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What to look for when purchasing a used sprayer

The bargains are gone, but some "reasonable" sprayers are available.

In the slew of auctions that ended last year, large machinery stole the bidding show by fetching like-new prices. We all expected the late-model, lowhour “good stuff” would sell well because of machinery shortages and the inevitable scramble to make year-end tax purchases. Yet, as the old saying observes, “a rising tide raises all boats,” demand was so keen even older machinery was bringing record prices.

Case in point was a John Deere 8310 that sold at a retirement auction in Minnesota held by the Steffes Group. Sure, the tractor was pristine. Yet it was 20 years old and showing 7,462 hours. The tractor’s final bid even had machinery veterans like Scott Steffes shaking his head. It was $124,000!

“It goes without saying 2021 will be marked as one of the greatest ‘change’ years,” the head of the Steffes Group later observed. “Farm equipment, construction equipment, transportation, and real estate were all marking new highs everywhere we looked.”

Certainly, tractor values have stolen the price show.

However, other high-ticket items such as self-propelled sprayers are setting auction records as well.

For example, a 2017 New Holland SP345F displaying just under 1,300 hours sold at a December auction in Illinois. Coming to the market loaded (120- foot boom, 1,600-gallon stainless steel tank, and four-wheel steering), the applicator brought a final bid of $199,000. That same week a 2014 Deere R4038 (1,580 hours, 120-foot boom, and 1,000-gallon tank) brought $220,000.

As with tractors, applicators that are a bit long in the tooth are bringing premium prices as well. Finding bargains even with 8- or 10-year-old applicators is a rarity these days. 

Price Research

That’s why you need to arm yourself with as much price information as possible before heading to auction or a dealer’s lot. Below you will find hour and price ranges for John Deere models by age range.

2019 to 2021 Model Years

R4030 • Hour range: 222 to 1,779 hrs. • Price range: $239,900 to $379,500

R4038 • Hour range: 182 to 2,245 hrs. • Price range: $219,900 to $450,738

R4044 • Hour range: 266 to 1,274 hrs. • Price range: $274,900 to $497,992

R4045 • Hour range: 223 to 2,187 hrs. • Price range: $225,500 to $524,825

R4060 • Hour range: 338to 1,510 hrs. • Price range: $430,100 to $553,500

2015 to 2018 Model Years

R4030 • Hour range: 483 to 2,905 hrs. • Price range: $115,000 to $305,100

R4038 • Hour range: 945 to 4,165 hrs. • Price range: $145,250 to $407,010

R4045 • Hour range: 1,955 to 6,265 hrs. • Price range: $94,900 to $264,302

2011 to 2014 Model Years

R4940 • Hour range: 891 to 6,420 hrs. • Price range: $69,900 to $169,900

R4630 • Hour range: 1,030 to 4,823 hrs. • Price range: $66,100 to $159,000 

4030 • Hour range: 935 to 4,210 hrs. • Price range: $110,000 to $261,000 

4038 • Hour range: 889 to 4,505 hrs. • Price range: $128,900 to $263,740 

R4830 • Hour range: 1,976to 4,133 hrs. • Price range: $74,500 to $206,000 

R4720 • Hour range: 1,525 to 4,316 hrs. • Price range: $85,000 to $179,500

Auctions of Note

Feb. 14, 15 & 16:The Western Kansas Equipment Consignment Auction will be held by Scott Auction (scottauction.com) in Garden City, Kansas.

Feb. 26: Dagg's Auction (daggsauction.hibid.com) has set its annual spring farm consignment auction to be held in Xenia, Illinois.

Feb. 26: Lehde Auction (lehdeauctionservice.com) holds its annual spring consignment auction in Addieville, Illinois.

29156_auction_price

Supply Shortages Catch Up to Sprayers

As you plan your spring, chemicals may not be your only input in short supply.

If the end of 2021’s auction season is any indication, low-hour self-propelled sprayers are going to be more difficult to find this year.

Sales of these applicators have had a strong seasonality with 50% in our Tractor Zoom auction site moving between Thanksgiving and the end of March. Yet, this past December’s volume was only about half of what it was in December 2020.

These self-propelled sprayers started 2021 strong with enough volume to satisfy demand. We were seeing spring values 12% higher than we saw in 2020. That is high, but acceptable.

As cracks in equipment supply chains began widening during the summer, sprayer supplies were mostly overlooked. They were working just fine in the field and not traded often enough to notice any appreciable change. Even going into harvest the number of sprayers at auction was not drastically lower.

Not until December was it apparent that there were a lot of dollars seeking a scarce supply. This sent average values surging $60,000 over the previous year! It is hard to parse out how much of this price increase was driven by equipment shortage and how much was driven by tax buys.

If you are in the market for a sprayer, don’t despair. We have seen a few trends on tractorzoom.com to help you find that used sprayer with the hour range you are looking for. First, while the supply of sprayers was tight at the end of 2021, it was not as desolate as new tractors and combines. (That’s little consolation if you are also looking for one of those!) 

Values are up, but research pricing before buying to avoid getting caught in the “this is your last chance” hysteria. To better understand prices, go to tractorzoom.com to view dozens of dealer listings, side by side, from all across the country. You’ll also see what’s available at upcoming auctions.

Auctions are the place to find deals. Auction values, on average, are 40% lower than dealer listings for sprayers between 3,000 and 4,000 hours. The challenge is finding them.

If you are in dire need of a sprayer, you should be able to find what you are looking for under “Dealer Listings.”

Of the available used sprayers for sale on tractorzoom.com in December, well over 90% were at dealerships. Most were in good condition with less than 2,000 hours.

Whether you are looking for something new, or a bargain, the game has changed. Searching for your operation’s future piece of equipment is now a necessity. Operations cannot afford to be broken down in the field with no alternative. It takes just a minute to go to tractorzoom. com, save a search, and ensure a better bargaining position when you find that perfect sprayer.

By Andy Campbell, Ironcomps.com

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