Content ID

139997

Late-Model Grain Carts Aplenty

+1,000-bushel used grain carts, like other large iron, are in ample supply, creating a buyer’s market.

Grain carts are the silent victims of the economic downturn that slammed machinery manufacturers starting in 2014. When commodity prices softened and then slumped, one of the first pieces of equipment farmers stopped buying were grain carts.

The longevity of carts was their undoing. Unless farmers needed more capacity or were seeking a special feature (such as tracks to reduce compaction) or those same farmers already owned a 1- to 3-year-old cart, they weren’t very likely to invest in more field-hauling iron.

Evidence of this surfaced on the John Deere dealer listing site, machinefinder.com. I reference this website a great deal to get a feel for what is happening with dealer asking prices.

While preparing this article, I went to machinefinder.com searching for late-model (1- to 3-year-old) large (1,000+-bushel) grain carts and started to read. 

First off, I discovered there were nearly 190 3-year-old or younger grain carts for sale on dealers’ lots. 

An even more amazing discovery was the number of brand-new carts that were 2, 3, and even 4 years old and still sitting on dealers’ lots. That fact provides evidence that the market is well stocked with late-model carts – both new and used.

This situation presents you with the opportunity to upgrade your carts on a budget. Those dealers holding onto brand new 2013 carts (I found five such examples online) want to be rid of them. Besides possibly being able to buy such carts at cost, you might negotiate financing at super-low interest rates.

factor in features when pricing carts

One of the challenges with shopping for used carts is that their features can have an enormous influence on the value. This Pocket Price Guide offers numerous examples. Take a look at those Brent 1196s. 

The price range for the eight 2014 model 1196s is quite wide, stretching from $48,300 up to $85,400. Certainly the presence of tracks hikes a trailer’s value.

How do you explain those three model 1196s at the bottom of that listing? They are identical when it comes to features. Yet, their sale prices range from $44,300 up to $61,000. “That,” Scott Steffes, Steffes Group, says, “is an example of price inconsistency that occasionally happens in auctions.”

Such inconsistencies were more common decades ago. The internet has now given you access to a massive database of auction prices and dealer asking values. Being able to shop through that information has minimized high-price impulse buys, but it’s also reduced those great bargains that occasionally happen. “Buyers today are so much more informed about values than in the past,” Steffes says.

Indeed, there is far more transparency when it comes to auction and dealer sales. Reputable salespeople know that revealing all the background on a piece of machinery creates buyer comfort. 

“I’m always available to talk price before one of our auctions,” says Rick Vacha, Ritchies Bros. Auctioneers. “I’ll give you all the background information on a piece of equipment that we are aware of, because I want return buyers.” 

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