© Tim Scrivener

A rise in the value of sterling is making life tough for the second-hand machinery trade, says Bill Pepper from Cheffins auctioneers. But that means a better chance of bargains for farmers.

Falling commodity prices worldwide, geopolitical issues in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, newly imposed import tariffs in some East African markets and a rise in the value of sterling, particularly against the euro, are all making trade tough, he says, with markets struggling to regain their pre-harvest momentum.

See also: Machinery sales are bewildering

“With around 80% of lots sold on a typical sale day being exported, we rely heavily on our loyal overseas sale-goers. Very slight global changes can seriously affect the hammer prices,” he says.

“However, our latest sale on 8 November shrugged off recent problems and posted one of the best results we’ve had for this time of year.

“Trade for key makes of tractors was led – as usual – by John Deere and bolstered by some very active Spanish buyers,” he says. “It was also encouraging to see our Irish buyers back with some enthusiasm. Their preferred choice is still a New Holland TS or TL series along with the ever-popular Massey Ferguson 390T.”

“Polish buyers seem to still concentrate their efforts on JCB Fastracs up to a budget of around £30,000, a tractor that can be hard to place in the market.” 

Plant sales have enjoyed strong demand in the sale of material handlers, he says, due to the UK’s emergence from the recession and an increase in general construction, with JCB still enjoying the largest market share.

The machinery trade has also been keen, he says, with ploughs and stubble rakes enjoying a resurgence, thanks to blackgrass worries. However min-till machinery prices have dropped.  

“Despite all the issues above, when it came to on-farm dispersal auctions, trade was spectacularly good,” adds Mr Pepper. “We have had seven such sales since 1 September, spread throughout the UK, offering some 2,700 lots and grossing more than £3m.

Headlining machines included a 1979 Massey Ferguson 1250 artic-steer tractor making £24,000; a JCB 8310 Fastrac making £63,000; a 2009 New Holland CX8090 combine hitting £101,500; and a 2001 John Deere 7810 making £56,800, which wasn’t too shabby when you consider the new price was about £46,000, says Mr Pepper.