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Is There a Round Baler Sell-Off?

A spike in round baler new sales from 2012 to 2015 is putting downward pressure on used balers this spring.

If you are searching for a deal on a late-model round baler, then set your search perimeters for the years 2012 to 2016. After years of sluggish round baler sales prior to 2013, strength in cattle prices encouraged investment in new forage harvesting equipment, which produced a bulge in new round baler sales. Now, those balers are showing up on trade at dealers’ lots or auctions looking for new homes.  

The abundance of late-model, midsize balers (that produce 4×5-foot bales, the most popular size baler on the market) presents an opportunity to do some price haggling. Digging into online dealer equipment listings of midsize balers on MachineFinder.com (mostly comprising Deere balers), auctionhouse.com, fastline.com, and ironsearch.com reveals this baler bulge. My calculations show the following inventories of used midsize round baler inventories by model year at dealerships:

  • 2012 models – 252 listings    
  • 2013 models – 335 listings
  • 2014 models – 316 listings    
  • 2015 models – 297 listings 

Negotiating room 

Large numbers of balers don’t necessarily mean that dealers are eager to be rid of their equipment at bargain prices.

Yet, many dealers are still coping with leftover stocks of high-horsepower tractors, combines, tillage equipment, and grain carts. Therefore, they could be more receptive to negotiating this spring.

The other general trend affecting round baler values is the fact that they are one of the more easily transported pieces of large equipment in the country. On the other hand, the cost of hauling a combine, planter, or tillage equipment can be considerable and that may restrict their movement. 

doesn’t eliminate your dealer 

Another factor that affects the sale of used equipment today is online listings. The online market has undergone explosive growth in the past 10 years. Once considered an exception, online sales of equipment are now pervasive. You can purchase equipment with confidence (having arranged an appraisal from a neutral source) from the comfort of your office. Arrangements for both financing and transport are online.

Yet, searching for a specific piece of equipment online doesn’t preclude buying from your local dealer who “wants to do business with you even on equipment that’s in another county or state. We certainly can arrange to bring in a piece of equipment that you find at another dealership,” points out Jeremy Knuth of Heritage Tractor. “Online listings offer the opportunity to search for and to find a machine that fits your exact needs – either in price or configuration.”

Purchasing online at auction has also become easier and more secure. Many auctioneering houses are set up to provide buyers with a condition appraisal. As mentioned before, arranging transport and even financing can be taken care of online, as well. 

“Buying on the Internet is nearly seamless these days,” says Luke Sullivan of Sullivan Auctioneers. “Many auctioneers are set up to complete the transaction for you.”

price shopping 

Even if you prefer to buy in person, don’t preclude using the Internet. 

Another advantage regarding the huge growth in online listings is that this data offers you the opportunity to get a solid feel for what machinery is currently worth. All the online addresses mentioned on the previous page offer search menus that enable you to zero in on a particular make and model of iron built in a specific year or within a set of years. 

Going a step further, you can use online filters to find balers, for example, in a specific price range located in certain locations. Once a search is complete, you can sort through the listings looking for a baler equipped to meet your needs such as having a MegaWide hydraulic pickup, monitor, bale kicker, or high-flotation tires.

For example, to generate the listing for this issue’s “Pocket Price Guide,” I narrowed my search to just 2015 midsize balers.

For extra measure, I wanted to discover what late-model Deere balers recently sold for at auction. I visited auction.com, clicked “farm equipment” and then “auction results.” Using that site’s search filters, I looked for model 569 balers built from 2013 to 2015 that sold since November 1, 2017, and found the following:

  • 2013 average price was $20,500 with a range of $15,100 to $32,700.
  • 2014 average price was $23,750 with a range from $18,300 to $36,100.
  • 2015 average price was $25,800 with a range from $18,500 to $36,700.
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