Machinery Pete: Small Size, Mighty Price

September 27, 2013 08:06 PM
GregPeterson blog2

Dealer lots and farm shows are modeling shiny new equipment in recent weeks—and big, I should add. Have you heard about the world’s first 30-row, 12" corn head made by Calmer Corn Heads? If not, check out my Aug. 27 blog post on

Big new equipment has its place in the market, but there is still an incredible demand for smaller-scale used farm equipment in good condition. The proof is evident on the sale price reports from our network of more than 950 auction firms.

In late August, I got a Facebook message from one of our auction reps who was attending a farm sale in central Wisconsin. The equipment, although predominantly smaller, was in immaculate condition. Here are a few of the highlights from that auction:

  • International Harvester 1250 grinder mixer: $9,000
  • New Idea 324 two-row corn picker: $3,000
  • Bush Hog 10' offset disk: $4,450
  • Kilbros 350 gravity wagon: $3,200
  • Allis Chalmers 7020 two-wheel-drive tractor with 2,780 hours: $15,750

The high prices are a definite sign of strong buyer demand. A whopping $9,000 on the International Harvester 1250 grinder mixer is $4,200 more than the previous high on that model ($4,800), which occurred at a Jan. 6, 1996, sale in southwest Wisconsin. The $15,750 price tag on the Allis Chalmers 7020 tractor is a new auction record, as is the $3,000 for the New Idea 324 two-row corn picker (which broke a 12-year standing record in the U.S.).

On Sept. 7, 2013, I attended a small farm auction in southeast Minnesota. The highlights from that auction are as follows:

  • John Deere 7000 four-row, 36" corn planter with dry fertilizer and insecticide: $3,100
  • International 710 3-18 plow: $2,200
  • New Holland 355 grinder/mixer mill: $8,000
  • New Holland 489 9' haybine: $5,200

Planters. As a whole, auction prices on used but in good condition four- and six-row planters have been up. A Kinze Double Frame four-row no-till planter with liquid fertilizer and
splitters sold for $9,800 at an Aug. 24 farm auction in southwest Ohio.

Sale prices were also red hot on March 17, 2012. A 1985 John Deere 7200 six-row, 30" planter went for $20,000 at a farm sale in west-central Ohio, and a super nice White 6100
six-row, 30" brought $20,500 at a farm auction in northeast Iowa.

Corn heads. Six-row used corn head values have been bringing top dollar on the auction block lately, as well. Two auction sale prices from this past August stand out to illustrate this
ongoing trend.

First, a Case IH 1063 six-row corn head sold for $13,500 at a farm sale in northwest Missouri. That’s the highest auction price that I’ve seen on that corn head since December 2008.

Then a John Deere 693 sold for a new record of $37,000 in southeast South Dakota. This clipped the previous record-high sale price of $30,000 set at a March 1, 2013, auction in east-central Pennsylvania.

Used values on John Deere 693 six-row corn heads started their upward march in 2007, when the average auction sale price jumped from $11,352 in 2006 to $14,292 in 2007. Used values have remained at eleva­ted levels ever since. The average price tag on the last 42 John Deere 693 six-row corn heads I’ve seen sell at auction equals $13,949. That’s almost a 27% hike compared with 2005, when John Deere 693s sold for an average of only $11,013 at auction.

Big versus little. One obvious factor driving used values higher has been the ever-rising cost of brand new equipment. This is true not only for tractors but most all types of farm equipment. After the John Deere 693, the next newer model six-row corn head is the John Deere 606C. The
average auction sale price to date on John Deere 606C corn heads is $36,667. The high point of the range is $39,500.

It is quite obvious why an older six-row corn head in solid condition can sell for $25,000, $30,000 or even $37,000 but still be a good buy to a wider pool of potential buyers versus a newer used six-row corn head that costs more than $80,000.

Equipment manufacturers are placing more emphasis on bigger equipment these days. However, we know that smaller-scale equipment has its place on many farm operations that don’t cover as many acres. It’s hard to find smaller-scale used equipment in good condition, so when it shows up in an auction lineup, you better be prepared for a bidding battle.

For the latest in used machinery values, follow Machinery Pete on the auction trail.

Twitter: @MachineryPete

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