsold.
“A lot of standing stock has been shifted and of those that didn’t meet reserve at the sale itself have now found buyers through post-sale negotiations.
“Quite a number sold for well above reserve leaving some dealers now facing the difficulty of finding replacement stock after having machines sitting in yards for some time while the trade was down.”
Of all sectors, it is the HGV and lorry sections of large collective sales that remains quietest, he suggests.
Elsewhere, tractor sales have been buoyant thanks to regular consignments from utilities with higher horsepower models often having completed fewer hours than their farming equivalents.
“As an example, a John Deere 6220 on an 02-plate and with just 1,500 hours made £25,000 before charges.”
Elizabeth Allen of Brown & Co’s Spalding office, who is jointly responsible for its recent quarterly National Online Timed Auction of machinery, also reports a jump in export activity, with trade stronger than anticipated particularly for good farm-owned kit.
The company saw interest from Eastern Europe for cultivation equipment, with parcels also being containerised for one specific southern hemisphere buyer.
Brown & Co reports the revival is welcome news with four on-farm dispersals scheduled for September and a further three pencilled in for October so far.
Across the border in Scotland, United Auctions reports a recovery in export to Ireland at a recent on-farm sale featuring higher horse-power Massey Fergusons thanks to the weaker pound and good links through the port of Stranraer.
But not everyone is convinced trade has bounced as well as it has been suggested.
Richard Tasker of York Livestock Centre, which hosts regular large collective machinery sales, suggests poor returns from farming both at home and in Ireland continues to restrict spending.
At Borderway Mart, Carlisle, auctioneer Andrew Templeton says while farm incomes remain under pressure there is renewed interest among buyers attending the company’s recent collective sales with season kit attracting most attention.
Brightwells’ trade included a 13-plate Claas 940 self-propelled forager at its recent sale, which made £95,000 from a local buyer.
With the silage harvest window drawing to a close the vendor – a major finance house – was advised to be realistic on its reserve or risk the forager sitting still until next season, says the company
Grass kit was still in demand despite difficult weather experienced by many parts of the country, reports Carlisle-based Harrison & Hetherington.
One of the better sales included a Gailfire hay rake, which made a solid £3,200. Elsewhere a smaller Kuhn rowing up rake made £2,200
Brown & Co’s quarterly National Online Timed Auction saw a Challenger MT765B on a 2006-plate heading to Hungary for £48,000.
Fertiliser spinners plus Simba discs were sold to New Zealand at £1,620 and £3,200, respectively.
A Samon onion topper went to Poland at £1,480.
Midlands-based auctioneer Bagshaws of Uttoxeter held a recent on-farm dispersal featuring classic MF tractors from the estate of Messrs Minshall from Hanch, near Lichfield, Staffordshire.
Best on the day was a sound 1976 MF 565 2WD (pictured above) with 5,100 hours clocked that beat expectations by making £7,160. An MF135 loader tractor, circa 1967, made £3,260
Cheffins recent sale for items entered on behalf of the Holkham Hall Estate saw £154,000 taken.
Items included a rare Field Marshall Series One tractor that made £12,000 and a Wolseley Seven car that made £11,500.
Another star from the sale was £23,000 paid for a Tidman Centre Engine by a steam enthusiast.
Cheffins is to mark its 20th year of sales at its Cambridge venue this month having offered more than 600,000 lots and exported to 100 countries worldwide.
It estimates that more than 70,000 tractors have passed across its books during the period.