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Farmland Sale: $10,000-per-Acre Bid Wins Northwest Illinois Land Sale

Mercer County auction draws top dollar. Plus, sale results from Kansas and South Dakota.

For 45 of their 71 years of marriage, Bill and Donna Hofman were partners on their family farm near Aledo, Illinois, in the northwest part of the state. They raised five children on that farm. They were community leaders who enjoyed dancing, playing cards, and, in Bill’s case, collecting antique cars.

Bill died in 2015; Donna died earlier this year. To settle the estate, family members dispersed of their property. On October 10, the fourth – and final – sale of the Hofmanns’ land occurred.  

“They were longtime farmers and were well-respected,” says Dale Jones, auctioneer.

The sale included four tracts totaling 284.22 acres. Following is the information on each tract.

Tract 1: 75.95 acres 3 miles south of Buffalo Prairie, the tract has Muscatine, Greenbush, Rozetta, and Sylvan soils with a Productivity Index of 126. The land has 74.59 tillable acres and brought $729,120 ($9,600 per acre).

Tract 2: 77.27 acres adjacent to Tract 1, has Class B soils similar to Tract 1 but also includes two grain bins totaling 55,000 bushels of storage, and two good machine sheds that are 57×72 feet and 45×63 feet. The PI is 131.6. Tract 2 sold for $819,062 ($10,600 per acre).

Tract 3: 98 acres 4.5 miles north of Aledo, there are 94.77 tillable acres with a 131.2 PI and soil types of Muscatine, Osco, and Greenbush. The land sold for $931,000 ($9,500 per acre).

Tract 4: 33 acres 5.5 miles north of Aledo, with 30.21 tillable acres featuring Hickory silt loam soils with a 92 PI. This tract rolls and “…is a tough piece to farm, but has excellent crops. It yields as well as the other three,” Jones says. It has a 63×50-foot machine shed and would make a good building site. It sold for $105,600 ($3,200 per acre).

The total proceeds were $2.584 million, or $9,091 per acre. Jones says local farmers bought all the properties in a strong, competitive sale. “There were two or three investment groups bidding on Tract 2, but they got blown out of the water pretty early,” he explains.

Tract Acres Total Per Acre
1 75.95 $729,120 $9,600
2 77.27 $819,062 $10,600
3 98 $931,000 $9,500
4 33 $105,600 $3,200

The selling price for the top three tracts was very close to what the land was appraised for nearly a year ago. Land sales are strong in the area, with short supplies and several established farm families ready to bid on good property, Jones adds.

In Mercer County in 2017, average corn yield was 238.7 bushels per acre; soybean yield was 60 bushels per acre. Farmers pay an average of $208 per acre for cash rent in Mercer County, according to the National Agriculture Statistics Service.


Kansas, Thomas County: Two tracts totaling 320 acres just southeast of Levant (northwest Kansas) sold October 10. Tract 1, 245.81 acres, is all tillable, featuring Keith silt loam soils. It sold for $645,251 ($2,625 per acre). Tract 2, 81.59 acres, is all grass, with Keith silt loam soils. It lies adjacent to Tract 1 and could be cultivated. It sold for $114,226 ($1,400 per acre). Farm and Ranch Realty had the sale.

South Dakota, Douglas County: 320 acres of land in two parcels sold at auction October 3. The land is located southeast of Corsica in southeast South Dakota. Tract 1, 160 acres, has 127 tillable acres with a Productivity Index of 76, featuring Eakin-Ethan and Highmore soils. The rest is in pasture, trees, and right of way. Tract 2, 160 acres just south of Tract 1, has 133 acres of tillable land, with 80 acres currently in cultivation. 53 acres are in pasture, with rural water availability. This portion could be cultivated, but the entire tract was set up for a grazing system and has a PI of 80. The two tracts sold together for $963,200 ($3,010 per acre). Wieman Auction had the sale.

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