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Best of NAMA 2024

By Mark Stock, CEO BigIron Auctions

Fueled by a shortage in supply and strong commodity prices, the demand for used equipment is greater than ever. Online auctions and heavy interest in used machinery have drastically increased over the past 18-months. At our 2021 year-end auction event, we saw record-breaking prices of agriculture, construction and transportation equipment including:

• 2019 Case IH 7250 Combine sold for $320,250
• 2012 Case IH Steiger 500HD sold for $230,250
• 2004 Challenger MT865 Track Tractor with 6,116 hours showing sold for $167,500
• 2016 Case CX235CSR Excavator with 1,486 hours on it sold for $144,500

Equipment selling from retiring farmers is topping the market and in some instances, is selling for more money than the farmer paid for them when they purchased the items. One example was a farmer selling a 2014 J&M Seed Tender in Illinois that sold for $32,500. The seller bought it new for $25,000.

These prices will likely remain strong in the coming year as dealers continue to struggle to get new inventory, and commodity prices remain high. For farmers who are thinking about selling equipment, now is the time to clean out those sheds and take advantage of these higher margins. The most sought-after equipment includes tractors, planters and semitrucks.

We are also seeing more and more traffic to our online auctions, which presents a big opportunity for farmers looking to net a much higher sales price. This will provide a larger return and put you in a better financial position.

The online auction industry has taken off in the past few years, due to safety protocols as a result of the pandemic, and the reach and results sellers are realizing. In a typical in-person auction, you might have a few dozen people on-hand, with only a handful of active bidders. With online auctions, there are literally thousands of potential bidders from across North America watching on sale day. We saw a 60% increase in unique visitors to our site for our end-of-year auctions, and nearly 25,000 active bidders.

Additionally, auction companies like BigIron do everything from marketing your auction and photographing your equipment or land, to the logistics of overseeing your auction. Online bidding is transforming the way equipment and land are bought and sold.

You're able to connect with potential buyers through the online platform, creating trust just as you would at an in-person auction. Anyone with a phone in their pocket can now engage with an entire community of buyers, a reach well beyond that of an on-site auction.

So how do you take advantage of these unprecedented times? If you are currently sitting on unused equipment, you are in a great position. The traditional line of thinking when it comes to unused equipment in the shed is, 'It's paid for and it's not hurting anything.' But I've encouraged neighbors and family members to re-think this, based on the current market. If you've got new equipment on order, I would absolutely wait to sell the old machinery only after you have the new item in your possession, as I've heard of too many stories where delivery dates continue to get pushed back from the manufacturer. But, once you have it in your possession, now is the time to sell.

For farmers in the market to purchase equipment, the time has never been better; and with the influx in impressive inventory, along with low interest rates, it is an opportune time to pick up equipment for the coming season.

Many people ask if I think these hot market conditions and high demand will last. I don't have a crystal ball, but my feeling is that used equipment prices will remain strong in the coming year. In talking to dealers, they are still struggling to get the inventory they need. Plus, commodity prices continue to remain high, and I don't see a drop in value coming anytime soon.

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