Year’s ‘biggest farm machinery auction’ to take place following amalgamation at Thurlow Estate Farms

ONE of the largest farm machinery auctions for the past year takes place on May 17 in Cambridgeshire when 400 lots go under the hammer.

It follows Thurlow Estate Farms Ltd’s decision to amalgamate three farms into one, and to invest in modern precision equipment to reap economies of scale and environmental protection, as set out in the farm’s strategy.

Andrew Crossley, farming director at Thurlow, said: “We are planning to use a high level of technology, modern machinery and methodology to increase efficiency but equally importantly target our variable cost expenditure.”

One change from the amalgamation is cropping, which, from next season, will be grouped more strategically than was previously possible when the farms were run as three units. This will create blocks of adjacent fields with the same crop, making daily operations much more efficient, Mr Crossley explained.

Cheffins auctioneers will be holding the auction, which will include a significant proportion of the machinery from the in-hand farming operations.

Bill King of Cheffins said: “We reckon this will be the biggest on-site auction for the past 12 months - and possibly for the year ahead, matched only by the sale we carried out in February last year for Wilson Farming. The Thurlow sale includes nine late registered MF and Case tractors ranging from 180hp to 310hp, two Bateman RB35 and one John Deere 5430 self-propelled sprayers, three JCB 530-70 material handlers and a comprehensive range of cultivation tackle - a total of more than 400 lots.”

He expects a lot of overseas interest as, in the first four months of 2012, Cheffins has seen increasing demand for second hand machinery following recent increases in the price of new machinery and a weak pound encouraging exporters to exploit the UK market for used machinery.

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Cheffis was enjoying record sales as increasing numbers of farmers look for an alternative to buying new, and overseas buyers flock here, he said.