After 99 years farming near Blandford, earlier this autumn the Harding family decided to wind up their mixed arable and livestock operation.

Their entire fleet was put up for auction, along with an even greater number of introduced lots, making for one of the biggest sales of the year.

Prices for second-hand kit have remained incredibly strong for the past three to four years, but there were signs that the trade may just be starting to slacken, according to Symonds and Sampson auctioneer Greg Ridout.

See also: Legal tips for buying and selling second-hand machinery

“Lower value machinery is still very much holding its own, but prices for higher end kit – in excess of £40,000-£50,000 – are beginning to come under pressure.

“Much of this will be down to the squeeze on farming margins through increased costs and weakening commodity prices. But high interest rates are also making their presence felt.

“Any manufacturer still offering 0% finance therefore looks more attractive than ever, further suppressing demand in the top tier of the second-hand market.”

Though there was a good number of introduced lots from local dealers wanting to offload trade-ins, the sale saw several of these fail to make their reserves.

“We’ve seen a particularly buoyant second-hand market fuelled by struggles obtaining new kit, with the result that strong money was paid for some of these part-exchange machines.

“They’ve subsequently sat around in dealers’ yards unsold and tying up capital,” explains Greg.

“With the machinery market dropping due to lower commodity prices, vendors should price their items accordingly, with many having to take a loss on those bought during the peak of the trade.

“However, saying this, there is still a keen demand for well-maintained equipment within the more affordable price bracket up to £25,000.”

*Prices quoted exclude a £300 buyer’s premium.

What was on offer?

Despite having a stepless AutoCommand transmission, front linkage and a whole raft of optional extras, bids for this 2022 1,021-hour New Holland T7.245 only stretched to £84,000, with the result that it returned to its contract hire owner.

New Holland T7.245

© Nick Fone

With the clock showing 5,125 hours, this 64-plate John Deere 6125R with Quicke Q56 loader and 40kph AutoQuad gearbox made £44,000.

John Deere 6125R

© Nick Fone

Although it had done some 13,500 hours hard labour, this 20-year-old John Deere 6220 with 631 loader and PowrQuad box reached the dizzy heights of £19,800.

John Deere 6220

© Nick Fone

With just shy of 80,000 miles showing on the odometer, this no-frills 2009 Land Rover Defender hit £17,000.

The 2015 Honda TRX500 to the right made £4,800 with 926 hours on the clock.

Land Rover Defender

© Nick Fone

Just two years old and with 1,686 hours under its belt, the farm’s New Holland TH7.42 telehandler was fully loaded with just about every imaginable extra. It went out the gate for £51,500.

New Holland TH7.42

© Nick Fone

With 30m VG booms, 10-section auto shutoff, auto boom height, Ag Leader guidance and a full set of rowcrop wheels, this 2018 Bateman RB35 made £97,300. It had done just short of 5,700 hours’ work.

Bateman RB35

© Nick Fone

Having been kept impressively tidy over its 5,346 hours on a local dairy farm, this 2018 Case Farmall 115C HD with Quicke Q4 loader went under the hammer for £28,400.

Case Farmall 115C HD with Quicke Q4

© Nick Fone

After racking up more than 8,100 hours with Dorset contractor Bernard Cox in just four years, this fully specced Case Puma 220 Multicontroller made £39,200.

Case Puma 220 Multicontroller

© Nick Fone

A local contractor’s 2012 Claas Lexion 750 Montana sold for £65,500 on 1,625 drum hours and 2,588 engine hours, helped by a full package of GPS, yield mapping, moisture meter, 9m (30ft) Vario header, side-knives and dust extractor.

Claas Lexion 750 Montana

© Nick Fone

Similarly specced, this tracked 2012 Lexion 760 TT with 10.5m (35ft) Vario cutter came from the same home but had amassed 2,324 threshing hours and more than 3,000 engine hours.

It failed to sell, despite bids making it up into the mid-£60,000s.

Lexion 760 TT

© Nick Fone

One of a pair of New Holland combines taken as trade-ins by a local dealer in 2022, this 12-year-old CR9080 Elevation had the full Intellisteer III GPS package plus yield and moisture monitoring.

With 1,982 drum hours and 2,670 engine hours, it made £67,500. Its six-walker CX8080 stablemate failed to make its reserve despite having significantly fewer hours on the clock.

New Holland CR9080 Elevation

© Nick Fone

Just 18 months old with 1,725 hours on the clock, this Valtra T235 with G7M loader was up for sale as a result of a terminated contract farming arrangement.

Equipped with Direct 57kph CVT gearbox, RTK auto-steering, front links and pto, plus all sorts of other extras, it had warranty to 5,000 hours and made £94,000.

Valtra T235

© Nick Fone

The hammer went down at £23,500 for this tidy 2008 John Deere 6530 with 40kph PowrQuad stick-shift box, front axle suspension (but no cab damping) and 7,551 hours on the dash.

John Deere 6530

© Nick Fone

Ultimate-spec with CommandPro armrest and joystick, this 7,000-hour 2018 Deere 6250R and a similar spec 6155R with half the hours both failed to make their reserves.

John Deere 6250R

© Nick Fone

With 40kph Autoquad gearbox, front linkage and suspension all round, this six-year-old, 6,900-hour JD 6135R went under the hammer for £37,500.

John Deere 6135R

© Nick Fone

An unknown vintage with unknown hours, this 2wd Ford 4630 still managed to make £4,400.

Ford 4630

© Nick Fone

This compact Chinese Landlegend DF404 was 12 years old but had racked up just 381 hours. Complete with dinky loader, it topped out at £7,800.

Landlegend DF404

© Nick Fone

Maybe not the most popular sprayer brand, this Kuhn Metris was highly specced with auto-section control, auto contour, isobus and a steering axle. Five years old, it made £25,000.

Kuhn Metris sprayer

© Nick Fone

£10,000 secured this 2016 VW Amarok with a 2-litre TDi engine and auto gearbox. It had 115,000 miles on the dash.

VW Amarok

© Nick Fone

This well-worn West 1600 Dual spreader made £1,100, while the battle-weary 14T K-Two rear discharge got up to £9,200. A tidier Samson SP15 topped out at £15,000.

West 1600 Dual spreader

© Nick Fone

One of a pair of unused 2020 New Holland-branded Kongskilde spring tine cultivators, this 7.5m unit sold for £9,400. The 5.9m version didn’t make its reserve.

New Holland-branded Kongskilde spring tine cultivator

© Nick Fone

Other kit on offer…

  • 2008 6,300ha 4m Vaderstad Rapid – £12,600
  • 2004 4t Bredal twin-belt fertiliser spreader – £5,600
  • 2007 Kongskilde Delta 3 grubber cultivator – £3,000
  • 2001 Kverneland three-leg auto-reset subsoiler – £1,700
  • 2018 Opico three-leg Swardlifter – £3,700
  • 2017 Six-furrow Kverneland KRPG-100 plough – £15,400
  • 2016 8.3m Cousins HZ Cambridge rollers – £7,300
  • Unknown age 6.3m Twose Cambridge rollers – £3,600
  • 2019 3.6m Watson end-tow flat roller – £5,700
  • 2003 5m Vaderstad Carrier – £5,200
  • 2012 2.8m Kuhn flail topper – £2,300
  • 2011 3.2m Lely mower-conditioner – £5,000
  • 2020 3.2m Krone EasyCut mower-conditioner – £8,000
  • 2012 Lely Hibiscus single-rotor rake – £3,700
  • 2012 Kuhn six-rotor tedder – £4,400
  • 2014 Lely Lotus six-rotor tedder – £4,600
  • 2016 Claas Liner 2900 twin-rotor rake – £8,000
  • 2021 3,450-bale New Holland Roll-Belt 180 CropCutter round baler – £16,000
  • 2003 55,000-bale McHale 991 round bale wrapper – £4,000
  • 2006 AS Marston ACE 12 trailer – £6,200
  • 1985 AS Marston 8-tonners x3 – £2,150-£2,600
  • 2005 AS Marston 28-foot bale trailer – £3,600
  • 2016 Shelbourne 457 hedgetrimmer – £8,400
  • 2007 trailed Teagle Tomahawk 8080 bale shredder – £3,700
  • 2017 railed Lucas G Castor bale shredder – £6,500
  • 2013 Ifor Williams TA510-G stock box – £3,300
  • Unknown age Ifor Williams DP120 tri-axle stock box – £2,950