Auctioneers are adapting to a new way of life by conducting machinery sales online for the first time to keep second-hand kit selling.
Cambridge-based auctioneer Cheffins was one of the first to run a live webcast for its most recent sale, which it said took place to a “deserted sale ground” as all bidding took place online.
There were fears that this change would negatively affect the previously strong second-hand trade, but after a few lots, worries were dispelled as buyers from the UK and overseas took part. The sale included more than 1,500 items and took place over five days.
A drive-through tractor section included 18 Massey Ferguson machines, all with less than 1,800 hours on the clock, and a John Deere 6210R with Directdrive transmission with front and cab suspension and front linkage that, at £51,000, achieved one of the highest prices.
Meanwhile, a smaller 2018 6155M JD sold for a £46,500 and a 63-plate Valtra T213 with 4,417 hours and front linkage sold for a reasonable £36,500.
In the South West, auction house Stags was also an early adopter of the online format and enticed bidders from seven countries. The sale finished on 12 May and saw 18 tractors from across the region go under the virtual gavel, as well as 230 other lots.
Some 16,230 people logged on to see the top price paid for a 2010 John Deere 6330 (pictured below), coming from a mixed beef and sheep farm in north Devon.
It had a JD 583 loader and eventually closed at a higher-than-expected £23,350, while another JD 6320 with MX T10 loader sold for £19,250.
Grassland kit looked to be in strong demand, given the time of year, with a 2012 Vicon RF3325 fixed-chamber baler moving from Barnstaple to Beaminster for £9,250.
Other notable items included a Claas Liner 2900 twin rotor that made £9,000, a Kuhn FC313 mower conditioner that went for just £3,000, and a retro New Holland D1000 large square baler, which found a new home in Newquay for £3,200.
Bill Pepper, Cheffins director and auctioneer, reckons this new look could continue for a while. “This is the first time in our history that we have hosted our monthly sale with online bidding only and, until restrictions are relaxed further, this could be our modus operandi for a few months yet.”