Machinery Pete: Tracks Gain Traction

January 2, 2016 02:59 AM

November 2015 was track tractor month. In the days and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I saw quite a number of strong auction prices for good used track tractors. 

For example, on Nov. 25, 2015, at an east-central Minnesota farm auction, a 2011 Case IH 535 Quadtrac with 1,450 hours sold for $280,000. Two years ago, a 2011 Case IH 535 Quadtrac in excellent condition and half the hours sold at a central Minnesota farm auction for $257,500. The last line of the November 2015 sale bill caught my eye: “Last year of Cummins power; no DEF needed.” 

This 2014 John Deere 9560RT with 641 hours sold for $295,000 at a July 2015 custom cutter auction in Nebraska.

Check out the pair of 2009 Case IH 535 Quadtracs in the table below. The tractor that sold at a farm auction in southwest Minnesota on Nov. 19, 2015, had nearly 1,300 more hours but only sold for $1,943 less than the model that sold on April 9, 2015.

Demand for good used track tractors significantly picked up in late 2015 on, which includes a huge database of used equipment for sale through dealers that’s updated daily.

For example, when folks searched “Case IH Steiger” tractors, five of the top seven searches were for Quadtrac models (450, 500, 550, 600 and 620). The timing of these searches for track tractors was also interesting. In November, Minnesota (and probably much of upper Midwest) was extremely wet—the fourth wettest on record. With that in mind, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that searches for John Deere 9560RT track tractors shot up the week before Thanksgiving.

This 2013 Case IH 550 Quadtrac with 601 hours sold for $291,000 at a November 2015 farm auction in North Dakota.

Another interesting and telling note on equipment searches: In the second half of 2015, 40% of total searches for John Deere 9560R four-wheel-drive and 9560RT tractors were for the track models. That’s a higher percentage than I would have guessed. 

Perhaps an early indicator of the rising buyer demand for track tractors in late 2015 was the 2014 John Deere 9560RT with 601 hours that sold for $295,000. I shot video of it selling at a huge July 1, 2015, custom cutter absolute auction in southwest Nebraska. 

Generally speaking, the number of late-model used track tractors sitting on dealer lots is noticeably less than non-track models. According to data at, at press time there were only 32.6% as many John Deere 8360RTs for sale by dealers compared with 8360R models. Even more striking, there were just 19.8% as many John Deere 9460RT track models for sale by dealers versus non-track 9460R models.

Now you know why November 2015 was track tractor month.

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If you’re in the market for used equipment, check out the all-new Machinery Pete marketplace. To shop for used machines from across the country, visit  

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