With many farm-gate prices under pressure there’s one area that continues to buck the trend – heritage.
The swell of interest in owning, maintaining and showing bygone farm equipment continues apace.
And despite some concern that top-end classic and vintage tractor prices would see the bubble burst, any downfall has failed to materialise, report specialist auctioneers.
Whether enthusiasts are retired farmers or workers – there is little telling who is collecting these days, say traders – there is a tremendous desire to ensure farming’s heritage survives.
And that translated into spectacular prices at recent collective sales.
Topping Cheffins’ recent vintage and classic sale at its Sutton sale yard was a Doe Triple-D that made 66,000 before premium to a Midlands collector (Machinery, 28 October, p67).
That was closely followed by a County 1474 at 44,000, again before premiums, to an Irish enthusiast.
There are some real gems coming to the marketplace.
The closure of Silsoe Research Institute has brought to the market a host of one-owner, low-hours tractor units that collectors are eager to acquire.
Likewise, this week’s dispersal of prison service kit at HMP Lindholme, near Doncaster, Yorks, was expected to be a real crowd-puller, with an array of older Ford models boasting among them rarer vineyard/orchard models to tempt buyers’ pockets.
There’s no escaping the fact that despite interest from collectors, a buoyant export trade for many models still exists to underpin values from countries where simple mechanical design is valued over technology to refine operator comfort and output, suggest traders.
So what of the future?
Auctioneers remain upbeat about prospects as a generation of collectors with access to capital continue to scour the marketplace (keep an eye on Farmers Weekly’s Vintage & Classic pages).
Ferguson and Ford share pole position for the common man’s interest due to the availability of spare and wear parts at very affordable prices.
For those who see such interest as a reminder that farming has enjoyed better days, it’s important to remember the sector has bounced back from depression several times in the 1900s – most notably the ’30s and ’50s – to enjoy periods of growth and reinvestment.
Heritage – whatever way it is viewed – should be a reminder of that, say supporters.