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Deals on Late-Model Grain Wagons, Carts

The large inventories of late-model and large used machinery filling dealers and auction lots are having a trickle-down impact on lower-priced equipment such as gravity wagons and grain carts. 

I came to that conclusion when amassing the recent auction sales of both gravity wagons and grain carts that form the basis of the Pocket Price Guide. I ran a similar analysis of wagons and carts a year ago and also in 2012. Last year’s prices are almost identical to those given at auction recently. Yet, the values of wagons and carts today are easily a third less than in 2012, testifying to soft demand for grain transport equipment these days.

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some iron unaffected by grain prices 

Not all iron bought by farmers has been impacted by the glut of large equipment. For example, used skid steer loaders, utility tractors, and hopper-bottom grain trailers (to be featured in the September issue of Successful Farming magazine) have actually gone up in the last year, as demand from contractors (for skid steers), acreage owners (for utility tractors), and truckers (for trailers) has buoyed the values of these items.

Typically, lower-priced items like gravity wagons and grain carts should be selling well these days. “We’ve noticed that if an item is going for less than $50,000, then bidding is brisk,” observes Scott Cook of Cook Auction. “Farmers are in an income pinch now because of lower commodity prices, but their manageable debt load has them readily buying lower-priced items.”

large supply of old, new stock on hand 

So why are wagon and cart prices suppressed when other lower-priced items are selling well at auction? 

There is a large supply of stock wagons and carts that are several years old but have never sold (often called old, new stock) sitting on dealers’ lots. I discovered a fleet of brand-new implements that were 2, 3, and 4 years old waiting to be sold. Their presence is putting downward pressure on the late-model wagons and carts listed in the Pocket Price Guide.

On the other hand, the inventory of old, new stock grain carts, in particular, have been greatly diminished since a year ago when I did an analysis of grain transport gear availability.

The other factor currently influencing used wagons and cart values is their quality. These implements are so well made that they can be worked for years before needing replacement. This has pushed their replacement down the road when farm incomes improve for a lot of buyers.

“There isn’t a lot that can go wrong with a gravity wagon if it is cared for,” says Dan Sullivan of Sullivan Auctioneers. “So they stay in service on farms for years before replacement.” 

The same can be said of carts except when it comes to their auger flighting and drive systems, particularly gearboxes. If you’re looking to buy an older cart that has been in service for over four to five years, it is important to focus on both items, Sullivan points out. “As always, walk around the cart and check out its general condition,” he says. “Is the hitch bent or does the roll tarp need replacing? Take time prior to the sale to inspect the cart. Be sure to call the owner about its care.”    

how undercarriage differences affect Grain cart values

While differences among wagons primarily center around tire sizes, brakes, lights, and tarps, carts are feature-rich, particularly for units over 800 bushels. A camera system, scales, hydraulic doors and flow control, unload auger options, LED lights, and adjustable spouts are some of the accessories that can impact a grain cart’s value. 

The accessory that has the largest impact on a cart’s value is its undercarriage, with either high-flotation tires (of various sizes) or tandem-axle duals and tracks. Here is a snapshot view of average dealer asking prices for grain carts built between 2012 to 2015 with different undercarriages.

Brent 1195

  • With walking tandem duals
    • Average price: $55,425
    • Price range: $48,200-$62,400
  • With high-flotation tires
    •    Average price: $55,933
    •   Price range: $51,900-$78,500
  • With tracks
    •   Average price: $69,700
    •   Price range: $61,000-$73,500

Kinze 1100

  • With duals
    • Average price: $62,500
    • Price range: $60,000-$65,000
  • With high-flotation tires
    • Average price: $67,114
    • Price range: $59,500-$69,900
  • With tracks
    • Average price: $92,888
    • Price range: $82,000-$100,000

J&M 115

  • With duals
    • Average price: $47,050
    • Price range: $43,000-$54,500
  • With high-flotation tires
    • Average price: $38,725
    • Price range: $32,500-$44,500
  • With tracks
    • Average price: $62,200
    • Price range: $51,500-$84,950
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