Looking for a bargain? Curious to know where all that ‘Wreckers Yard’ machinery ends up when the flames finally go out? Emily Padfield visited Hewitt International, the salvage company used by the NFU Mutual.
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Walking round Hewitt’s salvage yard is like being a small child in Hamley’s toy shop – you don’t know where to start.
Combines, balers, fertiliser spreaders, Mitsubushi Evo IVs, you name it, it’s there. There are even one or two Bentleys parked up amid the Nissans.
The agricultural machinery partnership between the NFU Mutual and Hewitt International was set up with four aims. “As environmental legislation came in, machines that would have previously laid in the yard are now legally bound to be scrapped and given a waste transfer certificate,” says Adam Hewitt.
By grouping all the equipment in one place, the new set-up has also given farmers a better chance to get their hands on a bargain. “Previously, all salvage was sold through a closed tender process to a small panel of buyers.”
This helps NFU Mutual’s bottom line by maximising returns andso benefits the farmers whose machines were the subject of claims.
“If a baler gets burnt out, the priority for the farmer is to get a new baler as quickly as possible,” says Mr Hewitt. “An engineer rings us, and we give an estimation of what it will return as salvage. This means NFU Mutual can accurately construct a total loss, and instead of losing the whole amount, they know what they will be able to make, pay out quicker and the farmer can get on with baling.”
Machinery is assessed by NFU Mutual before collection and put into four classes: A, B, C and D.
- Category A items are sent straight to the de-pollution unit to have their oils dropped, fluids taken out and then be baled.
- Category B items sold for spares.
- Category C items are defined asbeing harder to repair and financially unviable to do so by the assessors.
- Category D items are considered easily repairable, but have been writen off by assessors who price for new parts for repair purposes.
Farmers who are handy with a welding torch and have a bit of time on their hands in the winter can be clever, reckons Mark Titley, agricultural yard manager.
“By buying something that is category C, they can strip the cat B piece and use it to make a complete unit with the cat C machine at relatively low cost,” he says.
“We have one customer who buys perhaps two or three written-off stock trailers and makes a completely new item,” says Mr Titley. This goes for mowers, toppers, fertiliser spreaders, even the odd sprayer cab lurking around the yard.
Roadworthy machines, such as loaders and tractors, cannot be put back on the road unless they are category D, which come complete with a log-book, he adds.
All items that arrive on the 25ha (60-acre) site are posted on www.agrisalvage.com immediately. Sales begin at 7am every other Friday, where they will remain for 10 days until the auction finishes at 5pm on the Monday. Farmers and buyers can view items every Thursday.
The 3500 registered users are vetted and references have to be given before they can bid. Those without a computer can visit the site and usethe hub in the office. If they have questions about the item they want to bid on they can talk to Mr Titley.
So who buys this stuff? Having every item on the internet means buyers come from as far as eastern Europe. “We have several regular bulk buyers from Poland, and a few from Ireland. But everybody has an equal chance of getting a good deal,” he adds.
See our Massey Ferguson MF8690 Video