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Vertical-Till Inventories Tighten

Add vertical-tillage implements to what will be a growing list of diminishing supplies of late-model equipment. As reported in the last issue of Successful Farming magazine, supplies of large late-model carts are also in short supply.

Shortages of both implements predict coming times when high-quality used iron inventories will be in short supply. So far, that doesn’t appear to be the case with higher horsepower tractors and combines whose used inventories are still in ample supply. But this will change as it did with grain carts and vertical-tillage implements.

The root cause of this shift in values is lack of new machinery sales since 2015.

Until recently, ample supplies of trade-ins of machines from 2014 and earlier populated dealers’ lots. But dealers have greatly reduced their inventories, and trade-ins on late model units are low.

Dealers are also well aware of what they have in vertical-tillage (VT) implements, which are red hot right now with farmers who appreciate their field speed. So dealers are holding firm on prices for VT machines, particularly late-model implements in excellent condition like those listed in this Pocket Price Guide.

“We are not seeing a lot of vertical-tillage implements showing up at auction,” says Scott Cook of Cook Auction ( “When we do have late-model machines consigned, particularly those with low acres on them, bidding can be fierce. So these are definitely implements in high demand.” 

As a result, the asking and auction prices on well-equipped VT implements are inching closer to new prices. This became obvious when I ran an average price comparison of late-model VT implements compared with new-old machines (brand-new implements sitting on dealers’ lots). 

Case IH True Tandem
335 VT (28')

2018 new average: $71,000

2016 used average: $60,000

Price difference: $11,000

Great Plains 2400 TM (24')

2018 new average: $53,900

2014 used average: $39,200

Price difference: $14,700

Great Plains 3000 TM (30')

2018 new average $64,530

2016 used average : $48,100

Price difference: $16,431

John Deere 2633 VT (33')

2018 new average: $82,600

2016 used average: $66,900

Price difference: $15,700

Landoll 7431 VT (23')

2018 new average: $50,300

2016 used average: $52,900

Price difference: $2,650

Landoll 7431 VT (29')

2018 new average: $71,200

2016 used average: $61,000

Price difference: $10,200

True, 2019 model year implements will be at a higher price than the new-old stock I found for this comparison. Still, this comparison raises questions. At some point, you have to ask yourself if it might not be better to pay the price difference to get a brand-new machine with a full warranty. 

The other factor is the condition of the late-model VT implement you are considering. With a motorized machine, you can check on engine hours to gauge its use. Implements demand a personal inspection to size up their condition. “Much can be discovered about an implement’s use by looking at wear, tear, and lack of maintenance,” says Derek Wiemen of Wieman Auction.

Here are four key inspection points when evaluating tillage implements.

  1. Scrutinize shovels, points, shears, and disks. With VT implements, it’s all about the coulters. So take a tape measure along to size up coulter diameters, comparing those measurements to brand-new disk diameters. Be sure to factor in the potential cost of sharpening disks and coulters. 
  2. Look for cracks in the frame, particularly at hinging points.
  3. Check tire condition. Cracked sidewalls and thin treads are sure signs you need a replacement. With some implement tires costing hundreds, this is no small cost.
  4. Examine the entire hydraulic system. Hose, coupler, and cylinder condition reveal a great deal about the age and quality of implements.
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