Hundreds of farmers gather for machinery auction

Francis Barber, who scours the sale for planters and garden features

Francis Barber, who scours the sale for planters and garden features - Credit: Archant

One of the most important events in the Cotswolds agricultural calendar attracted hundreds of farmers to an abandoned airfield this week.

Ben Dudfield, who celebrates his 80th birthday this year

Ben Dudfield, who celebrates his 80th birthday this year - Credit: Archant

The 850 lot collective machinery auction at Southrop Airfield, between Lechlade and Fairford, is a chance for farmers to buy and sell implements, tools and requisites – anything from a wheel barrow to a flat bed lorry.

Auctioneer Mark Hill leads the bidding on one of the 850 lots

Auctioneer Mark Hill leads the bidding on one of the 850 lots - Credit: Archant

But, as auctioneer Mark Hill of Cirencester-based agricultural agents Moore Allen & Innocent explained, it’s also an opportunity for farmers to catch up with old friends.

Farmers bidding on one of the 850 lots

Farmers bidding on one of the 850 lots - Credit: Archant

“Besides the serious business of buying and selling, it’s a great social event,” he said. “Farmers are busy people, and the nature of their jobs means they don’t often have the opportunity to meet others from within the industry.”

Auctioneer Mark Hill starts the bidding on Lot 1

Auctioneer Mark Hill starts the bidding on Lot 1 - Credit: Archant

That was certainly the case for Ben Dudfield, from Bourton-on-the-Water, who celebrates his 80th birthday this year. “I farmed until 1960,” said Ben, “but I still come along to these sales to meet people from the farming community.

A farmer takes a break from bidding

A farmer takes a break from bidding - Credit: Archant

“Farming has changed a lot. There are certain implements here that I have to stop, and look, and work out what they do.”

And not everyone at the auction was a farmer. Francis Barber, who runs a landscaping and reclamation business at Kelmscott, near Lechlade, bid on items he thought would make interesting features for his clients’ gardens.

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“I’m looking for old machinery that can have a change of use. Old troughs make excellent planters,” said Francis (55) who has been attending Moore Allen’s agriculture sales since he was a schoolboy.

Auctioneers reported brisk trade at the auction, held on Wednesday, June 5, with good results achieved across the board and 380 registered bidders.

The top price of the day was £9,600paid for a Moore 4m Unidrill, and a total of £112,000 worth of machinery and equipment was bought and sold on the day.

For more information about forthcoming agricultural auctions, log on to www.mooreallen.co.uk