I was visiting with a farm equipment dealer recently, and he asked me a question: “Are planters and tillage still planters and tillage?”
Of course, I knew what he meant. Conditions for sales of used planters and tillage equipment have been down for a while. But therein lies opportunity if you’re looking to buy. The older I get (51 now), the more I believe timing is everything—or almost everything. Take advantage and be aggressive when the situation presents itself. Be a buyer when things are on sale.
From dealers I’ve talked with all over the country in the past 12 months, there’s no shortage of local farmers who are interested in purchasing new planters and all the fabulous technology that comes with new machines. But that creates issues. What can producers get for their current planter on trade? How can dealers find that second buyer?
So the used planter market remains a little stuck.
Planter Pricing. Let’s talk timing and opportunity. Beginning in November 2016, and running right through April 2017, I saw auction values spike up a bit on used planters. Yes, this was true even on late-model large 24-row, 36-row and 48-row used models. Sale prices dipped somewhat beginning in June this year, as the table shows.
Was I surprised auction prices on used planters slipped just a bit beginning in June? Not really. It was just timing, of course, with planters not top of mind come summer. But it’s a very positive and healthy sign for the used planter market. Values did not by any means free fall. By late July, I saw solid pricing return.
Solid Ground. A good example is the 2009 John Deere 1770NT 16R-30 box planter (no frills) in good shape that sold July 29 at a farm retirement auction here in south-central Minnesota. It went for $60,000. I talked to the father and son who bought it. They traveled nearly four hours to the auction to bid on that planter. They wanted it. They got it. That’s a solid, competitive price given its age and setup.
At the same retirement auction, a very nice Case IH 730C seven-shank ripper sold for $30,500. That’s a very strong hard cash price. One other item of note on that auction is the 2008 John Deere 9430T track tractor (36") with 2,201 hours. It sold for $130,000. Once again, I think that’s a solid sale price, particularly given I’d seen softer auction sale prices on large-horsepower tractors in June.
However, these windows of opportunity don’t always stay open forever.