I have recently purchased a new piece of land and while I am glad to have been able to expand the farm, buying land can be incredibly stressful.

To be honest, at my time of life, I do not really need any more land, but with my three sons in the farm business, they are always keen to push ahead.

I also want to make the farm big enough to be able to sustain each of them, so it means that we are always watching out to see what comes available on the land market.

Ideally, the closer it is to our existing farm the better. It would save time moving stock and would also make it easier to move slurry or just take the tractor to do some field work.

Over the years, I have been spoilt in that practically all my farm is in the one piece. It makes things so much simpler to manage, although perhaps it has left me reluctant to buy, or even bid, for anything away from home.

No warning

This piece of land came up three or four months ago. There was no warning that it was likely to be on the market, and the first we knew was a ‘For Sale’ sign appearing.

It was only about one mile from the home farm, and was in two reasonably sized fields on the side of the main road, with direct access onto that road.

As soon as I saw the sign, I thought that it would be a useful piece to have, as it would be possible to take a few cuts of silage and then graze with sheep.

The land had been rented for a long time and, as is so often the case with rented ground, had been neglected. There were a lot of weeds, and the fences were in poor repair.

It was also obvious to see that there had not been much fertiliser spread on it for a long time. But it has the potential to be better, and of course, I was not the only one who thought that.

I talked it over with my three sons and we came to a conclusion as to what it might be worth. They were probably keener on buying it than I was.

We were realistic and knew that it would not be easily bought, but we were prepared to give it a go.


The first thing I did was to get some financial advice to see if it was possible to borrow funds and what the repayments would be like.

We now felt in a position to bid, so I called the auctioneer and started the bidding process. It seemed to move on quickly enough.

When we were the lead bidders, we were on a high thinking that we might just get it. But each time the auctioneer would come back with a higher bid, which left us very deflated.

You always wonder should you be bidding straight away or holding back. And you always wonder how much you should be bidding by each time.

To be honest, the entire process is incredibly stressful. After a couple of weeks, the thing seemed to stall and for a full week we heard nothing. This was the worst time.

Then the auctioneer came back and said that we had the successful bid. There was a definite elation at that. But there was also a realisation that we now had to follow through and pay for the fields and put them into a better state.


We now have possession of the land and have been busy trying to make as many upgrades as possible so that we can start to get a return.

We have improved the access to the road and replaced some fences and repaired others. Weeds have been sprayed and it has received a good coating of farmyard manure. It has definitely improved the look of the fields. We currently have sheep grazing on it, and our intention would be to reseed it next year.

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