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News from North Dakota

Now this ought to be interesting.

Sums up my thinking earlier this week looking at the pair of super farm retirement auctions this week by Steffes Auctioneers in eastern North Dakota. These two auctions, held Tuesday and Wednesday of this week (November 3 and 4, 2009), featured a ton of very nice late model farm equipment.

I wondered if these auctions may be postponed due to weather. Good weather.

This fall has not been a friendly harvest season across such a wide swath of the country. Wet, wet, wet. So much work getting pushed back further and further. Finally a hopeful window of nice weather comes along mid week, just in time for these two sales.

Would folks be in a buying mood? Would the late model big ticket pieces of equipment potentially sell soft?


Turns out both Steffes auctions this week went very, very well. The equipment was in great condition and the sale prices were very strong.

"There was a little apprehension leading up to the auctions," says Brad Olstad of Steffes Auctioneers. "But we decided to stay the course and have the sales. There was an explosion of interest in the trucks for sale. Folks wanted more rolling capacity. We started to get calls from Montana all the way out to Oregon, up into Canada. Canadian buyers were huge. They took advantage of the bounce in the dollar. They came in full force."

Examples of the strong sale prices?

How about the 2001 model JD 9650 Walker combine with 1,376 engine hours sold Tuesday on the sale in east-central North Dakota, it brought $121,000. That's with NO heads. Pretty impressive for an eight-year-old machine.

But the real attention grabber on Tuesday's sale was the 2001 JD 914 pickup platform sold for $12,500. I've seen 99 JD 914s sold at auction going back over the last 13 years. Next highest sale price? It was back in 2003 when one sold for $10,000.

Click here to view auction sale prices on John Deere 914 pickup heads .

On to yesterday's auction in northeast North Dakota, right on the Canadian border. Not quite as wet up further north. This sale featured even more late model equipment for sale, including a bevy of super nice semi tractors. Again, no signs of softness in sale prices:

2006 JD 4920 sprayer, 120' boom, 1,200 gallon SS tank, 675 hours: $192,500

2002 Flexi-Coil ST820 50-foot chisel plow: $28,000

2004 Freightliner CL120 tri-axle semi tractor with 22'x8' Cancade box, Shurlok tarp, 251,000 miles: $57,500

JD GS2 2600 monitor with swath control: $14,500

Then there were the tractors.

A 2008 JD 9530 4WD with 1,024 hours sold yesterday for $203,000. Other tractors up for sale yesterday included: a 2003 JD 9520T with 36-inch tracks and 2,980 hours; a 2002 JD 9420 4WD with 3,841 hours; a 2006 JD 8530 MFWD with 1,774 hours; a 2002 JD 8320 MFWD with 3,513 hours; a 2004 JD 7920 MFWD with 2,652 hours.

Sale prices were strong. See for yourself in the new video I'll be posting today (November 5, 2009) featuring highlights from these two auctions. Check it out at

So what do these two North Dakota auctions tell me? That there is still a strong demand for really good quality used farm equipment. When I talk about strong sale prices, I'm not saying folks were paying too much. Not at all. I'm just reflecting the reality that there has been and is currently still very competitive buying interest in very good condition used equipment.

Easy to understand why. Take that 2008 JD 9530 4WD tractor sold yesterday on the auction for $203,000. What's a new one cost? Over $300K? Price increases of 4%, 6% or 8% over the last few years by all manufacturers, plus controlled production levels have created a sustained strong demand from buyers for very nice one-year-, two-year-, five-year- and 10-year-old models.

As these two auctions showed once again, this trend isn't changing. Even with a late, troubling harvest season.

Now this ought to be interesting.

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