Searching for a Deal on Chore Tractors?
Just prior to planting, I took a trip to Clinton, Missouri, to attend one of Cook Auction's sales. Up for bid that particular day was a model 4630, the pride of the John Deere row-crop tractor line in the mid-1970s. This tractor attracted my attention due to a previous group discussion on Agriculture.com regarding chore tractors.
That exchange was about the ideal chore tractor for today’s farm. The responses took me back at first, as readers often replied that they were looking for 130- to 150-hp. machines as chore tractors. I thought that sounded a bit large until I considered the power needs for today’s farm chores such as running a batwing mower, powering a 14-inch auger, pushing a snow blade, or pulling grain wagons.
The other aspect that comes into play here is the growing demand for midsize (60 to 120 hp.) utility tractors by large acreage owners or smaller farms, points out Scott Cook of Cook Auction. This is pushing up prices on this size and age of tractors, inspiring farmers to look for cheaper chore horsepower with larger models, Cook figures.
I looked into recent sales of John Deere 2630s (78 hp. built from 1974 to 1975) and 2640s (77 hp. built from 1976 to 1982) and found that they are bringing $5,700 to $11,000. Compare that with recent auction prices that were given for larger Deere tractors listed below. Only known (not unverified) hours are included in this analysis.
Model 4620 (150 hp., built from 1971 to 1972)
- Sale average: $8,642
- Sales range: $6,900 to $13,000
- Average hours: 7,910
- Hours range: 5,375 to 9,509
Model 4630 (166 hp., built from 1973 to 1977)
- Sale average: $9,210
- Sales range: $4,500 to $16,700
- Average hours: 7,475
- Hours range: 4,721 to 9,836
Model 4640 (172 hp., built from 1978 to 1982)
- Sale average: $11,534
- Sales range: $8,900 to $14,900
- Average hours: 7,766
- Hours range: 4,510 to 10,402
Model 4650 (183 hp., built from 1983 to 1988)
- Sale average: $19,900
- Sales range: $12,200 to $35,000
- Average hours: 6,555
- Hours range: 2,430 to 13,114
The price per horsepower definitely favors buying larger tractors. That’s because they may have experienced less wear and tear due to the fact that such tractors were primarily used for fieldwork as opposed to pushing a loader, which can put extra stress on transmissions and frames. Then, too, tractors of this size come with stronger hydraulics that are perfect for choring.
The Pocket Price Guide can give you a good feel for what 150- to 165-hp. tractors from the 1970s are bringing at auction. Their values vary greatly as can be expected from tractors that are long in the tooth. Accumulated hours, either on an original or a rebuilt engine, strongly dictate final prices. Another major impact on such tractors’ worth is the condition of their tires.
Collectors pushing values up
There is a challenge when buying high-horsepower tractors particularly from the early 1970s. Lurking in auction crowds these days are tractor collectors looking to expand their fleet with muscle tractors from this period.
If you collect, you know what I mean.
A good example of this can be seen in International 1468 models. This 161-hp. tractor was built from 1971 to 1974 and is quickly becoming a target of collectors. Backing up that observation is the recent sale of 1468s that sold at auction for between $23,000 (for a tractor described as beautifully restored with 6,250 hours) up to $36,000 (on a unique 1468 hosting an original V-8 motor with 400 hours on rebuild).
Not all higher horsepower tractors from the 1970s are collectible, but you can count on unusual (such as that 1468 with the V-8 diesel) or on low-production models to attract the attention of collectors at auction.
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