A Co Down machinery dealer is claiming that cross-border sales of second-hand tractors have increased dramatically since the Brexit vote.

This has all to do with currency, Randal McConnell, managing director of the Lisburn- based John Deere dealership Johnston Gilpin Ltd said.

"The proportion of sales to the Republic of Ireland has risen from zero to 20% in the wake of the Brexit vote.

"Since then we have seen the significant devaluation of Sterling against the euro and this factor alone is encouraging farmers and contractors to look north for high quality, second hand tractors and other machinery items."

McConnell also confirmed that the price of new tractors, all of which are manufactured in Germany, has increased by almost 10%, in Sterling terms, since the end of June.

“But price is not the only factor kicking in when it comes to purchasing a new tractor,” he said.

Increasingly, farmers and contractors are recognising the benefits that will accrue from the inclusion of new technology such as GPS, Auto Track or even a basic guidance system when they purchase a new tractor.

“The reality is that the new technologies coming through work extremely within the confines of the small field sizes that predominate in this part of the world.

“For example, it has been shown that the inclusion of a basic guidance system alone will allow farmers and contractors reduce costs by between 8% and 10%, with regard to most field operations that they undertake.”

Ian Timmons, from Meath Farm Machinery, said that currency movements had not impacted on the level of second hand machinery sales generated by the business.

However, he also agreed that price is no longer the key factor when it comes to a farmer or contractor buying a tractor or any other piece of equipment.

It’s all about the level of service available and the wherewithal of the dealership team to work on a partnership basis with customers.

Meanwhile, Claas UK sales director Jeremy Wiggins is confirming that it has been very much ‘business as usual’ for the machinery sector since the EU membership referendum.

“Farm machinery sales in the UK have fallen by around 20% over the past 12 months across most lines,” he said.

“We are expecting that new machinery sales will remain steady over the coming year. But the recent fall in the value of Sterling is helping to boost second hand machinery sales from the UK to mainland Europe.

“In fact, secondary markets are now as an important element within the machinery sales equation as are the primary customers for new equipment items.”