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Shrinking Dealer Supply of High-Horsepower, Front-Wheel-Drive Tractors

A year ago, I canvased my advisory panel of auctioneers regarding the outlook of used iron values in 2016. All eight advisers mentioned large-horsepower front-wheel drives (FWDs) as one of the best deals going, because the availability of late-model and low-hour tractors in this category was at historically high levels. 

A year later? Stocks of high-horsepower FWDs are still healthy, but they are dwindling.

As proof, I consulted John Deere’s dealer listing site, machinefinder.com. I confined my search to 2013 and later 300-hp.-plus FWDs with fewer than 500 hours. Just short of 300 listings came up fitting that description. 

When I looked into other manufacturer sites (like caseih.com or newholland.com) and independent sites (like fastline.com or tractorhouse.com), I unearthed another 200-plus listings. So that’s roughly 500-plus late-model large FWDs looking for new owners these days.

Here is the big news, though. When I compared this year’s search with 2015 numbers I generated a year ago, I calculated that dealers have reduced their inventories of 4-year-old or younger FWDs with low hours by 32%.  

This issue’s Pocket Price Guide is generated from my online shopping spree. 

Taking advantage of the filtering ability on these websites, I narrowed my search to include just low-hour 2014 models in the 330-hp. to 350-hp. range. This happens to be the most popular segment in the high-horsepower tractor marketplace. 

The biggest takeaway from the guide is the surprising low hours on these 3-year-old tractors. True, the 59-hour Deere 8345R (first Deere listed) is an aberration (likely a demonstrator tractor), but the 41 tractors listed in the guide are very typical of what you will find on most any dealer’s lot. 

My online research also confirmed how easy it is to fingertip-shop on dealers’ lots these days. Besides revealing what is available nearby and away, online searches offer the opportunity to prove the value of a machinery purchase to a banker.

This article originally appeared in Successful Farming magazine.

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