It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since crop prices took a turn for the better. Promising margins spurred demand for all types of good used farm equipment across North America, and auction prices started breaking records, especially on tractors, grain-handling equipment and tillage tools.
Disk chisels are a perfect example. In August, a five-shank DMI 530C sold at a Sullivan Auctioneers absolute consignment auction in Hamilton, Ill.
The unit was in excellent condition but a bit older, as evident by the DMI brand, which is now sold as a Case IH 530C. Even so, the disk chisel sold for $23,500, earning it the highest auction sale price I’ve seen on a DMI 530C.
Two months earlier I was in the far northeast corner of New York, close to Lake Placid, shooting a potato farmer’s retirement auction by Pirrung Auctioneers for my new Machinery Pete’s "Auction of the Week" show on RFD-TV. Of course, I was drawn to the nice tractors, including a John Deere 8220 MFWD. The tractor, which had slightly more than 1,300 hours, sold for a whopping $137,000 (the second highest sale price I’ve seen on a John Deere 8220).
Also of interest at this New York farm auction was a like-new Sunflower 4212 nine-shank disk chisel. Just three months prior in late March, a seven-shank Sunflower 4212 in good condition sold for $10,000 at an auction in southeast Pennsylvania. So how high did the Sunflower 4212 at the New York retirement auction go? $14,000.
The third notable disk chisel sold at auction that comes to mind is a 2011 Case IH 530C five-shank model. At a Dec. 14, 2012, farm auction by Van Adkisson in northwest Illinois, it sold for $26,000. Also at that auction, a 2011 Case IH 260 tractor with 239 hours sold for $157,000. A 2010 Case IH 5088 combine with 775 engine hours sold for $188,500.
While $26,000 was a strong sale price on the Case IH 530C, I did see one sneak past that at an Aug. 14, 2013, farm auction in east-central Illinois. That particular Case IH 530C ended up at $27,000.
A like-new Sunflower 4212 nine-shank disk chisel at a New York auction in July brought $14,000.
Summer heat. Note the timing of that sale: August 2013—the same month the DMI 530C sold for a record $23,500 at the Hamilton, Ill. sale. August was a hot month indeed for used tillage values. At a southeast South Dakota farm auction on Aug. 8, a 2007 John Deere 512 seven-shank sold for $24,000. That’s a new record-high auction price on a seven-shank 512 model.
Farmers in the market for a good used disk have had to pay more, too. From January 1999 through October 2007 (before crop prices skyrocketed), I only saw four Case IH 496 models sell for $10,000 or more at auction. The high sale price was $14,000 at a Dec. 6, 2002, auction in south-central Illinois for a 25½' 1998 model Case IH 496 with 7½" spacing.
Since November 2007, the number of Case IH 496 disks that I’ve seen sell for $10,000 or more totals 43! Want to take a guess at how high prices have reached? At a west-central Minnesota farm auction on Aug. 8, 2013, a 25' Case IH 496 sold by Henslin Auctions Inc. brought $21,000. Note the date of that sale again—August 2013. As we saw with the used disk chisel market, values on good used tillage items were hotter than the weather in August.
Earlier this year, I saw a spike in values of older smaller-sized used disks in good condition. A couple examples stand out. First, a 24' White 271 sold for $13,500 at a March 28, 2013, farm auction in east-central Ohio. That sale price is $5,500 more than the previous record high sale price of $8,000 for a 27' White 271, which sold at a June 30, 2012, farm auction in east-central Saskatchewan.
Then there was a pair of old John Deere 215 disks that reached the two highest auction prices I’ve ever witnessed. A 16' tandem sold for $7,500 at a March 29, 2013, farm auction in south-central Montana. A few weeks later, a 15' tandem sold for $7,000 at a May 15, 2013, farm sale in west-central South Dakota.
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