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Farmland Sale: Irrigated Nebraska Quarters Average $9,779 Per Acre

Farmer buys one tract, investor buys another.

If there’s one thing we’ve said time and again in this space, it’s that good land will always hold its value. 

Dave Luckey, broker and appraiser for Buss Realty and Auction in Columbus, Nebraska, said just that following the sale of two tracts of irrigated Platte County, Nebraska, land on Nov. 7. The land sold for $3.056 million, or averaging $9,779 per acre.

The two adjoining quarter sections were sold to settle an estate, Luckey says. 

  • Tract 1, 160 acres, has 153.31 cropland acres, featuring mostly Nora-Crofton and Moody silt loam soils. The field has a 1997 Lockwood pivot system, with 105-hp. electric motor, and a 1,000-gallon-per-minute well. The system has an Ag Sense Field Command mobile app for remote stop/start. It sold for $1.488 million ($9,300 per acre). 
  • Tract 2, 160 acres, is just south of Tract 1 and features similar soils. It has 157.73 tillable acres and a 1,250-gallon-per-minute well, with a 1974 Lockwood pivot and Ag Sense Field Command. It sold for $1.568 million ($9,800 per acre). 

Multiple folks bid on the properties and when the gavel fell, a neighboring farmer bought Tract 1 and an investor bought Tract 2. Neither selling price was a surprise.

“We were expecting at least $9,000 per acre. It’s a strong area, with a lot of potential buyers,” he reports. “Good quality land has held its own. Poorer quality land is where we see the price fall.” 

For example, Luckey cited a non-sale of 80 acres across the county from October, 2019. Despite being irrigated with a newer system, the farm – which had a large wetland on it – didn’t garner a bid at $4,000 per acre. That’s proof that buyers are choosy about where they put their money.

In 2018, corn yields in Platte County were 192.5 bushels per acre; soybeans, 55.7 bushels per acre according to USDA. According to the University of Nebraska, the average price for high-quality, pivot-irrigated cropland in northeast Nebraska is $8,240 per acre, while cash rent in the area for the same land is $325 per acre.

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