Purdue Passes Out Used Machinery Advice

Purdue Passes Out Used Machinery Advice

When it comes to farm machinery, purchasing used equipment is usually the cheaper option – but it isn’t always the best, warns Robert Stwalley, assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue University.

“A used piece of equipment, under the right circumstances, may be the best economic choice for a specific operation,” he says. “But it may not be. Remember, go in with your eyes open and choose wisely.”

That’s especially important to consider as the industry looks at potential surpluses in many areas. Retailers selling new farm machinery can tweak inventory to adjust to lower market demand, while any new equipment sale usually involves a trade-in, adding additional equipment to inventories.

Stwalley reminds farmers that farm machinery operates at maximum efficiency for only a certain amount of time. For example, according to the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, planters have a relatively short effective lifespan of around 1,000 operational hours. Tractors, farm trucks and wagons can last up to 5,000 or more hours. Other machinery types typically lasts around 2,000 hours.

That makes it important to consider how many useful hours a given piece of equipment has left, Stwalley says. Used machinery is only a bargain if its benefits outweigh the costs to upkeep. Buyers should consider not only purchase price, but also repairs, maintenance, storage and other expenses, he says.

Time is another overlooked cost associated with buying used machinery, Stwalley says. Online listings has made searching for a specific piece of equipment easier in recent years. But a farm manager often has to visit multiple sellers to find the best available deal.

Need more advice on used farm equipment? Start with Machinery Pete, the most trusted name in farm equipment. Greg Peterson has been researching and analyzing machinery auction prices since 1989. His database totals close to 500,000 auction sale prices on roughly 70 categories of equipment, making it the most comprehensive and complete of its kind. Learn more at www.agweb.com/machinerypete/

Back to news



Spell Check

Rufus Kenagy
Garden City, MO
4/17/2015 10:35 AM

  Experts? I was lured into that trap in the seventies by experts. Young farmers: don't be fooled by their slick talk. They're your best bud until you can't make a payment. Used machinery(especially large machinery)is dirt cheap compared to new. The high rollers trade before the warranty expires , so they don't have to get their hands dirty replacing a part. Most but not all dealers have become mail order stores.

Brinkley, AR
4/14/2015 11:16 PM

  A case of educational knowledge meeting reality. We run several paid for tractors nearing 10,000 hours. I fail to see how 40-60K payment on a tractor would be more cost effective.

Chappell, NE
4/16/2015 06:54 PM

  The one and only JD dealer in this entire part of the country has a two- fold strategy, ship most trade-ins to Mexico and never keep any parts in stock at his 19 locations.


Corn College TV Education Series


Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!


Market Data provided by QTInfo.com
Brought to you by Beyer