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Hopper Bottom Sales Are Soft, Offering Good Deals

Late in August, I watched a 2016 Timpte in beautiful condition sell at a Steffes Group consignment auction in eastern Iowa. This particular trailer came with ag hoppers, 66-inch sidewalls, 11R24.5 tires, a roll tarp, and aluminum wheels. It was the ideal trailer for in-the-field loading.

August and September usually establish high prices for hopper bottoms, as farmers anticipate heading to the field for harvest. That was not the case for this trailer. After begging for bids to get the action rolling, Scott Steffes exclaimed, “Jessie James needed a gun to steal. You just need to bid to do the same.”

After a feeble exchange of bids, the Timpte sold for $23,000. That seemed low to me, a fact I later confirmed when I checked into the sale of similar Timpte trailers in late summer of 2017. Sale prices then ranged from $29,500 to $33,600.

That is the effect of trade wars and tough growing conditions on equipment values. It’s why I focused this issue’s Pocket Price Guide on asking prices for 2015 and 2016 hopper bottoms all equipped with 66- to 68-inch sidewalls. 

Generally, these values are higher than the Timpte I saw sell at the Steffes event. But then, these are dealer prices. I suspect the sale of that Timpte last August predicts soft demand of late-model hopper bottoms both during and after harvest, offering the opportunity to pick up a good buy.

what will it cost you to upgrade to a tridem-axle trailer? 

The opportunity to haul several hundred more bushels of grain (depending on your state’s weight limits) has farmers taking a hard look at triple-axle hopper bottoms. Commonly referred to as tridem-axle trailers, such trailers are taller (72- to 78-inch sidewalls are common), wider (96- or 102-inch widths are industry standards), and longer (often stretching out to 50-foot lengths). These haulers have the capacity to carry 42,000-pound and greater loads. Factors influencing tridem-axle trailer prices include whether they are sold with two (most common) or three hoppers, a rear lift axle, catwalks, and ladders. 

DEALER ASKING PRICES ON TIMPTE TRIPLE-AXLE HOPPER BOTTOMS 

2011 MODEL YEAR
Average price: $35,800 Price range: $30,000 to $39,800 
2012 MODEL YEAR
Average price: $34,500 Price range: $33,500 to $35,900
2013 MODEL YEAR
Average price: $35,925 Price range: $29,900 to $38,900
2014 MODEL YEAR
Average price: $42,375 Price range: $36,750 to $46,500
2015 MODEL YEAR
Average price: $41,500 Price range: $34,000 to $42,900
2016 MODEL YEAR
Average price: $42,940 Price range: $37,900 to $43,900 
2017 MODEL YEAR
Average price: $44,750 Price range: $38,160 to $44,750

CRUCIAL INSPECTION POINTERS WHEN BUYING A USED TRAILER

The fact that trailers are employed by a wide variety of industries makes it crucial you take extra time to investigate a used trailer’s history and condition. In that regard, verify the VIN, discover if the trailer has been assigned a salvage or a rebuilt title, ask the seller why the trailer is for sale, obtain past maintenance and repair records, and inspect the trailer. Here are the areas you’ll want to check.

  • Tires. Examine every tire for wear and damage (a set of new rubber can set you back $3,500). Measure tread depth, because tires showing less than ¹⁄16 inch of tread are prohibited on trailers in many states. Look for tread separation (on recapped tires) and sidewall splitting or cracking. 
  • Hoppers. Look for major dents or damage. Inspect for cracks on hopper sides and frames. Check the slopes to see if they are dented from being pounded on. Open and close doors for smooth operation.
  • Structure. Examine the trailer’s structure, paying attention to side rails and cross members for excessive rust, dents, cracking (especially on welds) and twisting. Also, inspect the axle subframe for rust and damage.
  • Roll tarp. Operate the roll tarp manually (if the trailer has one) to determine if it operates smoothly or has damaged or missing parts. 
  • Lights and brakes. If it is possible, hook the trailer to a truck to operate both items. Make sure the antilock braking system is working, as well, and examine the condition of brake drums and linings. 

What’s It Worth?

Be sure to cash in on your two free equipment appraisals by going to Agriculture.com/whatsitworth. These free appraisals are based on actual dealer sales, auction purchases, and wholesale transactions on selected equipment built in the past 20 years. Used by banks, equipment manufacturers, and equipment dealers all over North America, the Iron Solutions equipment appraisal data is now available to you!

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