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Farmland Sale: Northwest Iowa Land Averages $14,300 per Acre

High-quality land demands a high price. Plus, sales in Illinois and South Dakota.

Good land in a good area is a recipe for a fine farmland auction.

It certainly was for the heirs of the Margie Ann Hansen Estate, which sold 163 acres of Cherokee County, Iowa, farmland November 7.

Todd Hattermann, realtor and auctioneer at Vander Werff Associates, which had the sale, said the two tracts sold were high quality, and with close proximity to the northwest Iowa community of Marcus. The two adjacent 80-acre tracts had a lot going for them, he adds. The amount of road right-of-way was limited, so the farms were full 80-acre pieces. Plus, the grain elevator in Marcus is just down the road, so there is easy access to grain storage.

Tract 1, 81.33 acres just east of Marcus, has Galva, Afton, Marcus, and Primghar soils, with a Corn Suitability Rating 2 of 92 (based on a scale from 5 to 100). There is a swale in the middle of the field. It sold for $1.114 million ($13,700 per acre).

Tract 2, 81.56 acres just south of Tract 1, has similar soils and a CSR 2 of 95.6. It sold for $1.199 million ($14,700 per acre).

“We were hoping it would be up there, and it was,” says Hatterman, who said he thought the land might even sell for a bit more. Bidding was competitive, he adds. “There were a lot of people there. We had five active bidders on the first tract and four on the second tract. Local farmers bought both properties.

From 2008-2017, Cherokee County corn farmers averaged 192 bushels per acre; soybeans over the same time averaged 57 bushels per acre. The average CSR 2 score is 90, and the average cash rent in the county is $238 per acre, according to Iowa State University.

Tract Acres Selling Price Average
1 81.33 $1.114 million $13,700
2 81.56 $1.199 million $14,700
Average 163 $2.259 million $14,349

Best of the Rest:

Illinois, Hancock County: Four tracts totaling 278.36 acres located south of Bowen (west-central Illinois) sold Nov. 8. The property is located in two adjacent patches. Tract 1, 41.25 acres of all tillable land, features Virden soils and a Crop Productivity Index of 135 (based on a scale of 100 to 147). It sold for $544,500 ($13,200 per acre). Tract 2, 59.38 acres just south of Tract 1, has Virden and Timewell soils with a 135.1 PI. It sold for $783,816 ($13,200 per acre). Tract 3, 93.25 acres 1 mile south of Tracts 1 and 2, has 93.1 acres of tillable land with Virden and Timewell soils and a PI of 131.7. It sold for $1.091 million ($11,700 per acre). Tract 4, 84.48 acres just south of Tract 3, has 83.01 acres tillable, with Timewell, Virden, and Rubio soils and a 129.7 PI. It sold for $988,416 ($11,700 per acre). Total proceeds were $3.408 million, or $12,242 per acre. Sullivan Auctioneers had the sale.

South Dakota, Turner County: 160 acres between Sioux Falls and Tea (eastern South Dakota) sold November 8. The tract has 140.5 acres, with 136 acres tillable, featuring Ethan-Egan soils, with the balance in waterways and road right-of-way. This property also has two 10-acre building eligibilities. It sold for $1,000,800 ($6,255 per acre). Wieman Auction had the sale. 

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