At the Auctions: Demand for simple, second-hand tractors booms at autumn auctions

Old-school tractor power continues to appeal to second-hand punters across the UK and Europe. Simon Wragg picks out the highlights from another busy month at the auctions.

Demand for used machinery has remained strong across the arable and livestock sectors through the autumn of 2016, despite tight farming margins.

However, traders are keen to highlight that the gap between good, honest kit and worn-out equipment is widening, with both domestic and export buyers looking to ensure that capital is invested wisely.

The strongest demand is for modern, higher horsepower tractors from the pre-electronic management era of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Although a number of these units were destined for export, UK traders are now pitching in as new tractor registrations ease back and, in turn, reduce the supply of decent trade-in machines.

See also: Tips for buying a quality used combine on a £40,000 budget

The tractor market has seen some big successes in recent weeks, not least the £21,000 price tag on a 1997 John Deere 6400 with well under 3,000 miles clocked achieved by Leominster-based Brightwells.

Demand for clean examples is also strong in the older 100hp-150hp sector. Even prairie-style units – Ford’s TW Series, as well as Massey Ferguson 1200 and 1250 models – present affordable horsepower along with nostalgic appeal.

Cambridge-based Cheffins says several have topped £20,000 recently, but some less polished versions are yet to find homes, including a John Deere at the auctioneer’s November sale.

The arable sector remains particularly consistent, driven by more spring cropping that means less kit is standing idle through to the following autumn.

While sterling remains weak against the euro and dollar, it is expected that demand for export will continue to underpin the market well into 2017.

The impact of fewer new equipment and tractor sales will continue to starve the market of trade-ins for domestic dealers, so any farmers with good, clean kit looking to retire may find 2017 a good time to get good capital values for their on-farm assets.

New Holland TX68

At £23,000 this New Holland TX68 Plus looked value at a retirement sale on behalf of Staffordshire-based Knightley Farming. Aftermarket sales of used kit remain buoyant, suggest traders, with tighter arable margins driving demand

Cat 428B

Cat-a-loada-this… On farm from new and with 8,157 hours clocked, this Cat 428B was in good, tight order encouraging bidders to dig deep to £10,200 © Bagshaws

1980s John Deere

Not all classics do quite so well – this unsold 1980s John Deere is still awaiting a buyer at Cambridge Saleground © Cheffins

1997 John Deere 6400

At £21,000 this 1997 John Deere 6400 was a trail blazer at Messrs Roberts retirement sale, West Midlands, conducted by Brightwells. Just 2,466 clocked and a clean condition helped get the bidding going © Brightwells

MF baler

Hay, hay, hay… this MF baler hit £3,350 post harvest © Brightwells

Malgar tanker

Livestock kit also continues to attract good bids, with a Malgar tanker making £1,550 © Brightwells

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