Greg Peterson, the used farm equipment guru known as Machinery Pete, has a simple answer when asked about the meteoric rise in market values in recent years.
There just hasn’t been a lot of equipment for sale in the wake of the pandemic.
But that is starting to change, said Peterson, who was the keynote speaker at the Illinois Wheat Association’s Summer Forum in Sparta.
“Obviously, the last two years it’s been the hottest market ever. Just unbelievable,” Peterson said of used equipment. “It’s not inflation. It’s a supply issue.”
The pandemic created all sorts of widely reported supply chain issues, which impacted production of new equipment. Labor shortages also slowed equipment output.
Many farmers seemed to respond by holding on to more of their used equipment and bidding up prices for anything that was available.
“The summer of 2022 was the absolute bottom for the used equipment inventory,” Peterson said. “There was nothing for sale and everybody was shopping.”
Peterson noted many of the sale prices he saw at used equipment auctions the past two years often broke records by anywhere from $20,000 to more than $70,000.
“When any market is about availability, that price is just out the window,” he said. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen [since beginning his Machinery Pete business in 1989].”
Since bottoming a year ago, the used equipment inventory has rebounded, according to Peterson. But, so far, it hasn’t slowed bids at most auctions.
“With the supply starting to go up and getting back to a more normal pattern, I’m interested to see if auction prices act correspondingly,” he said. “Auction prices for good used tractors are still sky high.”
Peterson has tracked the volume and value of more than 1.5 million pieces of used equipment at auctions the past 34 years and currently has about 100,000 sale listings at his website, MachineryPete.com. And his used value index for high horsepower tractors is still strong at 9.9 out of 10.
“Four-wheel-drive tractors are hot,” he said. “We’ve not seen any drop off [in auction prices].”
Other hot spots in the market include tillage equipment, used planters, self-propelled sprayers and skid steers. The vintage market is also still doing well, according to Machinery Pete. However, one portion of the market to crack ever so slightly in recent months is used combines.
“Auction prices have started getting softer for 1- to 4-year-old used combines,” Peterson said. “I think we might start to see a few more used equipment special offerings.”
This story was distributed through a cooperative project between Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Press Association. For more food and farming news, visit FarmWeekNow.com.