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Farmland Sale: Top Bid of $8,450 for 400 Acres in North-Central Iowa

Lack of supply stirs interest in Emmet County farm. Plus, sale results from Illinois and Indiana.

Land buyers in the northwest Iowa county of Emmet have not had farmland hit the market since the end of 2017. Thus, prospective buyers had September 19 circled on their calendar. That’s when the sale of 400 acres of high-quality farmland were to be sold by Peoples Company at auction.

The property, divided into two quarter-sections and an 80-acre tract, had been family-owned for 60 years. The heirs decided it was time to let it go, and taking the farm to auction seemed to be the prudent thing to do.

“This area has been quiet as far as sales go,” explains Andrew Zellmer, land broker at Peoples Company. He adds that there are established farm families in Emmet County seeking expansion opportunities. This sale was the right property at the right time.

Twenty-two bidders registered at the auction, with three bidding until the conclusion. At the end of the auction, the land sold for $8,450 per acre, or $3.38 million. It sold as “buyer’s choice,” allowing the top bidder to buy all three tracts if he chooses; that’s exactly what happened. The buyer lives outside the area but has family who farms locally, Zellmer says.

“It was a good day,” Zellmer says. The farm sold better than expected, given low crop prices, coupled with the extreme wet weather farmers in the area have endured in 2018.

Here are more details on the farm:

  • Tract 1: 160 acres about 8 miles west of Armstrong, with 150 acres tillable featuring Canisteo, Clarion, Crippin, and Webster soils. The tract has a CSR II rating of 81.5.  
  • Tract 2: 80 acres, nearly all tillable, southwest of Armstrong, has predominantly Canisteo and Nicollet soils and an overall CSR II of 81.5.
  • Tract 3: 160 acres, with 147 acres tillable, featuring Nicollet and Canisteo soils with a CSR II of 83.3. The property has two large machine sheds, and four grain bins with 8,000- and 9,000-bushel storage.

The average CSR2 score for Emmet County is 70. The 10-year average corn yield is 182 bushels per acre and for soybeans, 50 bushels per acre.

Best of the Rest

Illinois, Monroe County: An auction of 722 acres in 7 tracts near Waterloo was held September 11. The auction featured a mix of parcel sizes and improvements. Tract 1, 23.37 acres, has 23.01 acres of mostly Wilbur silt loam soils and a 120.4 Crop Productivity Index. Tract 2, 19.25 acres adjacent to Tract 1, has Booker clay soils on 18.76 tillable acres with a CPI of 89. The tracts sold together for $336,600 ($7,897.70 per acre). Tract 3, 46 acres southwest of Fults, has 45.81 acres tillable land with mostly Ambraw silty clay loam soils and a 113.6 CPI. There are two small grain bins and a metal storage building. It brought $415,000 (9,021.74 per acre). Tract 4, 173.78 acres, has 158.54 tillable acres with mostly Ambraw and Shaffton soils with a 114.81 CPI. The tract also has a 4,500-bushel grain bin; a 9,600-bushel grain bin, and a 32,000-bushel grain bin with dryer capability, plus two metal storage buildings. It sold for $980,000 ($5,639.31 per acre). Tract 5, 62.21 acres adjacent to the Mississippi River, has 22.69 tillable acres with the rest in trees and wildlife habitat. It sold for $140,000 ($2,250.44 per acre). Tracts 6 and 7 are contiguous and sold as one unit. They total 397.66 acres, with 208.93 acres tillable, with mostly Ambraw and Haynie soils. The rest is in standing timber and wildlife habitat. The tract sold for $1.1 million ($2,766.18 per acre). Peoples Company had the sale.

Indiana, Henry County: 90 acres just northwest of Straughn sold September 12. There were two adjacent tracts at this auction. Tract 1, 80 acres, is fronted by a county road on one side. It has 78 tillable acres with mostly Cyclone, Crosby, and Miamian soils. Tract 2, 10 acres just south of Tract 1, has similar soils and 350 feet of county road frontage. The land sold as one tract for $720,000 ($8,000 per acre). Schrader Real Estate and Auction had the sale.

Iowa, Allamakee County: Eighty-five acres sold at auction September 18. The tract has 85 tillable acres, with a CSR II of 73.5. The balance of the land is in trees and wooded area. It sold for $610,000, or $7.167.47 per acre, which is right in line with what land in the area is bringing, according to Sweeney Auction service, which had the sale.

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