You are here

Seed tender values are squishy

Certainly, one of the unsung advances in speeding up planting since the turn of the century has been the seed tender. Sure, you can’t beat the advantages of going with a wider planter when it comes to boosting acre-covering capacity in the spring.

Yet, a seed tender shaves valuable time at refill besides saving your back. Depending on how well equipped the tender is, these implements offer the ability to access multiple hybrids in one location or provide an easy job of adding talc or graphite to seed. 

For these and other reasons, until 2013, a virtual fleet of tenders were sold.

What happened in 2013? As you’re painfully aware, commodity prices crashed.

New tender sales have been sluggish, at best, since then.

Tenders, like grain carts, do not experience the same wear and tear as other pieces of equipment like tractors, combines, or tillage implement.

After all, what’s to go wrong? A little wear on a conveyor or maybe the motor gets to smoking a little. The limited use (in terms of hours working refilling a planter) means a seed tender has a long working life.

So, farmers have been holding on to their tenders waiting until commodity prices improve to replace them. As a result, used tenders rarely show up at auction (unless it’s a retirement or estate sale) and are in short supply at dealer lots. “We don’t see that many of them coming to our consignment sales,” says Tim Meyer with Steffes Auctioneers. “When they are listed, bidding on them is usually brisk, particularly on late-model bulk tenders.”

In addition, the sale of new tenders is so sluggish that the industry is loaded with new old-stock tenders that are 1 to even 4 years old. Plus, manufacturers are aggressively pricing new tenders to stimulate sales. This situation has resulted in late-model used tenders, particularly those that are loaded with features, bringing prices that are comparable with new tenders.

An example of this can be found in a used 2018 Unverferth 3755XL bulk tender (which has a capacity to hold 375 seed units) for sale in Illinois. This tender came loaded with an 8-inch-wide by 21-foot-long belt conveyor, triple axles, scales, remote control, and bumper hitch.

Its asking price used was $31,500.

For comparison, a new 2020 model similarly equipped 3755XL has asking prices ranging from $33,750 to $39,800.

With a $2,250 to $8,000 price difference, you have to ask yourself if it wouldn’t be better to pay that extra money for a brand-new tender under full warranty.

Certainly, this is just one example. The age and variety of used tenders on the market are vast, and this requires buyers to invest time researching potential buys. When doing so, bear in mind that tenders vary greatly by the following:

  • Type. Bulk tenders (by far the most popular seed carrier) vs. boxed units (two- or four-box tenders make up this market offering). 
  • Features. You can find tenders that come with belt conveyors (that are gentler on seed), triple axles, talc and graphite applicators, scales, roll tarps, and remote-control functions. 

Download our Pocket Price Guide of asking prices on box and bulk seed tenders.

Read more about

Tip of the Day

Agronomy Tip: Create a Crop Scouting Tool Kit

A farmer scouting soybeans. If you plan to spend time scouting your fields, put together a crop scouting tool kit for your comfort and efficiency.

Machinery Talk

Most Recent Poll

Will you attend a trade show in the next 3 months?