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Pricing Out Premium Used Planters

At a recent dealer invention reduction sale conducted by Sullivan Auctioneers in central Iowa, I saw the bottom of the late-model large machinery market. At that auction, a 2014 Kinze 3660 ASD 12/23 planter that had covered 5,822 acres (pictured at right) brought $72,000. 

Next up was a 2013 Deere 1770NT CCS 16-row (30-inch) planter with 3,933 acres under its wheels that went for $64,500.

The surprise of that sale was a 12-year-old Deere 1770NT 24-row that sold for $59,000.

planter prices on a rebound  

What do all these planters have in common? Their final bids were, on average, 10% higher than a year ago, my database reveals. Bear in mind these planters sold in December, which is usually not the high tide in used planter prices (it’s generally in late February through March).

This particular auction featured an outstanding line of late-model machinery, much of which had been preconditioned by the dealer. For example, that Kinze 3660 had been inspected and all repairs covered, including the addition of new disk openers. Luke Sullivan warned me the day before the sale that he had definitely seen prices on premium planters like the Kinze firm up in the last several months.

The sale of these planters prompted me to look into dealer asking prices on 24-row planters. I narrowed that research to only 2014 models with telescoping hitches. The result of that work is reflected in the Pocket Price Guide.

planter prices on a rebound  

One very noticeable fact rose from this research: The impact that accessories have on planter values. Take the $199,000 Deere DB 60, for example. In addition to being rigged with a full-figured liquid fertilizer system, that planter came with hydraulically adjustable row cleaners, SmartBox insecticide, active pneumatic down pressure, scales, and about all the features available.

This brings up a pet peeve I have regarding the lack of specifications listed by some dealers online. I applaud those dealers whose online listings are thorough to a fault. Searching through listings online has become a common way of doing business these days. Farmers have taken to the internet to speedily track down iron that suits their specific needs. A thorough inventory of features saves them time in that search while preparing them to buy with confidence.

hard cash in that line of old iron sitting in the shed

The expansion of online-only auctions (which allow you to sell equipment from your farm with the online buyer making arrangements for transport from that location) and the proliferation of live consignment auctions offer an opportunity to sell off little-used or abandoned machinery for hard cash.  

“You wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve gone to a farm and the farmer has his old equipment in the machine shed and the new equipment sitting outside,” observes Mark Stock of BigIron Auctions. “Most farmers have at least half a dozen pieces of unused equipment sitting around taking up space.”

Unused equipment, even if it’s stored, loses value with time, as its batteries, tires, hoses, and seals deteriorate. As such, there is a cost in the form of lost value in keeping equipment. An Iowa State University study found that the economic life for most equipment is 10 to 12 years; it’s 15 years for tractors.

Occasionally, old iron appreciates in value. A good example of that can be seen in a 1991 Case IH 1044 corn head, which brought $6,000 at a Wieman Auction consignment sale. A 1988 six-row Case IH head brought $6,500 at that same sale. Both examples point to the appreciation occurring in smaller equipment that is no longer made and, thus, is highly sought after by part-time and hobby farmers.

Another example of escalating values in older equipment is a 28-year-old Case IH 496 disk that went for $13,000 in a BigIron online auction. I did some digging and found eight 28-foot-wide 496s that sold in the last six months from $7,700 up to $17,700.

Tractors from the 1960s and 1970s, particularly muscle tractors over 100 hp., are being sought out by collectors, and this is escalating their values. An Oliver 1800 brought $8,500 at a Steffes sale in eastern Iowa. 

True, these are the exceptional examples of iron appreciating in value, but most machinery represents thousands of dollars in cash. For this reason, Stock advises you to take an inventory of unused equipment. You can consult with an auctioneer or an estate consultant, or you can go online to past sale results to put a value on your unused equipment. After that, find an online or live consignment sale to cash in on that equipment’s latent value.

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