Farm equipment auction prices show no signs of falling

By Matt Reese

The used farm equipment market continues to experience never-seen-before strength, with no signs of weakening anytime soon, said Dave Cornish, RES Auction Services equipment representative.

“I’ve been in the equipment end of it since 1988, whether it’s in the parts side or sales side, and I’ve never seen anything like this before. And it’s not just in Ohio, it’s throughout the United States. I’ve had dealers from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Florida buy at our sale in Wooster, Ohio and tell me the same thing. ‘Well, we should not have paid that much, but we had to take care of our customers,’” Cornish said. “The biggest issue is it seems like there’s a shortage from manufacturers on new equipment. It affects the dealerships that can’t get equipment in to take care of their customers, whether it’s ag or construction. It’s tough times for the actual dealers and their sales representatives because, if you don’t have the equipment, customers are going to go someplace else. That’s what we’re seeing right now in the auction world — there are actually dealers buying equipment from our sales because they can’t get enough good equipment for their own customers. And point blank, sometimes they’re paying more than they should for equipment, but they’re doing what they have to in order to satisfy their customers.”

While farm equipment is generally very strong, some items seem to be in particularly high demand.

“One of the strongest sellers right now are skid loaders. It doesn’t matter what brand, there seems to be a shortage right now as far as manufacturers getting them out to the dealers, so skid loaders are very hot items,” Cornish said. “The other thing that is very hot in the ag industry is still vertical tillage. We don’t see vertical tillage units very often at the auction. If someone has one, they can list it themselves, but those couple of pieces of equipment are very strong at the auctions as far as high demand.”

While the current situation puts the entire farm machinery supply chain in a lurch, manufacturers — at least to some degree — have been appreciating the you-order-it-we’ll-build-it market created since 2020.

“I’m not picking on any brand by any means, but I hope that we do see a ramp up. Customers aren’t going to be brand loyal here much longer. If Manufacturer A can’t produce something that Manufacturer B does, then they’re going to go with whoever they can to get their equipment,” Cornish said. “I hope it does turn around soon.”

Farmers looking to buy equipment in the current market should pay close attention to prices.

“Most times, farmers know what they need. Farmers are very smart anymore. They’ve done their own research on the good and bad on a certain piece of equipment. They have a certain model at home that they’re very happy with and if it happens to be that same model or similar model shows up at the auction, they need to be ready,” Cornish said. “They can come inspect it or they can call me direct and have me do the inspection for them. A lot of times they will pay more than what they want to, but if there’s a demand or need for a certain piece of equipment, they’re going to buy it no matter what.”

Farmers selling equipment should take time to determine an accurate value ahead of time. 

“Go to somebody, whether it’s RES or someone that’s more local, and get a true evaluation on this equipment. There are several tools out there you can use. It doesn’t matter what it’s advertised at, it’s what it actually sold for that matters. There are several tools that we use to give that customer a true value of what that equipment has been selling like in the last six months,’ Cornish said. “I don’t want anybody to shortchange himself, but the same time, it doesn’t do any good to advertise equipment way out of range as far as price. Then, if you want to advertise your own equipment, fine. If not, reach out to somebody you trust and have them list it for you.”

And, as far as the best time to buy or sell, the current markets for farm equipment are keeping the auction business going strong year-round.

“There used to be a slow time, but right now with the equipment shortage, there really is not a slow time of year,” he said. “As soon as everyone gets done planting, they’re looking towards fall already, whether it’s combines, grain carts, whatever. At the same time, I’ve already got customers talking to me about our upcoming auction in September. We have one here in June too, so I’ve got both buyers and sellers reaching out to me right now wanting to know what is the best time. There’s always someone looking for something.”

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