How Utility Tractor Values Differ by Region

Values Of Utility Tractors By Region

Utility tractors have seen some of the biggest increases in auction values this past year and their usage is ubiquitous across the varied terrain of the US.  In this post we will investigate how these utility tractor values differ depending on the region. Location may not be the top determinant of equipment values, but it does matter. This was a follow-up question from our last webinar. “How does this [analysis] apply to my dealership in the mountain west?” We answered that question in a video post here. This week’s webinar will broaden the scope to also look at how row crop tractors and the John Deere S670 is valued differently across states.

The flat, open land of the grain belt naturally sets a ceiling for most ag equipment used in corn, soybean and wheat geographies. Larger tractors, combines, and other grain equipment will typically bring higher values with a substantially higher volume sold. The graph below depicts the region average price difference of utility tractors (100 – 174 HP) sold in 2019 and 2020. This analysis utilized Iron Comp’s filtering options to arrive at two comparable data sets. Below are tractors with less than 5,000 hours, and sold at auction for more than $10,000 between January and August.

Utility Tractor Values by Region

What we see first are the value peaks representing the Midwest. All other regions’ were 14% lower than the Midwest in 2020 and 23% lower in 2021. This increased discrepancy is not surprising when you consider what is driving the demand in the Midwest. The 2020 and 2021 bullish grain market.

Values Of Utility Tractors By Region

So how much have regional utility tractor rates increased from early 2020 to 2021? You could break out the calculator with the graph figures above, or you can let us do the math below.

Iron Comps Change in Utility Tractor Values by Region YOY
Similar to the demand logic about the Midwest, other regions with high demand of utility tractors should also see higher year over year increases. The Northeast’s heavy use of utility tractors in dairy country are a good example. The New England region has a 38% year over year increase in value.

In this data set there were fewer comparables from the Rockies and Pacific states with the applied month and sale price filters. When this happens the average should receive less weight in your valuation model. A more direct look at comparables may be more beneficial. Iron Comps has recently added in a search by state function. Check out the Auction Results screenshot below. This allows for faster sorting and locating of the best comps. 

Iron Comps Auction Results: Search By State Utility Case IH

If you are interested in learning more about how utility tractor values differ by region (and combine and row crop tractors too!), tune into the webinar tomorrow!

Used Combine Values in 2021

2021 Case IH combine values

2021 Case IH Combines Values on Iron Comps

Are you looking to buy or price a used combine before the 2021 harvest? You and everyone else (and you better hurry)! The prices have jumped with the supply of all used equipment tightening, but not equally for all types of harvesters. This is where used combine values in 2021 have differed from used tractor values. In this Iron Comps Insights, the Tractor Zoom data for combine auction sales is broken down over the past four years to better understand the trend that is driving 2021 used combine costs.

If you prefer an in-depth guided tour of this set of Iron Comps data, the video below walks through how different auction markets are behaving for combine sales that have taken place between the months of January and August. This segmentation allows a comparison of 2021 sales with the prior years without the typical end of year spike in December throwing off the numbers.

The biggest takeaways from the video are directional.  The values in the middle of the 2021 used combine market have shifted up. Harvesters with 1,000 – 2,000 separator hours are now worth considerably more than they were a year ago. In the following graphs, the past four years are averaged out for this same set of months. This provides a clearer picture of what is happening to harvesters in the ranges of 0-750, 1K-2K, and 2K-3K separator hours.

Used Combine Values With Less Than 750 Separator Hours

Considering all the hype that used equipment values have received this year, one would expect low-hour, late-model combines to be leading that surge. Not the case. They are up over last year, but not to the extent that newer tractor values have risen.   We saw this in the video too. 2020 was a phenominal summer for combine sales, so the bar was set high. This year there just has not been the available volume of those premium machines, which may be driving farmers in need of a combine to look at ones with slightly higher hours.

Iron Comps' Combine Values with Separator Hours less than 750 in 2021
Iron Comps’ Combine Values with Separator Hours less than 750 in 2021

Used Combine Values With 1,000 – 2,000 Separator Hours

2021 appears to be the year for mid-hour combine sales.  With low availability at the lower hours combined with an extremely profitable crop in the field, farmers have justified bidding higher to make sure they are prepared for this fall.

Iron Comps' Combine Values with Separator Hours Between 1,000 - 2,000 in 2021
Iron Comps’ Combine Values with Separator Hours Between 1,000 – 2,000 in 2021

This $11,000 jump in value over a year ago equates to almost a 14% rise in value.  A significant driver of this increase is availability of combines. In our Tractor Zoom data, there have been 17% fewer combines sold in this range this year compared to last. This is despite the fact we’ve added 50% more auctioneers already this year, covering over 75% of the US auction market!

Part of this rise may also be level setting. You can see that values in 2018 and 2019 were a little closer to this year’s current average prices. A good reminder that valleys and peaks do not last forever.

Used Combine Values With 2,000 – 3,000 Separator Hours

In this final look, we increase the usage to include between 2,000 to 3,000 separator hours.

Iron Comps' Combine Values with Separator Hours Between 2,000 - 3,000 in 2021
Iron Comps’ Combine Values with Separator Hours Between 2,000 – 3,000 in 2021

The year over year average combine value increases $6,000. Approximately the same annual rate, 16%, as the previous graph. Unlike the previous hour segment though, the supply for 2,000 – 3,000 sep hour combines is closer to what we saw in 2020.

What Are Combine Values Going This December?

This is the big crystal ball question, right? With a few variables out there, like actual verse USDA projected yields, it is impossible to tell for certain. Yet, we can look historically to see what has happened before. 2019 was a tough, but relatively consistent harvest season. In that year the average used auction price of combines between 1,000 – 2,000 sep hours increased 13% in December (over the January to August values shown above). In 2020, that rise was 23%! Remember that commodity prices started to take off in September, so it was anything but consistent.  Whatever this fall brings, if you are looking to purchase, or find the the value of a combine, be sure to check Iron Comps. The most recent comparable sale in a turbulent market can be the difference between gaining or losing 5% of the value right out of the gate!

Unpopular Opinion: The 4440 isn’t perfect…

Sieren 4450 MFWD
This John Deere 4450 MFWD is an absolute cream puff with only 5925 original one-owner hours! Click the pic to see the details and lots more photos!

The John Deere 4450 was quite a tractor.

Actually, you could probably say the same thing about the entire 50-series lineup.

Mother Deere’s 50-series lineup was the biggest product line of new tractors in the company’s history. Between 1981-1986, the company launched 22 new tractors. I believe 19 of ’em were available in the States, and 3 were local to Argentina. I think that’s pretty impressive, given that the Farm Crisis was happening at the same time!

At any rate, the 4450 was definitely the bread-and-butter model. It took everything that the American farmer loved about the 4430/4440 models and improved them.

(This is the point where the 4440 guys start lighting the torches and sharpening the pitchforks…)

Wait, what? The 4440 was the perfect tractor! There was nothing better! You’re an idiot, Interesting Iron guy!

4440s Arent Perfect

I said what I said. ?

Here’s why I think they’re a better tractor from a mechanical perspective.

      1. MFWD.
      2. 15-speed Powershift.
      3. Castor Action.

Prior to 1983, most (if not all) of Deere’s rowcrop 4WD systems were run off of the hydraulic pump, and they really weren’t all that great. They were notoriously unreliable, didn’t like to work when it was cold, and they were spendy to maintain. With the introduction of the 50-series tractors, the company implemented a mechanical system that used gears and a driveshaft. It was a lot more reliable, less expensive to maintain, and unlike the hydraulic system, built to work all the time if needed.

The 15-speed Powershift was, in most cases, better for field work. It gave the operator more gearing options to more effectively use the engine’s power (i.e., less “in between” issues than an 8-speed). Furthermore, because the gearing wasn’t spaced so far apart, shifts were a little less clunky. (Come on 30/40-series guys, you gotta admit that they shift pretty hard…)

Lastly, Castor Action. Castor Action was a system that tilted the kingpin on the front axle 13° so you could turn sharper. No more taking three acres to get the tractor turned around. It was faster and more efficient because it used less fuel. It wasn’t perfect, but it definitely saved farmers time and money.

Anyway, I’m sure the 4440 crowd would argue with me until the cows come home, but in my opinion, the 4450 was the better machine. The 4440 was definitely more iconic, but it did have its shortcomings.

Farmers seemed to think so, too. While the older tractors may have moved more units, the 4450 still accounted for 1 out of every 5 tractors sold in the 50-series lineup. Hard to argue with sales numbers like that!

Sieren4450MFWD2

So, why did I choose this one for this week’s Interesting Iron? Because it’s probably one of the nicest 4450s you can buy on the market right now. I talked with Riley Sieren, the auctioneer who’s hosting this estate auction, about this tractor earlier this week. He told me that Marvin, the man who owned this tractor, was the only owner. He bought it new from R.J. Schott’s John Deere dealership in Sigourney, IA in 1986. Since then, he only put 5925 hours on it. He also told me that Marvin took a lot of pride in his equipment; he always kept it in the shed, and he was quite particular about keeping his tractors spotless inside and out.

If ever there was a cream puff, this is it. Go check out the listing. There’s a ton of great photos and Riley took the time to capture the details. I’m pretty confident in saying that this is one of the cleanest all-original John Deere 4450 MFWDs on auction that I’ve seen all year long.

Honestly, I could see this tractor hitting $45-50K before the hammer drops on December 3. I looked at some of the trends using our Iron Comps data to see what these were doing and boy, these 50-series tractors are continuing to climb in value. They’re tough tractors that are really handy on a farm of nearly any size. They’ll do nearly all the tasks that a big tractor will do, while still being handy enough to maneuver around in tight spaces. Furthermore, you can still work on ’em!

Side note: There’s a ton of great equipment on this sale. Lots of good, one-owner, well-maintained green stuff. Check out the full sale bill here.

Final Hammer Price: $55400

What’s My Tractor Worth? (Pt. 2)

“What’s my tractor worth?” is a question that we hear about farm equipment values ALL THE TIME. We wrote a blog post about it a year or two ago, and it’s consistently one of our most popular posts. It’s also the primary reason that we created Iron Comps Insights!

SE Iowa farmer saves BIG BUCKS on farm equipment

Recently, one of our customers contacted us with a pretty awesome story about how his Iron Comps Insights annual membership saved him a ton of money on his last equipment purchase. Rather than us rewrite the whole story though, here’s Brandon to tell you what happened!

The farm Brandon was looking at came with a few pieces of equipment as part of the deal. He knew what the ground and the structures were worth, but the farm equipment was the wild card. Furthermore, he’s a busy guy; between the livestock he raises and the acres that he farms, there aren’t a lot of spare hours to research equipment values.

So how much did he save?

Glad you asked. Hear it from him!

Like we said earlier, he’s busy. He didn’t have time to sit in front of a computer staring at a bunch of auction windows trying to find out what tractor was worth. We gave him the ability to do all the due diligence on his phone, and it saved him a ton of time (and money)!

So what’s the ROI of Brandon’s Iron Comps membership? It was pretty easy math!

Quickmath Copy
The math is pretty easy. Sign up for an Iron Comps Insights member ship, and save money on your next equipment purchase!

At the end of the day, we built Iron Comps to help farmers across the country make smarter buying and selling decisions when it comes to farm equipment. Whether you’re using it to find reliable farm equipment values for the stuff in your shed, a piece of equipment that you’re looking to pick up, or a piece you’re trying to sell, it’ll be easier and faster with an Iron Comps Insights membership.

If you’re still not convinced, we’d invite you to test drive it for yourself. No risk, no credit card necessary, nothing. Hit this link to get signed up and see if it doesn’t save you time and help you make smarter decisions! We think the proof is in the pudding!

Test-drive Iron Comps Insights today!

 

 

John Deere ProDrive: Worth it in used combines?

John Deere ProDrive S670 Combine
Does it make sense to look for a used John Deere ProDrive combine? Hit the photo to browse combines at auction!

The Backstory

Not too long ago, my buddy Dustin and I were working on his S670, getting it ready for harvest. He’s a farmer in northern Iowa, and his combine is getting up there in years. He was debating over whether to continue to repair it, trade up to a different used model, or buy a brand new one. Dustin knows his equipment better than just about anybody I know, but I could see that his head was spinning. With so many options on the market right now, I’m sure he’s not the only one!

The Problem

One of the unknowns he was wrestling with was about the transmission. Is a John Deere ProDrive (essentially an IVT system) the way to go, or is a conventional 3-speed the better idea? Try Googling that question sometime; you’ll find so many passionate opinions on the ag message boards that you’ll give yourself a monster of a headache! Eric in western New York says, “ProDrive is a must have!” Two lines later a guy in southern Illinois comments that he absolutely hated the one he’s got now and he can’t wait to get rid of it!
While the debate still goes on, the general consensus is that ProDrive transmissions make better use of torque from the motor. In turn, that makes it easier to maintain speed in the field (especially useful in hilly ground like Dustin’s). The trade-off for the increased efficiency is that the option itself is more money when they’re new, they’re slower on surface roads, and depending on who you listen to, they’re a lot bigger headache when they break.
So, to try and help Dustin, I told him I’d do some analysis on it using our Iron Comps data to see what effect ProDrive had on residual value. I couldn’t help him weigh all of his unique pros and cons. That said, I do have access to a huge database full of farm equipment auction results. I knew that I could help him with the numbers aspect.

The Math

I’ll admit, I was curious as to how it would shake out. I knew there would be a “ProDrive Premium”. But at some point, I figured there would be a point where that started tailing off. I also wondered if there was a point where the 3-speed became a better option.
I made a call to a local dealer and found that an S670 with ProDrive sold for about $428K in 2015 (ProDrive was a $7K option). So with that baseline number, I went into our Iron Comps database. It’s powered by Tractor Zoom’s auction data, and captures over 55% of the market, more than any other source. We’ve got close to 150 S670 sales just within the past two years in the database. It’s a numbers game and the bigger the data set, the more confident we can be in our results.

Graph showing separator hours vs. sale price.
Separator hours typically have a large effect on combine values. The graph below shows how the sale prices fall as the sep hours increase. 
The table below breaks down the values even more into three scenarios of combines with 600, 1200, and 1800 hours. The first row shows the expected average value for ProDrive S670s. The second row is the expected value of a S670 with a 3-speed. The bottom ‘ProDrive Premium’ percentage is the amount that could be attributed to the ProDrive for that age of combine.
The results for the newer combine affirm what ProDrive advocates have been preaching. A ProDrive in our dataset with 600 separator hours should sell for about $185K at auction. Its 3-speed counterpart, just $163K! A difference of $22K (13% premium) is a lot bigger number than the $7K option when it was new! This indicates that there’s definitely a demand for these combines – especially those without a ton of hours!
As the combine ages, so does excitement for the ProDrive. So much that it is essentially negligible at 1800 hours. A likely explanation is the cost to repair a ProDrive, which older machines are more likely to need. Typical repair bills for out-of-warranty transmissions are fairly steep. Based on what I’ve heard, you could be looking at $25-30K to replace a shelled transmission. Not a small number. I can definitely understand why the premium starts to fall.
As one final check on this pro-ProDrive conclusion, I like to filter down by auction type. Retirement auctions tend to bring higher premiums. Consignment sales tend to be lower and represent the market value floor. The unexpected challenge I discovered was that few S670 3-speed combines hit the retirement market. Conversely, we haven’t seen a lot of ProDrives selling at consignment sales. I’m still working on determining why this happens.
I showed these numbers to Dustin the other day over a beer, and it pretty well confirmed what I think he needed to hear. When I left the shop, he was on his tablet browsing combines at Tractor Zoom, and I’m sure he’ll find a nice ProDrive S670 at a retirement sale somewhere.

A modified version of this article originally appeared on the Iron Comps blog a few weeks ago.

Featured Tractor: John Deere 4320

UPDATE!

Tractor Zoom has recently launched Iron Comps Insights, a first-of-its-kind product that provides reliable farm equipment values backed by auction data from over 430 auctioneers across North America! We built it to help farmers make better farm equipment buying and selling decisions! Click here to learn more about Iron Comps Insights and take it for a test-drive!

1211JNDarenSutton4320Synchro

A Closer Look at One of the John Deere’s Most Popular Tractors

Talk to a green guy about the John Deere 4320. Chances are, his eyes will get all misty as he tells you that it was the first “big” tractor his granddad bought new. He’d also probably tell you how it was a workhorse, and it’d run circles around everything else on the farm.

But that was nearly 50 years ago…

Is the Original John Deere 4320 Still Relevant?

What was once a great all-around tractor for a farm in the ’70s and ’80s is now getting on in years. Is the 115-horse tractor that we all know and love still useful on today’s farm? Does that dog still hunt?

John deere 4320 wagon

From where we sit, the short answer is yes…to a point.

A Dependable Workhorse

The John Deere 4320 was a great mid-range tractor when it was released: it nestled between the D21 and the 1206, the Massey 1130, Oliver 1950, and the Ford 9000. It was heavier-duty than the John Deere 4020 with a beefy gearset, better cooling, and a more powerful 404 with a turbo. The 4320 earned a reputation of being a trusty workhorse over the years.

tractor farming

However, the modern farm has evolved, and most equipment needs to be capable of more than the 4320 can feasibly provide. Where a 2WD tractor used to be able to handle what a farm needed, today’s farm typically needs an all-wheel drive tractor with enough grunt to drag bigger implements around.

Good For Secondary Duties

That said, we think that the 4320 is still a great buy for lighter duties, and we see quite a few of them at auctions (search John Deere tractors at auction). They work great for chores like auger and hay rake duty, they’ll drag a 10-12′ mower without much trouble, and if they’ve got a cab and A/C, they’ll make a good baler tractor, too.

There ARE a few things to watch for with these tractors, though. Here’s a couple of things to pay attention to when checking them over.

    • Many farmers turned up the fuel pump a little a lot on the 4320, so it could need rebuilt at some point. It’s not really something to be scared of, but go into it with your eyes open.
    • Clutches are a known failure point (especially if the fuel pump was cranked up). If you’re onsite and have the opportunity to do so, you’ll want to see what the service history looks like.

In short, there’s a reason that the 4320 is still the most popular tractor on Tractor Zoom; it’s one of the great pieces of farm equipment that built this country, and it’s still doing it today!

A New Generation of The John Deere 4320

The John Deere 4320 is an extremely versatile compact tractor with the power to complete every job. It runs on a clean, effective engine with the option of a PowrReverser or the EHydro transmission. You can make this machine whatever you need it to be with an array of attachments.

John Deer 4320
Photo courtesy of Silver Spade
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