Farm Tender

The rise of online Farm Machinery Auctions

By Kelsey Miller - DelayPay

It is out of the box….if I had said to you 12 months ago that people would purchase a $150K second-hand tractor or header unseen via an online auction would you have said I was crazy or peering into the future?  

Fast forward 12 months and with a combination of the commercial reality induced by COVID-19 and pretty wide spread rain along the east coast (and the confidence that comes with it), there has been an explosion in the online sale of farm equipment, especially via auction.  

On AuctionPlus alone there are seventeen online machinery and clearing sales happening this week.

Over the past few months I have spoken to a number of our customers about this and the reasons they give as to why they have made the move fall into a couple buckets:

  1. Less time wasted – no more losing a day heading off to a sale hoping for a bargain and coming home disappointed if you miss out.
  2. Easier to gauge pricing – you get in the moment information on what a piece of equipment is worth. It’s easy to get a sense of price on something you are looking at purchasing in a couple of weeks time.
  3. It’s simple – the technology is well established so it’s pretty straightforward to put a bid on and follow the prompts if you win.  

As always with market disruption there will be winners and losers. It is probably a bit early to tell what impact this shift will have on more traditional machinery dealers with shop fronts and agents who seek to stick with localised clearing sales.  

What is more certain is that the second hand machinery market is likely to remain hot. A combination of less new gear coming into the country along with the extension of government incentives due to COVID will likely drive further buying after harvest.  

For those not willing or able to make the shift to selling farm equipment online, this could lead to a false sense of security as volumes could remain strong via more traditional channels due to high demand. When the next downturn comes, it might be a different story.

Like it or not I think the change towards digital auctions of secondhand gear is here to stay, not to climb aboard will be more dangerous than giving it a go for sellers.  

For buyers, you might miss the social aspects of a good clearing sale, but the time saving and simplicity of buying online are hard to ignore so if you haven’t already, get aboard and give it a go.