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Large Split-Row Planter Prices Are Up

Late-model planters are a great bellwether of the financial times. Three years ago, after commodity prices had plunged, large planters were selling for record-low prices. At a Sullivan Auctioneer sale in November 2014 in western Illinois, a fully loaded 1-year-old Deere 1790 (16/31 split rows) with less than 2,600 acres sold for $107,500.

What about today? In early January, a 1-year-old, fully loaded Deere 1795 16/31 (the current version of that firm’s split-row planter) sold for $149,900 at auction. What makes that seeder and the other 16/31 planters listed in the Pocket Price Guide so popular right now?

Increasingly, farmers are looking to pick up a second used planter that can be used to sow soybeans while their primary planter is socking away corn. Field research confirms that planting beans earlier in the spring boosts yields. So, increasingly, more corn and beans are being planted at the same time. The beauty of used split-row planters is that they can be used for corn early in April before switching over to narrow-row soybeans a couple weeks later.

As stated earlier, used split-row planters are a great bellwether of the times. The rise in these planters’ values reveals that agriculture has recovered from the severe shock of operating on half the revenue farmers were earning several years ago. Plus, these sales indicates farmers are back focusing on ways to optimize production and to boost yields. 

putting a price on premium planters

The challenge with buying used planters, particularly the large seeders like those listed in the Pocket Price Guide, is that they often only sell locally. Local conditions such as a drought or lower commodity prices will influence the asking price a dealer puts on a planter.

“They are not the easiest thing to transport on a trailer, particularly the largest planters,” notes Scott Steffes of Steffes Auction. “If you plan on pulling them behind a tractor across several counties – let alone to another state – you better pack a lunch – and dinner, as well.” 

Steffes’ point about transporting large implements needs to be considered when weighing a planter purchase from afar. However, the advantage of buying from dealers in this case is that they are better equipped to move a large planter.

The other factor that comes into play when dealing on a late-model planter is how it is configured. Being equipped with a liquid or dry fertilizer system, advanced seed meter control, electronic row shutoff systems, and pneumatic down pressure can drive up a planter’s asking price on a dealer’s lot by 20% to 30%.

It’s true that the seeder’s condition (as primarily determined by the acres it covered) and its age influence asking prices. For good reason. The disadvantage of buying a planter that is long in the tooth is that you face significant cost in rebuilding and then calibrating the seed meters and repairing row units. 

Research has proven that a faulty planter can cost you significant yields by not capitalizing on investments in seed and fertilizer. 

Highest retained value models

EquipmentWatch, an analysis firm for the heavy equipment industry, announced its finalists for the annual Highest Retained Value Awards. “The Highest Retained Value Awards are the only industry benchmark that relies on data-driven residual values to confirm and project an asset’s value,” explains Garrett Schemmel of EquipmentWatch.

Residual values of equipment are calculated according to market depreciation standards and proprietary algorithms, as well as market value and forced liquidation value records accumulated by EquipmentWatch.

Following are the firm’s ratings by equipment type.

  • Balers: John Deere 400 and 500, Massey Ferguson 2000, New Holland BR, and Case IH BF.
  • Combines: Case IH 140, John Deere S600, New Holland CR, Class Lexion, and Massey Ferguson 9500.
  • Tracked Tractors: John Deere 8RT, Challenger MT700, Case IH Steiger, John Deere 9RT, and Challenger MT800.
  • Large Tractors: John Deere 8R, Case IH Magnum, John Deere 9R, Challenger MT600, and New Holland T8.
  • Small Tractors: John Deere 6R, Case IH Maxxum, John Deere 5E, Kubota BX, and Challenger MT5000.
  • Self-Propelled Sprayers: John Deere 4000, Case IH Patriot, Apache AS, SpraCoupe 4000, and New Holland SP.
  • Small Skid Steer Loaders: Bobcat S70, Case SR130, Gehl 4240, Bobcat S510, Volvo MC60, and Caterpillar 226.
  • Large Skid Steer Loaders: Bobcat S650, John Deere 320, Caterpillar 262, New Holland L220, Case SV300, and Gehl R190.
  • Backhoes: Caterpillar 420, John Deere 310, Case 580, Terex TLB 840, JCB 3C, and New Holland B95.
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