Machinery Pete: It's A Matter of Condition

April 22, 2017 02:22 AM
1988 John Deere 8850

Really, Pete? That’s the response I’ve received in the past 18 months when folks ask me, “So, how are used equipment values?” 

Based on the inflection in their voices, they assume used values are falling. Despite tough times in agriculture, though, used equipment in good condition is holding its value and even increasing in some cases. 

Yes, used values fell hard in 2013 and 2014. It was the biggest drop in used values in my 27 years tracking the market. 

In 2015, used values began to stabilize, even on large late-model units. Then in late 2016 and earlier this year, values on used equipment in good condition actually jumped slightly.

I know, it’s hard to believe, but it’s understandable if we look at the data. Sales of new farm equipment have understandably been slow for some time. When fewer folks buy new, there’s more demand in the used market. Slower sales of new equipment hasn’t lessened farmer’s collective desire and need for reliable equipment to get the job done in tight windows in the spring and fall.

That said, if equipment is in average to rough shape, prices have been softer.

For the past two years, there’s been a significant increase in the number of machinery auctions. Early in 2017, it was quite noticeable a number of folks were looking to sell a piece of equipment or two to free up cash. 

Check out the following auction prices that rolled in as I sat and wrote this column the third week of March:

  • A 2004 John Deere 9660 STS combine with 2,436 engine hours sold for $94,000 at a March 23 farm auction in northeast Missouri. That’s the third-highest auction price on this model in the past 19 months.
  • A 2014 John Deere 6170R tractor with no loader and 565 hours sold for $138,600 at a March 23 online farm auction in south-central Idaho. The previous record was $126,000.
  • A 2012 John Deere S680 combine with 838 engine hours sold for $190,000 at a March 24 farm auction in central Ohio. That’s the third-highest auction price on a 2012 model S680 in the past 15 months.

At the same Ohio auction, a 2006 John Deere 9520 four-wheel-drive tractor with 2,187 hours sold for $134,000, which is the highest auction price on that model in the U.S. since August 2014. 

See additional recent auction prices on various make and model four-wheel-drive tractors in the data table below. Notice the data is presented in sequential order in an effort to give a day-by-day, week-by-week look at price movement in the month of March. In all my years of writing columns, I don’t think I’ve ever presented my auction data in this manner. As the prices show, if equipment is in good condition, regardless of age, buyer demand is high. 


Buy your next piece of used farm equipment from the best online resource. With more than 100,000 listings from dealers across the country, shop at

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