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Pinpoint Iron Values on the Internet

A wealth of pricing information is available online that is not only current but also very specific to your largest liquid asset.

Vern Hofman (a North Dakota State University ag engineer, now retired) referred to machinery as the largest liquid asset that farmers could own.

However, he lamented at the time, few farmers fully realized how much that liquid asset was really worth.

That’s understandable. If operators had livestock or stored grain (the other major liquid assets on farms) they could calculate, with a high degree of accuracy, the value of those items due to daily market prices.

Oftentimes, when farmers go to trade in machinery, they enter those negotiations with little more than a vague idea of what their machinery is worth. Believe me, dealers know within a few percentage points what they are willing to give for that iron. 

When operators head to auctions looking to bid on a particular piece of machinery, they often guess at current market values based on little more than across-the-fence or coffee-shop anecdotes. 

Stale source of iron values

True, there is a source of iron values available in print. But the prices quoted are often based on a sliver of sales for an individual machine. Worse yet, if you look closely, you’ll notice that sales information is stale, often a year or more older. Basing a major purchase or trade-in decision on that information is, at best, risky, since machinery values have been fluctuating widely the last five years and, actually, in just the last five months!

The internet offers you access to both current and accurate equipment value information with just a click of your mouse.

One great source, which is a for-pay service, is offered by Iron Solutions. The website not only provides an extensive listing of current machinery for sale by dealers but also offers a service that will generate an in-depth value report for a specific region based on recent sales of machinery. 

The values given are based on data from bona fide dealer sales, auction sales, wholesale transactions, retail advertised pricing, and the selling price of a comparable new machine. 

The service uses historical data averaged with the most current rolling 12-month reports to give a normalized average price for each machine.

Not only that, the report is super accurate. That’s because it’s based on sales that suit your equipment’s specifications (if selling or trading in) or your exact needs (if buying).

conducting your own research

Another internet alternative is to do what I do when preparing the “Machinery Insider” reports for Successful Farming magazine or my “Steel Deals” reports on the Successful Farming Show (on RFD-TV).  

An extensive treasure trove of transactional information – either dealer asking prices or auction sales – is readily available online that can be accessed on the computer. That’s how I create the “Pocket Price Guide." Utilizing these online sources provides me with up-to-date values on machinery, vehicles, and construction gear. There is a wide variety of internet sites you can access to derive iron values.

Auction prices

If you are trying to get a handle on actual bids given at auction, I recommend both the Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers site and the AuctionTime site.

With both of these sites, you’ll want to click on the farm equipment listings and specifically the “Auction Results” button. From there, using these locations is straightforward. You can filter searches not only by the make and model of machinery you are looking for but also by price, hours, sale time (last month, last season, etc.), and equipment specifications. The site offers the added benefit of searching by city location. That site is the largest listing of transactions on construction, industrial, transportation, and forestry equipment in the world.

dealer asking prices

Regarding internet search locations for dealer asking values, here are four great sites:

Each of these locations provides an impressive listing of current dealer offerings. True, these are asking prices, but by comparing them with auction results from the previously mentioned websites, you can create a solid price listing.

John Deere’s dealer site is a particular wonder to use. Its filtering setup allows you to drill down precisely to a specific machine in a specific state. 

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