Machinery auctioneer Cheffins has reported bumper plough sales as blackgrass-burdened farmers turn their backs on minimum tillage techniques.

The number of ploughs sold in the firm’s collective machinery sales was up 10% compared with this time last year and 50 units were shifted in the last auction on 4 August.

“With blackgrass causing a big problem in many arable areas there does seem to be a move away from minimum tillage cultivations to ploughing,” said director Bill Pepper. “Ploughing is definitely back in fashion.”

A few smaller ploughs had failed to sell in recent auctions, but the trade for larger reversible ploughs with five or more furrows was particularly bullish, he said. “In fact, we really need more stock to satisfy the demand.”

See also: Seven four-furrow ploughs on test

One of the top sellers at the firm’s 4 August sale held at Sutton, Ely, was an eight-furrow Kverneland RL-100. The semi-mounted plough with hydraulic vari-width sold for £7,500.

Other models that captured buyer’s interest were an eight-furrow Dowdeswell DP250R that sold for £4,500, a five-furrow Kverneland EG/LB 85 that dropped the gavel at £3,500 and a five-furrow Rabe Eagle that sold for £2,000.

Most of the ploughs sold went to UK farmers or dealers, despite a large number of registered overseas bidders at the auction.

This year’s early harvest had also had an effect on the lots entered in the sale, said Mr Pepper. “Often in August we find balers and even combines are popular, but cultivation work is already under way across the country so ploughs and general cultivation equipment are selling remarkably well.”