Versatile popular at Goodlands clearing sale conducted by Westcoast Wool & Livestock

By Mal Gill
Updated April 5 2022 - 10:29am, first published April 3 2022 - 11:00pm
Kane Grima, KA & TB Grima, Mullewa, will run two air seeders to put this year's crop in, having paid top price at the sale of $285,000 for this Ausplow Multistream 15,000 litre air cart and matching 18.2 metres Ausplow Auseeder D300 DBS bar set at 300 millimetre spacings with 228mm blades.

A BIDDING dual between corporate farmer and corporate machinery dealer over an almost 40-year-old Versatile tractor was one of several high-priced highlights of Westcoast Wool & Livestock's Goodlands clearing sale last week.

Two bidders, both shy about revealing their names - one bidding in person for Apache Investments Australia Pty Ltd which has Wheatbelt and Great Southern farming interests and the other bidding to phone instructions from Dardanup-registered machinery dealer Bythorne Contracting Pty Ltd - were the combatants.

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Apache representatives had attended several recent clearing sales where big four wheel drive Versatile tractors had been offered and Bythorne had also been at sales buying machinery at the larger end of the scale, so the die was cast for a showdown over the 350kW Versatile 1150 at Goodlands.

It had 8203 hours showing and with dual wheels and serviceable tyres all round, seemed ready to be put straight to work.

Apache Investments' representatives found the Versatile 4x4 articulated tractor they have been looking for at the Goodlands clearing sale. They were confident this 350kW relatively rare 1150 model will provide relatively cheap horsepower and mechanical reliability at $70,000, despite being nearly 40 years old. Pictured are Apache representatives Casey Roberts (left), Mukinbudin and his senior colleague who did not want to give his name, with vendor Derwent Barrett-Lennard.

Westcoast Wool & Livestock's Chris Hartley, who shared auctioneering duties on the day with Jeremy Green to get through the 353 lots offered, called $25,000 on the Versatile to open bidding and from there the price rose rapidly in increments of $1000.

A new bidder entered the fray at $46,000 but by about $55,000 it was clear the contest was down to the two who alternated with bids, auctioneer Hartley turning from one to the other then back again.

At $70,000, a slight shake of a broad-brim hatted head, still with a phone to the ear, indicated the bidder in the shirt with a discreet Apache logo had claimed the Versatile.

Undeterred, the man in the hat on the phone for Bythorne contested the next lot, a big 4x4 Case IH 9380 Steiger tractor with 5564 hours showing and on triple rims and tyres.

This time bidding opened at $50,000 and progressed in $2000 increments to $62,000, at which stage Mr Hartley said he would accept $1000 increases.

Fred Powell (left), Jerramungup and Laurie Pearce, Moulyinning, came up to Goodlands specifically to check out three off-road bikes on offer. The Triumph Tiger 800 XCX they are looking at sold later to VDM Services Pty Ltd, Merredin, for $6000.

Bidding then progressed more slowly to again finish at $70,000, but this time the man bidding for Bythorne was successful.

Two lots earlier he had purchased a Case IH 7210 Magnum tractor with 5860 hours for $29,000 and two lots before that a Junlian Wombat wheeled loader for $22,500, both for Bythorne.

At $285,000, the top-priced item on the day was a complete combination of Ausplow Multistream 15,000 litre air cart and matching 18.2 metres Ausplow Auseeder D300 DBS bar set at 300 millimetre spacings with 228mm blades.

Bidding started at $150,000 and progressed initially in $5000 increments, then $10,000 increments as bidders tested each other's resolve, then went back to $5000 increases with a final bid by Mullewa farmer Kane Grima, KA & TB Grima, to claim it.

Mr Grima said later it will be a second seeder, alongside his existing Simplicity DBS set up, used to put this season's 3000 hectares of crop in from about Anzac Day.

Grandson Cameron (left) and grandfather Wally Letton, Morawa, check out the Ford F350 service truck which sold later to Larrapinda Pastoral Company, Bonnie Rock, for $2000.

"It's pretty much a complete unit so hopefully I just have to hook it up and go - that's the plan anyway," Mr Grima said.

"I want to retire my existing one (seeder set up), but I'll use it this year and maybe sell it next year to recoup some of the cost of this one."

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Second top item at $190,000 was the next lot, a Case IH Axial Flow 9120 combine harvester with 1498 engine hours and complete with a 13.7m Case front on a comb trailer.

Bidding opened at $150,000 and moved rapidly in $10,000 increments to the sale price.

It was bought by JD & TC Alexander, Beverley.

The big Versatile and Case Steiger tractors were equal-third top-priced lots and a twin-steer, tandem-drive International ACCO T2650 truck with recently reconditioned motor and triple deck stock crate in very good condition on the back, sold for $50,000 - fourth top price - to Walstow Nominees Pty Ltd, North Perth, after being inspected before the sale by several interested people.

Justin Begley (left), GF Begley & Son, Wyalkatchem, with sons Lachlan and Aiden.

A Volvo F7 eight-wheel truck with three-compartment bin sold to Sanderson & Sanderson, Grass Patch, for $23,000, a six-cylinder F350 Ford service truck sold for $2000 to Justin and Christine Bowran, Bonnie Rock and a small Bedford J model set up as a farm fire truck sold for $600 to the Hardy Family Trust, Merredin.

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However a tri-drive Kenworth T908 prime mover and tri-axle GTE triple grain train trailers, as the last two lots of the sale, both failed to attract a bid.

Two 2011 Great Wall twin-cab utes and a 2012 Great Wall station wagon also failed to attract bids.

An ex-Army Land Rover 110 Perentie 66 with 62,000 kilometres on the odometer and spare transmission and differential available, was passed in at $15,000, with bidding failing to reach the reserve price.

There was good competition for three off-road touring motorbikes offered.

A Marshall 910T 12-tonne capacity Multispread sold for $33,500 to I Metcalf, Dowerin, after bidding started at $12,000 and advanced quickly in $500 increments and a Beverley Hydraboom 7000l, 36.5m boomsprayer sold for $24,000 to PG & PM Nankivell & Sons, Wubin.

Six 45t field bins sold to different bidders for between $7000 and $14,000 each.

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Sheltering in the shade of a 45 tonne DE Engineers field bin that sold for $7000 are Jess Sudholz (left), Meckering, Ryder Donegan, Northam, Daniel Sudholz, Darryl Sudholz and Hannah Sudholz, all of Meckering.

Among the more unusual items sold was about 12,000l of diesel fuel which had to be syphoned out of an above-ground tank.

It sold at roughly half price to NW Greaves & Son, Koorda, for $180.

About 140t of Scepter wheat in three lots was passed in without a bid, but about 2t of canola and the field bin it was stored in sold for $3200 to AJ Felber, Badgingarra.

Although 80 lots - mainly sundry items - were passed in, the clearing sale generated $919,620 gross from the 273 lots sold.

Vendor Derwent Barrett-Lennard, Woonderlin Grazing, said he was happy with the sale result.

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"Some things I thought might have made a bit more and other things sold well above the reserve, so it's swings and roundabouts - overall I'm happy," Mr Barrett-Lennard said.

"There's been steady enquiry for the past three weeks and a lot of sentimental enquiry for the Versatile 1150 - a lot of blokes have had them, they liked them and that model, the 1150, is hard to find."

Mr Barrett-Lennard said the 4000ha property had been sold and he still had sheep to sell.

"We (Barrett-Lennard family) originally farmed at Beverley then we expanded up here to Goodlands," he said.

"Mum and dad (Doug and Dorothy) retired in 2015 and I continued farming - I've been here about 15 years now - until today, so that's six generations of farming finished.

"My boys are in Perth and are only young (9 and 10), they're still at school, but they're not interested (in farming), so it's the end.

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"I've travelled and worked around the world but I don't know what I'll do now."

Mr Barrett-Lennard said COVID-19 and border closures had made finding labour to help on the property on the edge of the Wheatbelt very difficult.

Westcoast Wool & Livestock Koorda stock agent Derek Henning said he was "quite impressed" with how the machinery lots sold towards the end of the sale.

"As everyone knows, you can't really buy new tractors at the moment," Mr Henning said.

"We had a lot of phone calls before the sale so we had an indication that there would be good competition for the machinery.

"There was a lot of support today (141 bidders registered) for the vendor and the way Westcoast Wool & Livestock organised and ran the sale."

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