Machinery sale returns after coronavirus lockdown

The world’s largest monthly farm machinery sale has taken place for the first time in six months at the Cheffins showground in Cambridgeshire.

Some 2,000 lots of machinery – including about 430 tractors – went under the hammer at the sale ground at Sutton, Ely, on Monday (7 September).

“It’s lovely to be back,” said auctioneer Bill Pepper, head of machinery at Cheffins, who welcomed back bidders after the coronavirus lockdown.

Bill Pepper in front of tractors

Auctioneer Bill Pepper said it was “lovely to be back”

See also: Tractor sales slump persists amid weather and virus impact

“I can’t believe that we haven’t had any live auctions for six months – the last live auction we had was back in March.”


One or two lots required more TLC than others

Agriculture equipment

The sale had something for everyone keen on a bargain

Machinery was sold successfully online, while the sale ground was closed during the lockdown, and had proved very popular, said Mr Pepper.

But many bidders said there was nothing like the buzz of attending a live auction.

As well as tractors, sales included about 450 lots of cultivation equipment and 350 lots of plant and associated machinery.

Sales included a New Holland T7.260 tractor (£38,200), a 2012 John Deere 6210R (£42,500), and a 2017 Massey Ferguson 7718 (£51,000).

Plant and agricultural equipment in line

The auction included plant as well as agricultural equipment

People in masks looking at tractors

The auction was attended by buyers from across the world

‘Way of life’

Stephen Walmsley, managing director of Walmsley Tractors, travelled to the sale ground from Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.

“We sell a few tractors for export here. We mostly sell; we tend to buy privately,” he said.

“It’s sort of a way of life for us – we’ve been doing it for 50 years now, so we are a long time at the job and coronavirus has been a complete disruption.”

James Harrison, of dealers Harrison Tractors – who are based at nearby March – was at the sale ground looking at some Manitou telehandlers.

“You do miss the place – a lot of our business contacts are here,” he said.

“We always come to have a look – we don’t really buy much out of here, but it’s good to look around to see what the market is doing.”

Workers getting tractors started

Some of the older tractors needed a helping hand to get started

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