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Successful Land Sale: McLean County Land Sale Nets $10,850/Acre

Investor buys Class A Illinois farmland.

Farmland owners seeking to liquidate their assets ideally would have done so a few years ago, when land prices were at their peak. It's kind of like selling grain: only a rare few cash in at the top of the market.

Had the owners of 182.88 acres in McLean County, Illinois sold their property in July, 2013, they probably could have added 15-20% to the selling price. As it is, the owners sold the property July, 2016 and thus, took a bit of a hit.

The property: two tracts 12 miles south of Bloomington, is Class A farmland, says broker Dan Patten, with Soy Capital Ag Services, which had the auction.

Tract 1 has 113.28 acres, nearly all tillable, with a Soil Productivity Index of 138.3 (based on a 61 to 147 scale). Tract 2, 69.6 acres across the blacktop from Tract 1, is nearly all tillable and a 141.3 PI.

"Soil types are Ipava and Sable, and are ideal for growing 200 bushel per acre corn and 60 bushel per acre soybeans," he says. The land isn't perfect – it could have used a little more tile. But all-in-all, this is a pretty good farm in one of Illinois' top-producing counties.

McLean County Illinois
The two tracts sold as one unit for $1.984 million, or $10,850 per acre.

The buyer was an investor. "Interestingly, none of the bidders were farmers," Patten points out. And that makes sense: declining crop prices have farmers wary of spending cash. "A lot of farmers burned through much of their capital. In the good years, they were able to build up their warchest a bit. I think it will take a couple of years to build it back," he says.

In 2015, the price for excellent farmland in this area of Illinois averaged $11,500 per acre, according to the Illinois Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers annual survey. Corn yields in 2015 averaged 199.2 bushels per acre; soybeans, 64.6 bushels per acre, according to USDA.

For more, log onto Soy Capital Ag Services. 

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Iowa: Story County:  Two tracts totaling 115 acres about two miles west of Rhodes sold July 11. Both tracts are rolling, featuring mostly Clarion loam soils. They are tiled and have other conservation practices in place. The buyer gets one-half of the 2016 cash rent and full possession for 2017. Tract 1, 79 acres, has 54 acres cropland, 11.68 acres in Conservation Reserve Program (paying $151.20 per acre through 2023) and the balance in trees. The Corn Suitability Rating 2 of 67.3 (based on a 5 to 100 scale). Tract 1 sold for $371,300 ($4,700 per acre). Tract 2, 31.5 acres, has 29.02 tillable acres, with 4.14 in trees and 2.84 acres of CRP, paying $326.32 per year through 2023. The tract has a CSR 2 of 75.0 It sold for $198,450 ($6,300 per acre). The total proceeds were $598,100, or $5,200 per acre. Farmers National had the sale.

Nebraska: Cuming and Dodge counties: Olson Pearson Auctions had a 160-acre auction in these two counties on July 12. Tract 1, 120 acres about eight miles west of West Point in Cuming County, has 117 tillable acres with mainly Moody and Alcester silty clay loam soils. It no-saled, with the final bid at $9,100 per acre. Tract 2, 40 acres a few miles southeast of Uehling in Dodge County, has 38.9 acres of cropland with Nora and Moody silty clay loam soils. It sold for $420,000 ($10,500 per acre).

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