14 May 1999

Used parlours eagerly sought

SECOND-HAND parlours are finding favour as some herds look to expand without incurring a high capital investment.

At the recent Fonthill dispersal, Wilts, a Fullwood 24/24 herringbone parlour, upgraded two years ago, beat its estimate by £2400 to sell at £10,400, reports Henry Simon of Greenslade, Taylor & Hunt. Also on the day, an 8500 litre Fabdec bulk tank sold for £5900 and plate cooler £300.

"Milk Producers having lost 20% to 30% of their income are looking to expand. But buying new equipment can be an expensive route," says Mr Simon.

While some bid represent good investments for the buyers, vendors are feeling the pinch.

At last weeks dispersal of the Itford herd of Guernsey cattle, Sussex, auctioneers sold the three year old 5500-litre Fabdec bulk tank, including plate cooler and washer, just short of its estimate to £4500. It cost £16,000 three years ago, according to the vendor.

Bargain hunting is also attracting interest from dealers looking to supply clients overseas. A four-year-old Surge rapid exit parlour recently sold for £27,000 and was destined for the Middle East, adds Mr Simon.

However, after dispersing the milking herd some producers are retaining the parlour, he says. "One or two we are selling for are going out on a temporary basis. Longer-term theyre considering returning to milk in five years time."

More traditional milking equipment is a steadier trade, says Lancs-based auctioneer John Pallister. At a sale later this month hell be including a Fullwood milking line and Westfalia units: "Its for spares, that is all."