By Simon Wragg

DEMAND for clean, second-hand tractors and machinery is likely to increase as farms reorganise kit to cut overheads. And with Sterling strengthening, producers may have an edge over exporters.

This week saw large collective sales nationwide some of which included nearly-new items.

According to Grant Thorntons Gary Markham, some of this kit is coming to the market after the re-hash of machinery policies on farms and estates.

“Were seeing up to £290/acre being tied up in machinery. This is £70/acre too high for many arable units given the current economic climate,” suggests Mr Markham.

Whittling down excess machinery on one farm is helping another achieve a switch from buying new tackle to second-hand.

And demand is there, says Nick Hine of Shrewsbury-based Halls which held its regular tractor and machinery sale at Forton Airfield this week. Included in the lots was a JCB 526/55 tele-handler on a M-plate expected to make £14,000.

“We held a farm sale recently where a matching handler made a similar amount,” said Mr Hine.

Buyers are travelling further to see tackle. “Its not unusual to get farmers down from Lancashire; everyone is looking for clean, tidy kit,” he adds.

Bidders who have had to out-run vigorous bidding from exporters in the past may have a new friend in the value of Sterling. This continues its rally against the Euro, moving the advantage in favour of domestic buyers, says the trade.

According to Cheffins Bob Hall, exporters are now looking to discount prices to compensate for Sterlings strength. “If anything the used machinery buyer is now getting a more competitive deal.”

This weeks trade saw buyers at Bagshaws Darley Moor sale take home a NH Ford 7740 on a N-plate with 4400 hours on the clock for £11,200 before tax, and a Matbro TS270 for £11,950 before tax.

On Tuesday, Dee and Atkinson saw best tractors up £2000 on 18 months ago, with a 4wd MF3072 and loader fetching over £14,000.

Implements also remain popular consignments. At Cheffins forthcoming sale at Ely – which attracts a lot of grass harvesting equipment – round-balers are anticipated to change hands for up to £5000 depending on condition, according to auctioneer Bill Pepper.