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Deals to be found on livestock equipment

GREG PETERSON 01/12/2011 @ 11:11am Greg Peterson writes "Machinery Pete" column for Successful Farming magazine and appears on the Machinery Show on RFD-TV, talking about trends in the used equipment market

While the past few years, generally speaking, have been pretty good for grain farmers, those same years haven’t been as kind to the livestock and dairy sectors.

Sometimes I feel like a scorekeeper, sitting here compiling auction sale price data on all types of used farm and construction equipment.

What I’m continually struck by is the raw power of sentiment. Farmers asking, “Do you think the months and years ahead will bring better times? Or do you think times will be worse?”

Collectively, these widely held views can and do affect markets – even the used equipment market.

Take early August 2010, for example. A report was released detailing severe trouble with the Russian wheat crop. Talk of surpluses turned to deficits. The price of wheat doubled. With corn, talk of a USDA report citing weak crop conditions sent the price upward.

So when I got a sale price report from an August 5, 2010, grain farm auction in north-central Iowa, it wasn’t surprising that it showed very strong sale prices.

In fact, a couple records were set according to my historical data. One record set a $78,000 final bid given for a 2002 Case IH Model MX220 front-wheel-assist tractor with 1,462 hours. That is easily the highest auction sale price I’ve seen on that make and model.

Another record price was set on a pair of Parker 4800 gravity wagons. They went for $8,000 each.

Now For The Flip Side

It’s definitely not a bullish attitude at auctions with livestock and dairy equipment, however.

There were a couple years of tough losses, then a glimpse of profitability, followed by a possible crescendo of grain prices late in 2010 and into 2011.

Look at the table on the opposite page that shows auction sale prices on various makes and models of manure spreaders. Pay particular notice to the the New Idea Model 3639 manure spreader that sold on the northeast Wisconsin auction in June 2010 for $2,500. I thought this spreader, which was in excellent shape, would bring a bit more.

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