“We sold over 100 tractors last year, far more than we normally would,” Ciaran Hennessy, of the midlands-based family run auctioneers, told Agriland this week.

He believes that this renewed interest in selling through an auction is due to several reasons, one of which is that an auction is the purest way of placing a value on an item.

Putting a price on it

“Sellers can often be unsure of just what they should be asking for,” he said.

“Tractors have lingered on listing sites for months, but they can sell immediately in an auction.”

Machinery hennessy auction
Weel cared for machinery of all types is in demand as bottlenecks in the supply chain increase the del time for new items

This does not mean to say that the farmer has to accept a lower than anticipated price, it can work both ways.

Recently, one vendor placed a €10,000 reserve on a tractor that enjoyed a bidding war which took it up to over €17,000, Ciaran recalls.

A safe and secure trading point

Other incentives to bring tractors to the auction yard include the strong prices that they are currently making and that they offer a neutral area for prospective buyers to view the machines.

Dealers are also starting to place more equipment in the ring. One of the main reasons for this is that they don’t always have the time or resources to service older tractors and are moving them back onto the market as quickly as possible.

Hennessy auction Fiat
The number and variety of tractors being offered at auction is growing

Ciaran also notes that the long waiting lists and sharp price increases have meant that farmers are out looking for good, secondhand machinery instead of buying new, and good equipment is finding a host of keen buyers.

However, not everything is in demand; tractors of 200hp or more seldom find a buyer. Experience has shown that the 120-160hp bracket is where there is the greatest interest.

The golden oldies

Heading the list of tractors that are sure to attract attention at this month’s sale is a Fiat 110-90 that underwent a full restoration around five years ago.

Fiat 110-90 auction
This Fiat 110-90 has been used primarily on a straw blower since its full restoration

In addition to the six-cylinder engine being rebuilt, it was was ‘breathed upon’ in the process and now reads 130hp when hooked up to a dynameter. It certainly has a throaty exhaust note, which the original lacked.

Ford 3600 at Hennessy machinery auction
Will these old Fords ever die? Although the cab is in need of some TLC, it started and ran on the day

There is always the fear that with tractors bought at auction, any problems become those of the new owner.

Yet in the world of classic tractors, those problems are usually fixed without too much ado. Parts for old Fords, for instance, are easy to come by and older Zetors were never complex tractors.

Zetor tractors auction
A six-cylinder Zetor that happily fired up and ran although the exact model is unverified

Workhorses for today

Auctions are not just about classic tractors, bargain-priced power is also available for those looking to increase the overall performance of their fleet.

tractor power 130 Hennessy
Offering an intended 130hp, this John Deere 7600 has 10,000 hours showing but still looks in fine fettle

Buying tractors supported by a good network of dealers should not hold any great fears for prospective purchasers. Everything suffers an issue at some point, so the question becomes how easily can it be fixed?

Hennessy workhorse machinery
New Hollands are popular tractors in Ireland with no shortage of back up. This T7.200 offers 155hp and was first registered in the UK

With implements growing in size alongside that of farms, the demand has shifted to 120hp+ to typically run a large mixer wagon and a decent set of mowers. I50hp ideally fills the bill and tractors of this size sell easily.

Auction Hennessy machinery
Right in the middle of the desirable power bracket comes the Deutz Fahr M620 with 155hp on tap

Not just tractors at Hennessy auction

While the big ticket items tend to be the tractors, farmers still need plenty of other items to keep a farm going.

Auctions provide the ability to buy and sell surplus equipment in an arena that is basically fair and transparent.

items at auction hennessy
New and unused items surplus to dealers stock can also be had at auction

The enforced trend towards online auctions has served to increase the number of potential bidders, as it becomes more widely appreciated that a physical presence is not required on the day.

There is no doubt in Ciaran’s mind that this has helped move prices upwards as the net is thrown wider and more farmers have access to the bidding process.

Farm equipment auction
A good selection of trailers will be available at this auction, most appearing to be in good working order

Far from being a terminal blow to the auction house, recent events have actually reinforced and strengthened its role in the farm machinery market, Ciaran Hennessy believes.

Hennessy sale

Hennessys are naturally keen to build upon this development and are keen to promote the idea that Irish-based auctions should become the first stop for buying used tractors, rather than a taking a trip over the water.

The February sale commences at 10:30a.m on Saturday February 26. Lots are situated at Portlaoise, just off J17 of the M17. They may be viewed during normal opening hours.

Online bidding is available through the appropriate app.