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Vertical-Till Disks Attracting Bids

While lower commodity prices have had a dampening effect on the sale of big-ticket items such as used tractors and combines, the same isn’t necessarily true of tillage implements. If anything, buyers are looking for late-model used iron when considering an upgrade to bigger or more advanced tillage tools.

Case in point is vertical-tillage tools.

Interest in vertical tillage has skyrocketed in the past decade with every major manufacturer offering variations of such implements in their lines. Vertical tillage’s appeal is that it provides the advantage of high-speed sizing of crop trash (particularly tough corn residue) while mixing that trash with a small amount of soil in the fall. The end result is that trash is anchored down (and less likely to blow away) to more readily break down over the winter months. Or, when employed in the spring, vertical tillage quickly sizes trash so it easily flows through planters while also aerating the soil.

Interest in vertical tillage to save expense


Machinery Insider: Vertical Tillage Equipment

My attraction to used vertical-till implements came after a discussion with several central Iowa farmers last fall. They expressed an interest in trying out vertical tillage but wanted to avoid having to invest in a new machine.

That made sense. If the experiment didn’t work out, they would have less at stake with a used machine.

“I’ve had a lot more questions about vertical tillage of late,” says consultant Kevin Kimberley of Maxwell, Iowa ( when asked about interest in the practice. “I think the lower prices of corn and soybeans have folks considering ways of cutting down on expenses like reducing tillage to save on fuel as well as hours on a tractor.”

Case IH 330 example

At a recent massive consignment auction, a 2010 Case IH True Tandem 330 Turbo was on the line. It was a 34-foot-wide machine in good to excellent condition.

A base price was called out at $28,000 and bidding began slowly at first. Within minutes, bids on the 330 shot past $35,000 before topping out at $36,500.

Derek Wiemen of Wieman Land & Auction ( was conducting that sale and said this about the flurry of activity with the Case IH 330.

“There aren’t a lot of these machines at auction yet, so they bring attention to themselves. We only had three at this sale,” he pointed out. “That rarity has a tendency to put a price floor on machines in good condition like the implement that sold today.”

Determining value

So, what is it going to take to invest in a vertical-tillage system?

The data below provides a good starting point for determining values.

However, like a politician running for office, I’m going to hedge on how hard these prices are. The challenge with nailing down the values of vertical-tillage tools is that various makes and models can be equipped with myriad different features and options such as:

  • Coulters vs. disks

  • Coulter type: smooth vs. rippled vs. fluted

  • Coulter or disk size: 20 vs. 22 inches in diameter

  • Coulter or disk spacing

  • Finishing attachments: rolling baskets vs. rolling harrows vs. conditioning reels

That doesn’t even include related features such as gang angles, hydraulic leveling, single-point depth control, and much more.

Spend time on the Internet and research the machine you are interested in. Then, factor in its features and configuration before setting a firm bidding range.



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