Machinery Pete: Condition Conundrum

Recent Auction Prices on Combines ( Machinery Pete )

As fall nears, I’m frequently asked, “So, Pete, how’s the used combine market?”

There’s no quick, easy explanation. It’s complicated. On one hand, mid-2019 saw average auction prices tumbling lower due to more used harvesters selling with higher number of hours. But if the combine was in nice condition with lower hours, buyers have been willing to pay a premium at auction.

Case in point: the first two combines listed in the data table. The 2005 Case IH 2388 with 2,826 engine hours that sold on Aug. 10 for $82,000 in northeast Iowa is the second-highest auction price on that model in 46 months. The day before at another farm auction in Iowa, a 2010 John Deere 9670 STS with 1,730 engine hours sold for $100,000, a 13.2% premium above the current average auction price.

Yet average prices are sliding. John Deere 9870 STS models are down 15.7% in value this year, yet we saw the highest auction price of the year — $140,000 — on a very nice 2011 John Deere 9870 with 1,785 engine hours that sold at a July 20 farm auction in east-central Illinois.

It’s all about condition.