Steel deals - combines

Over the past few years combine prices went into a free-fall then hit bottom. This year, it appears that many buyers who have put off upgrading harvesters since commodity prices fell in 2014 are now looking for replacements. Dealer stocks, particularly late-model combines aren’t as abundant as in recent years. Also pushing up prices is the popularity of online-only auctions in response to COVID-19, and the uptick in bidder participation.

Dave Mowitz is the machinery editor for Successful Farming magazine. He says don’t expect a lot of wiggle room in the price.

"If you’re looking at a combine either at auction or you’re looking at dealer lots, prices are pretty firmed up. If you’re looking to get a bargain, you may have to look awhile because what the dealer is asking for is likely what that combine is selling for," says Mowitz. "Also bear in mind, August September, that’s the high of the market. That means everybody’s buying just before harvest."

The best time to buy a combine is winter and spring. But you might find better deals on older combines.

"If you’re looking at a 2008 or 2003, or even way back to ’98, you’re going to find those to be very competitively priced. Combines do their depreciation dance the first ten years of their life, some a little later maybe 12 years," he says. "And then, they just settle into pretty much a price lock. They’re not going to change much."

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