Machinery Pete: Surprisingly Strong Finish to 2017

January 5, 2018 07:39 AM

Farmers across the country are reflecting on another year’s harvest. While it wasn’t the record crop northeast Iowa farmer Joe Shirbroun saw in 2016, he says it was still a good crop.

“I think if we looked at our data, it’s probably the third best crop ever,” he said.

It’s good yields helping generate an uptick in demand for local equipment dealers.

“We've got some demand in combines that's picked up, some demand in planters with a real tight supply of planters,” said Chris Redenius, General Manager for Bodensteiner Implement. “We've seen a premium come in for good late-model, used planters.”

“The large row crop tractor market picked up for us this year in our part of the state,” said Jack Berg, General Sales Manager for Bodensteiner.

Not every farmer made the decision to upgrade to finish out 2017. Bodensteiner Implement Company says it’s those farmers who held out purchasing machines the past couple years finally starting to reenter the market.

“We see a lot of customers that are maybe falling back into more of a trade cycle based on need versus want,” said Berg. “They're at the point in their ownership cycle  that they're needing to upgrade where it's time to get to a lower hour machine or a machine with a warranty.”

It’s a trend Greg Peterson, or Machinery Pete, is also seeing.

“What we're seeing in November and December is these very strong prices are just pent-up demand,” said Machinery Pete. “You haven't been buying that new or used tractor, combine or planter every year or maybe put it off for a while and you need good equipment right now. Those windows in the spring and fall are short so it's just a premium on the good stuff and prices are strong.”

He says it’s that increase in demand that’s been a surprising end to 2017.

“It's kind of across the board honestly,” he said. “If it’s in good condition, those tractors are  really strong in November and December. If it's good condition low hours or a few years on it, we're seeing the highest price of the year in the last six weeks across the board.”

It’s the surprisingly strong demand Machinery Pete is watching into 2018.

“Given the number of auctions I’m surprised the pricing has held as solid as it has,” he said. “Now the one thing I'm starting to wonder is what would happen if corn ticked up just a little bit. And I think we're setting the condition for whenever that happens, some pretty strong demand to be released.”

Combines have been drawing strong values, but it’s also planters in high demand in northeast Iowa.

“ We went through a period of a pretty broad planter supply and that inventory has worked through the last couple of years, so we've seen values come back up from where they were maybe in the 2013, 2014 seasons,” said Redenius.

Whether it’s upgrading equipment or deciding to add-on to the equipment a farmer already owns, Machinery Pete says he’s watching the changing trends as farmers flip to a new year.


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