Cheffins, the UK-based auction house best known for its farm machinery sales, has posted its latest results for the second quarter of 2021.

The figures are quite cheering if you happen to be a seller of machinery, or even an auctioneer, but they are a little more painful for those who are in the market to buy.

The company claims to conduct the largest monthly sale of second-hand tractors and agricultural machinery in the world. It also holds regular sales for vintage and classic machinery.

Cheffins sale results up 25%

It has recently reported sales of over £9.4 million (€10.9 million) for the three months of April, May and June of this year.

This was purely at the Cambridge monthly machinery sales, held at the firm’s dedicated site near Ely, Cambridgeshire.

The total for this second quarter was 25% higher than for sales in the first quarter, which had already grossed £7.5 million (€8.7 million).

Each of the three auctions in the second quarter achieved strong results, with April grossing £2.8 million (€3.2 million), May £3.9 million (€4.5 million) and June £2.7 million €3.1 million).

Strong export demand

Over 40% of the sales in Q2 were exported out of the UK. The most active countries purchasing machinery included Ireland, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria and Sudan.

Cheffins sales ground
Cheffins sales ground

Oliver Godfrey, director of Cheffins Machinery Sales, happily points to the reasons which he believes underlines this performance.

The first point he addresses is whether it is an increased turnover of machines, or an increased value of each machine that accounts for the uplift.

“The second quarter of this year has been characterised by a lack of stock and as a result, growing values across all sections of the sales. As stock levels plateaued throughout 2021, the values achieved per lot have increased, and this, coupled with some good quality entries, has ensured that the gross sales for Q2 have been well in excess of the previous quarter.”

Supply side issues boost demand

He also notes that the present restrictions have adversely affected the supply chains for tractors, and all new machinery in general.

John Deere sold at Cheffins
Other notable sales included a 2016 John Deere 6215R tractor which sold for £53,000

Farmers and contractors have seen delays in delivery of new equipment, usually due to a shortage of components. The effect is to create a mounting pressure on the second-hand market.

“Prices are growing as farmers and contractors seek out quality machinery, whilst the export market has come back in full force, following the slight lull in sales due to the complications around phytosanitary certification,” he added.

Farmers resume investment plans

Besides being a reflection of hold-ups in the supply chain, Godfrey believes that the results display a returning faith in the future of the farming sector.

“Whilst long-running concerns over subsidies and export trade post-Brexit, have put a dampener on prospects for farming across the UK in recent years, as government funding strategies continue to take shape, we have seen an increase in the number of farmers bringing forward business plans and making long-term decisions to be able to react to the implementation of new grants and subsidy schemes.

“The realisation that there is still a market for produce, combined with the fiscal stimulation implemented by the UK government, has boosted farmers confidence.”

This, in turn, has encouraged an increase in investment in machinery and brought forward plans for replacement and renewal. Further tax breaks announced in the latest budget will only underline this trend, according to Godfrey.