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It’s a Discount Market on Used, Class 7 Combines

While creating the Pocket Price Guide, I ran across a boldface promotion that best describes the current market conditions on late-model large combines: Price dropped $58,000! the dealer advertisement proclaimed. I calculated the difference and found the original asking price on that particular machine had been slashed by 20%. That’s before negotiations ever started!

That offer speaks volumes about dealers’ desire to move out a glut of 2013 and 2014 combines from their inventories or sale offerings. I’ve been reporting on the inventory bulge of Class 7 and 8 combines for the past two years and, frankly, had expected the availability of late-model large harvesters to have been thinned by this summer. 

I was surprised while searching for 2014 combines with less than 550 engine hours when I turned up 227 combines fitting that narrow description. All those listings came from just one website, tractorhouse.com.

Consider that last statistic: 550 engine hours. For practical purposes, those 227 combines may be 4 years old, but they are certainly considered nearly new by their accumulated hours.

When I checked John Deere’s dealer site (machinefinder.com) for 2014 combines of all makes and models, I found 935 machines were available nationwide. I narrowed that search to just 2014 model year S670 or S680 machines and found 677 combines were available. 

A buyer’s market for late-model combines

This ample supply of late-model and low-hour harvesters has had a direct impact on the asking prices on combines. I checked back to a similar analysis I made of Class 7 combines from a year ago and found that today’s prices are the same – if not slightly lower – as those values being sought by dealers a year ago. Let’s take the example of those Deere S670s.

Last year, I uncovered 189 4-year-old (2013) model S670s for sale. Their average asking price was $287,100.

This year, on those 227 4-year-old model S670s for sale, their average price was $285,774.

For statistical purposes, that is a draw. So you can assume used values are in a holding pattern. What’s not in a holding pattern is dealers’ need to be rid of combines. Low interest rates have made it easier for them to hold used inventories longer.

They have been holding on to larger-than-average inventories for three years now and have ample incentives to unload harvesters. Also, their manufacturers are incentivizing dealers to sell by offering low- or no-interest loans, the capability to lease machines, and certified preowned programs that extend warranty coverage. 

“These programs make acquiring machinery much more adaptable to your particular needs,” points out Nate Weinhauf of Case IH.

“No doubt it is a buyer’s market right now,” says Brad Tolbert of John Deere. “This won’t last for long, though. Dealers will work through these inventories. They have been selling fewer new combines since 2014, and that will short inventories of late-model harvesters in the near future.” 

A deep-dive look at 9770 STS values provides a best-buy recommendation

6670 combines are not the only harvesters in ample supply. There are also large inventories on dealers’ lots of its predecessor, the 9770 STS, if you are looking to buy an older combine to save money.

At press time, John Deere’s dealer used machinery site, machinefinder.com, had 297 model 9770s listed for sale. Below is a snapshot of this model’s asking prices and hours by year. All hours listed are separator hours.

2011 (66 combines listed)

  • Price average: $161,647
  • Price range: $125,000 to $225,000
  • Hours average: 1,257
  • Hours range: 677 to 2,812

2010 (89 combines listed)

  • Price average: $146,799
  • Price range: $125,000 to $209,900
  • Hours average: 1,450
  • Hours range: 733 to 2,644

2009 (78 combines listed)

  • Price average: $137,368
  • Price range: $87,000 to $245,000
  • Hours average: 1,490
  • Hours range: 346 to 2,647

2008 (60 combines listed)

  • Price average: $125,745
  • Price range: $88,500 to $215,000
  • Hours average: 1,671
  • Hours range: 737 to 2,850

2007 (5 combines listed)

  • Price average: $136,660
  • Price range: $120,000 to $160,000
  • Hours average: 1,550
  • Hours range: 978 to 1,955

Looking at these numbers and trying to find a best-buy recommendation, you’ll notice that the 2007 combines are pricey. That’s due to their short supply (only five were available).

If you are looking to buy a 9770 STS or its series brothers (the models 9760 or 9870), shop by hours and ignore years. 

For example, the best buy of the 297 combines listed above is a 2009 harvester with just 346 hours. Essentially, what you have here is an 8-year-old combine that is nearly new by use.

On machinefinder.com, you’ll see that particular combine’s asking price is $149,000. True, that value is above average for 2009 combines. But this machine is loaded, selling with a two-speed rear-wheel drive, 520/85R42 duals, lateral-tilt and variable-speed feederhouse, Contour Master, and a 22½-foot unload auger.

This example illustrates the beauty of shopping the internet. Time spent on websites like machinefinder.com can turn up great purchases. 

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