6 September 1996

Canny northernerssnap up bargain kit pric

CANNY northern farmers are buying top quality second-hand combine harvesters at half the price of new machines. And they report they are delighted with their money-saving exercise.

At Belford in Northumberland, farmer/contractor John Riddell will harvest 240ha (600 acres) by season end with his reconditioned New Holland 8070. The combine was bought from Agricultural Plant Hire of Peterborough (APH) through local agricultural dealer Bookles Motors.

"I went and saw it at Arable 96 and bought it for £38,000 – half the price of a new machine with similar capacity," explains Mr Riddell.

"APH displayed it at the Royal Show before it came home to me. The company had stripped it and thoroughly overhauled the engine and gearbox. Its as good as new and carries a full years guarantee. I reckon it will do me for five or six years."

Mr Riddell points out that the depreciation in the first year will be about £10,000 compared with £20,000 on a new machine.

Farming 160ha (400 acres) at Westhall, which the family has owned since 1924, his fathers death eight years ago and the ensuing death duties ruled against a new combine of the size required.

"I knew the machine and its reliability," he says. "There are no fancy electronics to go wrong and if any repairs are needed they are usually something I can tackle myself."

His own 80ha (200 acres) of winter barley is grown on a seed contract and is harvested as soon as possible to allow contract work to begin – the extra acreage enabling a sizeable combine to be justified.

"I can see more farmers opting for reliable second-hand machines and I gather APH has another three on the market," he says.

Meanwhile, in central Scotland, Mike Cumming used the FW columns to locate the second-hand combine he was after.

"I had tried all the local firms without success in my search for a New Holland TX36 and I eventually found a three-year-old machine equipped with a 20ft header at a dealer in Dorset.

"It cost £55,000 delivered, which was about half price. I sent it to my local agent for a full service before harvest started and it has gone without a hitch," said Mr Cumming, manager at Lour Farms, Forfar.

"It has been working at 5kmh with the 20ft header cutting through a 2.5t/acre spring barley crop. You are always a bit nervous about buying second-hand but the decision has paid off."n

John Riddell with reconditioned 8070: half price of new but as good.