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The market for later model, larger used planters has been just OK the past few years.

They've been OK but not near as hot as the used tractors or other segments of the market, such as grain-handling equipment, grain trailers, grain carts, gravity wagons, augers, and grain trucks.

To understand why larger planters don't pack the same heat in the auction ring, you need to break down supply and demand.

The law of supply and demand

On the supply side, for the past four years as you drove down the road and passed implement dealer lots on your right and left, you probably noticed how many late-model, large, used planters were sitting there. Quite a few.

On the demand side, it's the same issue that's been at work in the late-model, larger combine market the past three years. Sales of new, large planters have been very strong for quite some time. That's been the case with new combine sales, too.

But the question is, where are the second buyers for these late-model, used, large planters who come back to dealers' lots when the original owners trade them in?

It's tougher to find these second buyers in the planter market. That's why large, late-model, used units begin to pile up on dealer lots. When that happens, used values tend to sag a bit.

Values on large, late-model planters haven't dropped dramatically. Not at all. You just haven't seen the red-hot bidding for them at auction like you've seen on so many other types of used equipment.

Check out the data table on the previous page for a closer look at recent auction sale prices on 16/31 split-row planters.

There is an interesting phenomenon developing in the used marketplace the last couple years in regard to larger planters.

Due to the buildup of inventory on implement dealers' lots, most larger used planters either have gone to consignment or have gone to dealer auctions vs. going to traditional farm auctions (retirement or estate sales). Look at the far right-hand column in the data table for proof. There aren't many farm auctions listed.

My auction data shows that prices at traditional farm auctions run higher than on consignment and on dealer auctions. The data also shows the late-model, large planters that sold on consignment and dealer auctions the past four years, not surprisingly, haven't been red-hot sellers.

The good deals are on dealer lots

You'll notice that the highest auction sale price listed in the table is $101,000 for the 2010 John Deere 1790 16/31 that sold on an August 24, 2012, farm auction in southwest Minnesota. That's a good price. Most likely, that final bid was quite a bit off from what a dealer would have asked for that planter sitting on the lot.

On that same farm auction, a 2007 John Deere 8330 tractor with just 850 hours sold for $167,000. That represents a new record-high auction sale price by $10,000 over the previous record sale price. The previous record was set February 22, 2012, on a farm auction held in west-central New York, where a 2008 John Deere 8330 with 1,102 hours brought $157,000.

Dealers wouldn't have asked $157,000 or $167,000 for those tractors sitting on their lots.

So there's your difference between the current used tractor market (which is red hot) and the market for large, late-model, used planters (which is so-so).

The bottom of the market for larger used planters came back in 2009. Auction sale prices dipped noticeably at that time. For example, on a December 15, 2009, farm auction in south-central Nebraska, a 2004 Kinze 3600 16/31 planter that was rated in good condition sold for $42,000. That was a very soft sale price.

Now compare that final bid to the 2002 Kinze 3600 16/31 listed in the data table. It sold for $70,000 on a December 2012 auction in north-central Missouri. If you look at the first Kinze 3600 listed in the table, you'll see it sold for $72,000 on a January 2012 auction in east-central Illinois. The common denominator for those two Kinze 3600 planters was that each one sold on a farm auction.

A 12/24 Kinze 3600 Brings $91,000!

What's happening to those smaller split-row used planters being placed on the market? A 2011 Kinze 3600 12/24 planter that had only planted 550 acres sold for $91,000 on a December 8, 2012, farm auction in east-central Indiana. Low acres – like low hours on a tractor combine – equate to premium prices in the used market.

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