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High-Horsepower Tracked Tractors for a Bargain

Case IH’s Steiger line of Quadtrac tractors has enjoyed a reputation as one of the premium high-horsepower tractors on the market for nearly two decades. So it wasn’t surprising when, in December 2012 as corn reached historic peak prices, a 2-year-old Case IH Steiger STX550 with 1,053 hours sold at a North Dakota auction for $299,000. The per-horsepower cost for that tractor was $544.

In December 2013, a then 2-year-old STX550 with 1,210 hours brought $255,100 at sale. That tractor’s per-horsepower cost was $463.

A year later, a 2-year-old 550 with 893 hours sold for $235,250 in Minnesota. Its per-horsepower cost was $427.

Last March, triplet 2-year-old 550s with 878, 894, and 1,001 hours, respectively, brought $220,000, $212,500, and $207,500 at a Ritchie Brothers auction outside of Chicago. Their average per-horsepower cost was $387.

Hard not to see the trend there. Big horsepower is, indeed, selling at bargain prices. Unless Congress boosts Section 179 depreciation to $500,000 and corn climbs above $4, it’s possible the $350-per-horsepower Quadtrac price floor might break this winter.

For a comparison, I crunched the numbers on recent sales of 225-hp. to 250-hp. wheeled (all front-wheel drive) Case IH tractors. Their resale prices ranged from $375 up to $415 per horsepower. This illustrates the opportunity of being able to purchase more horsepower, enhanced traction, and reduced compaction offered by four-wheel-drive tracked tractors for less than the per-horsepower cost of a smaller tractor.

More on late-model Quadtracs:

By Dave Mowitz

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