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Machinery Pete: Planters, tractors & solar panels

Time to dip into Machinery Pete's mailbag. First question is on a classic antique tractor.

Q: "Pete: An old friend hired a professional restorer to work on his father's 1935 John Deere A on steel. The tractor had been stored for over 45 years and with about 45 minutes of work they were driving it around the farmstead. The tractor is now in new condition, one of the best restorations I've seen. My friend said he had $5,000 in the restoration, mostly parts, and wondered what the tractor was worth. The steel front wheels are spoked and the rear wheels with the lugs are steel straps. What is your best estimate?" -- Eugene

A: Thanks for sending the pic, she is a beauty! As for value, see the data table of auction sale prices on all the JD A Tractors I've seen sold at auction over last 5 years. It certainly could well be up in that $5K range. I've highlighted a few in the table around the same vintage as your friend's '35 A. You'll see some sale price above $5K, some below. But again, $5K could be in the ballpark I'd say.

Q: "Pete: I have a 1970 's Allis 185 diesel with duals. How much it is worth?" -- Ralph

A: I've seen (3) AC 185 tractors up for sale on auctions in the last six weeks, one in Ontario, Canada (a real hot spot lately for high sale prices on big ticket, late model equipment), the other two in Iowa and Missouri. Click on the link below to view auction prices I've compiled on AC 185's over the last six years.

Q: "Pete: How can I find out the value of a JD 7000 4, 6, or 8-row planter?" -- Ryan

A: I get lots of questions on trusty old JD 7000 planters, especially this time of year. Just had a phone call yesterday from a farmer in Indiana wondering what his 6-row JD 7000 planter is worth. Seems a dealer had offered him $1,600 for it on trade. I told the Indiana farmer $1,600 is way too light for a nice 7000 6-row. Check out our auction prices and see for yourself.

Q: "Pete: A spirited discussion is underway as to what value we can carry on
solar panels farmers are placing on their farm buildings to supply most their electricity. These are $250,000 to $500,000 systems that are getting nearly 40+% back in rebates from the state and federal governments within the first year after operational, notwithstanding the investment tax credit. Our FSA officials DC are reluctant to give any residual collateral value to these systems. I do not know if that is reasonable or not. Would you be willing to shed some light on this, or do you have any data to indicate what roof top systems for 25-50 KW would be worth?" -- FSA loan officer

A: I've got 233,891 auction sale prices in our web site, including 5,640 prices in our "Miscellaneous" category, a little bit of everything in there. But I have not seen any used solar panel systems sold at auction.

Not yet.

Any one out there have any info on how to value used solar panel systems? If so, drop me a line at

Time to dip into Machinery Pete's mailbag. First question is on a classic antique tractor.

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