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Bids on Balers Are Booming

By Dave Mowitz

You could track the return of prosperity in the cattle business by visiting any dealer’s lot or auction yard late in 2012. That was about the time a string of round balers brought record prices at a Cook Auction sale in central Missouri.

“Some forage equipment, like small square balers, have always sold well supported by the horse industry or custom balers,” says Scott Cook. “Values for typical production farming forage gear, like round balers, appeared soft up until 2012. That’s around the time I noticed a strong price rebound.”

If 2012 and 2013 were good for cattle producers, 2014 was gangbusters. This explains an additional spurt in the auction bids and asking prices for late-model forage harvesting equipment.

In the December issue of Successful Farming magazine, I tracked the average prices given in 2014 compared with 2013 for a variety of farm equipment. All the iron showed weaker values – except round balers. The values of 2- to 4-year-old balers that turned out 62×72-inch bales, for example, had jumped over 11% in 2014.

At that time, my projections for 2015 were for another 13% to 15% increase in values. Based on the 2015 sales of New Holland BR series balers (the focus of the Pocket Price Guide below), overall, my predictions are tracking true.

Why is there a wide variety of prices?
closer examination of the Pocket Price Guide may have you scratching your head. Why, for example, did that 2013 model BR7070 sold in Louisiana go for $11,200, while a 2009 version that sold in Minnesota went for nearly twice that money?

In this case, it was a matter of wear as reflected in bales produced. The 2013 model turned out 8,700 bales in two years, while the 6-year-old Minnesota baler produced just 1,700 bales.
In addition to a physical inspection, it is crucial to determine how many bales a round baler has produced in order to determine wear and its effect on value.

Scott Cook advises that the first thing you look for on a used baler of any type (round, small square, or large square) is the bale counter. “That’s as good a guide to determining how much life is left in belts, bearings, and other wear components than anything I can think of,” he explains.

While bale production is the first sorting gate to use when setting a top bid on a baler, the second gate is features.

Look at that 2011 BR7070 from Wisconsin. It turned out just 197 bales. Yet, it sold for only $9,200.

Compare it with the 2009 BR7070 from Minnesota. That baler was two years older and had turned out 10 times the bales. Yet, it sold for over twice the amount ($20,000).

The reason for this price difference is found in the “Specifications” column.

The Wisconsin machine was a plain-Jane, twine-tie-only baler.

The Minnesota machine, on the other hand, was loaded. It had New Holland’s popular CropCutter feature that slices the bale while it is being formed, which makes for easier feeding. Also, that baler offered both twine and net wrap, a bale ramp, and high-flotation tires – all accessories that greatly add to a used machine’s value.

Machinery Show used iron sale features
Track the sale of New Holland round balers, Case IH combines, J&M grain carts, and Kenworth semi trucks in Machinery Show future reports. The show airs every Thursday at 9 p.m., Friday at 1 a.m., and Sunday at 10 p.m. (all times are Eastern). Go to to find satellite or cable providers carrying RFD-TV.


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