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Making the most of online machinery auctions

Online machinery auctions provide a novel opportunity to sell surplus farm machinery and equipment while saving vendors and buyers time and effort.


They also enable vendors to showcase their lots to a global audience, particularly useful given the current relative weakness of sterling, which is making used equipment from UK farms very attractive to international buyers.


Auctioneer Simon Wearmouth of Brown & Co says the market demand for online machinery auctions is driven by farmers that need to sell single or small numbers of pieces of machinery, rather than those with sufficient machinery to justify an onsite dispersal sale.


“Such transactions can be difficult if there is no local dispersal sale planned to which they can add their lots. Even if there is, there is no guarantee that vendors won’t have to haul unsold lots home again.


“Understandably, many sellers are also reluctant to spend time and money hauling machinery to sales further afield.”


An online auction requires no more time than it takes to describe the machine, take some photographs and email them to the sale organiser. If the lot remains unsold it doesn’t cost a penny, says Mr Wearmouth.


Brown & Co has become a leader in this relatively new method of marketing machinery since establishing its quarterly National Online Timed Machinery Auction service in 2013.


The company has sold machinery on behalf of vendors from Inverness to Padstow and regularly to buyers from across the globe, including USA, New Zealand, North Africa, Eastern and Central Europe.


The next quarterly sale opens for bidding on 1 September. Details are being circulated to Brown & Co’s extensive database, which consists of many thousands of buyers from around the world.


“Our website attracts private and trade buyers, which combined with national advertising of online sales, will ensure a client’s farm machinery and equipment has the widest possible coverage to the market,” says Mr Wearmouth.


“By following a few simple guidelines, vendors and buyers can make the most of this opportunity.”


Vendors can request an entry form and return it completed to Brown & Co in good time (ideally three weeks prior to the sale) to ensure that their items can feature in national advertising, he says. 


“We also need a range of good quality photographs for each lot. For tractors, it is quite handy to have a short video of it starting up and running.


“We can then can upload the details to our website and buyers can enquire directly to us for details of each lot. Buyers can also discuss the lot with the vendors and arrange to view the lot.”


Interested buyers can then register to bid in the auction and have a 10-day window in which to place their bids for the lots that are of interest.


Subject to lots exceeding their reserve, the successful buyer is emailed an invoice after the close of the sale. “Once we are in receipt of cleared funds, we notify both parties and the buyer is then able to make contact with the vendor and arrange collection,” says Mr Wearmouth.


For further information on the next quarterly online auction go to


Examples of lots sold online include:

·         2006 Claas Lexion 600 Combine Harvester sold in April 2014 for £75,000

·         2012 Fendt 720 Profi Plus Tractor sold in July 2016 for £68,000

·         2006 Challenger MT765B Crawler sold in July 2016 for £48,000

·         1998 Bateman RB15 Self Propelled Sprayer sold in July 2016 for £23,500

·         2013 McConnel PA5455 Hedge Cutter sold in March 2015 for £9,200

            ·         Argo Avenger Amphibious vehicle sold in September 2015 for £3000 

Simon Wearmouth