Cheffins' sprawling second-hand equipment auction at Cambridge in England last week, on April 3, saw sales up 40% on last year. The company says that exchange rates, a scarcity of machinery and loyal sellers are continuing to push trade up – month-on-month.

"Just over 300 tractors were entered this month," said Bill Pepper, Cheffins' Director. "This is less than we’d normally expect but a reflection of the current shortage of second-hand tractors.

"Trade was slightly softer than last month, but spirited bidding resulted in the vast majority of lots being sold – with some good prices.


"As ever, anything that had been obviously well cared for attracted the money, even if it had a bit of age about it.

"A direct-from-farm Case IH 4240 XL with a loader nudged £8,700. Another farmer-entered tractor in the form of a Fiatagri F100 made over £8,500. A smart 1991 Renault 90-34 touched £7,000.

An aged Ford TW30, but showing its years well, changed hands for some £6,800. A Case IH 1056 XL with the desirable air-con sought £7,000. The 'star of the show' – a 1985 Fiatagri 180-90 – showing just 4,560 hours stormed to nearly £17,000 and was worth every penny!

"£13,000 was paid for a 2006 Claas 826 RZ, destined for Hungary. A 1997 Renault Ares 630, showing 6,000 hours, commanded £8,500 and is headed east to the Czech Republic.

"The McCormick trade improved, with a lovely 2006 CX105 off to the Republic of Ireland for £14,500."

Massey and Ford / New Holland trade

The trade for Massey Ferguson and Ford / New Holland tractors was dominated by Irish buyers – north and south, according to Cheffins.

A 2009 6495 topped £26,000. £14,000 was paid for a 4270 with a loader. A 2008 ex-county council 3645 hit £11,000, while an imported 4255 with a loader did well at £12,500. Another Massey, a 2004 5465 with a loader, made £14,500.


New Holland entries included a trio of direct-from-farm machines. A 7840, 8260 and 8360 – all circa 1996 – achieved £7,000, £8,700 and £9,200 respectively. A "sharp, little" TD95D on a ‘55-plate topped £10,500. £26,000 was paid for a 2011 T6080.

Other brands

The John Deere trade was dominated, unsurprisingly, by European buyers taking advantage of favourable exchange rates. R Series tractors, according to Cheffins, are now finding buyers amongst the regular clientele. Deals done this month included a 2012 6210R (below) for £46,000.


A 2013 version made £12,000 more. A 2014 6150R topped £39,000 and a 6125R of the same age made almost £44,000.

A John Deere 8530 (below) achieved the top price of the day at £56,000.


The biggest tractor was a 2001 Case IH STX 440 (below), which sold for £32,000. Both it and the aforementioned John Deere 8530 are off to Germany.


According to Cheffins, the most sought after tractors on the day were probably the JCB Fastracs. Pepper explained: "We just about sold out; the top machine was a 2007 3200 for £29,000.

Sale 'number two' at the auction saw older tractors being sold to buyers from Kenya, Sudan, Lebanon and Europe. Stocks of these older tractors – typically Massey Ferguson models but some other brands too – are running low, said Pepper. "With the improving trade, entries of such are invited for next month."

Demand for plant equipment

Following its "initial success" in March, this month’s 'drive-through' plant sale reportedly held on well to the audience of potential buyers collected in the marquee building for its kick-off just before 3pm. Buyers competed for the varied line up of backhoes, telescopic handlers, loading shovels, rollers and dumpers that were on offer.


Being in short supply, JCB 3CXs created the most interest – with buyers from the UAE, Lebanon, Sri Lanka and the UK ensuring that all were sold. Top prices included two 2004 'Powershift' models – one at just over £20,000 and another just over £21,000. 'Manual' variants from 1994, 1995 and 1997 made £12,000, just over £13,000 and just under £21,000 respectively.

The talking point was a 2001 'Powershift' 3CX from a training college with just 1,300 hours on the clock; it made over £24,000.

A very low-houred, early 1990s Massey 50HX, with a telegraph pole grab, also sold well. It exceeded its £8,500 reserve by almost 20%.

A slightly lower entry of telescopic handlers also benefited from the 'drive past' approach. Sales did, however, prove to rather brand 'sensitive'. Unusually, Manitou machines struggled to find new owners on this occasion. So too did Merlos. It was JCB that mopped up the demand – from Ireland, Ukraine, Spain and the UK.

Farm machinery under the hammer

A selection of machinery was offered at the auction. Spreader trade was quieter than previous months; a reasonable percentage sold to buyers from all corners of Europe.


According to Cheffins, trailers continue to be in demand – with all makes and models being sought after. Ifor Williams examples are apparently as popular as ever. A Marston 10t grain trailer was the star, crashing past its reserve before closing out at just under £4,000.

Baler trade was reportedly very good on Monday, with round, conventional and big square examples creating a lot of interest. Pepper said: "European and overseas customers competed keenly for their choice models and online bidding was as strong as ever. One of the stand-out examples was a splendid McHale F540 which, after much bidding, eventually sold at over £7,000.

The next sale will be on Monday, May 8, at the Sutton Sale Ground. The spring vintage sale, which will include over 3,000 lots, will take place earlier – on April 22 – at the same venue.