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Am I an idiot?

Agriculture.com Staff 02/11/2016 @ 2:48am

I must be an idiot.

The cost of everything is going up, up, up. How much more are you paying for fertilizer now? How about seed? What about land prices and rents? How about the cost of that new tractor, planter or combine. Not getting any cheaper, are they? Heck, even the stuff I write about each week, used farm equipment, has been going up in value. How much more does good used iron cost these days? A lot more. (See the links below.)

So why am I an idiot?

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Because the subscription price to our www.machinerypete.com Web site hasn't gone up in 14 years. It's been $69.95/year since 1994. Actually, we didn't have a Web site back in 1994. We had a PC computer program that put all of our auction sale price data on folks' desktop PC.

Every quarter I'd mail out an uppdated disk, a 3 ½ inch floppy disk with the latest auction sale prices. Remember those 3 ½ inch disks? Seems like a century ago already.

Probably won't be too much longer until our computers are completely merged with our cell phones. I guess the one constant thing we all have to deal with is change. So what changes have I noticed of late in the used farm equipment market?

This week I received an auction sale price report from my friends with Bauer Auction in Windsor, Illinois. Sale prices from a real nice farm auction January 21, 2008, in east-central Illinois. Check out these strong sale prices: 1996 JD 9500 combine with 2,304 engine hours sold for $50,750; Brent 780 grain cart for $19,500; CaseIH MX255 mechanical front-wheel drive tractor with 1,880 hours sold for $89,500; 1997 JD 920 20-foot flex head for $9,000.

I could keep going.

But what caught my eye was the note scribbled atop the sale price report. "Pete, does not look like there is going to be many closeout farm auctions coming up."

Bauer Auction is one of Illinois largest and busiest auction firms handling farm sales. The note reminded me of the email I got recently from Scott Sykora of Sykora Auction Service in Clare, Michigan. Like Bauer Auction, Sykora Auction is one of the biggest auction players in the state of Michigan.

"Pete, it's going to be pretty quiet up here this winter. We've only got a couple farm auctions lined up," Sykora says.

Early last year I ran some numbers and found this startling factoid. There were 50.6% fewer farm machinery auctions the first quarter of 2007 versus first quarter 2002. HALF as many auctions! Guess what? The number of farm machinery auctions so far in 2008 have fallen further and faster yet. Flip through your local weekly ag paper and you'll see what I'm talking about. Hardly any auction bills to be found.

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