5 July 2002

Strong demand for used tackle

FARMERS are still looking to save costs on buying new machinery by purchasing good quality second-hand kit instead.

High spec, late registered tractors in particular are really sought after, says Bill King, of Cambridge-based machinery auctioneer Cheffins.

But while second-hand kit values for five to eight-year-old tractors may be buoyant, those machines that are old or obsolete are struggling to find a home.

"Arable farmers are still looking to upgrade, but as economically as possible. Whether the trade will continue like this after harvest is another matter.

"I reckon that big-width cultivating machinery will achieve a good trade later in the year. Theres still a tendency for contract farming arrangements, so demand for bigger combines and bigger horse-power tractors should remain."

While values for recently bought machinery may come under pressure in the autumn, Mr King is unsure whether there will be more kit on the market after harvest as units decide to quit farming.

"A lot of people are predicting that more farmers are ready to get out later this year, but there has not been the number that was anticipated so far.

"You cant predict the second-hand market will remain as strong as it has been this spring. There was some bounce after foot-and-mouth, but theres also been a shortage of good kit."

While domestic demand remains high for the really good quality stuff, exporters are enjoying a better trade as well, he says.

"We have seen some European buyers back in the market, because the k has strengthened against the £." &#42