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Machinery Pete: Big Data and Machinery Purchasing

September 07, 2016

I was only 23 years old. What did I know? Not much—but I did know actual auction data on all types of used farm equipment was really good information, whether you were looking to buy, sell, trade or simply assess the value of your line of equipment. 

What’s it worth? Check out what it sold for today. 

Of course, when I began compiling auction sale prices back in 1989, the term Big Data wasn’t a thing. Now, we know Big Data is very important. It can help businesses increase efficiencies and the bottom line, including your farm.

Rapid growth at has produced a new set of data I find fascinating for further insight into the used equipment market. 

Top 10 states to visit
 Interest in used equipment is high in Illinois,  based on search traffic from the first two  weeks in August. 

With the addition of over 100,000 dealer pieces of for-sale used equipment to our website, our traffic has grown exponentially. Search-traffic data is providing valuable insights. Thank you for shopping for equipment with us! Our goal is to provide you with the best place on the internet for all things farm machinery.

Traffic Trends. So what data am I finding interesting? How about the 10 states that accounted for the most visits to during the first two weeks of August (see table to the right).

Illinois is No. 1 for recent search traffic, which is very intriguing. There, lots of folks are looking for used equipment. This jives with what I saw on the auction front during the second week of August in Illinois. Here are a few examples of active bidding and strong sale prices in that state:

  •  A 2011 New Holland T8020 tractor with 278 hp and 1,012 hours sold for $92,500 at an Aug. 13 farm auction in northwest Illinois. It marked the highest auction price on a T8020 in four and a half years.
  • An International 856 tractor with 105 hp and 3,172 hours sold for $18,000—a record-high auction sale price—at an Aug. 11 farm auction that took place in east-central Illinois. 
  • A 1982 John Deere 4440 with 140 hp, power shift and 4,451 hours sold for $31,000 at an Aug. 10 farm auction that took place in west-central Illinois. That’s more than $2,000 above this year’s average auction price of $18,831 on 4440s.
  • A 1995 New Holland TR-97 combine with 2,556 engine hours sold for $27,500 at an Aug. 11 farm auction in west-central Illinois. It was the highest auction price on a TR-97 in almost six years.

Tillage Ticks Up. Search data on our website also showed a 32% increase in traffic to tillage categories in the first two weeks of August versus the last two weeks of July. Searches on mulchers and cultipackers rose 123%, searches on chisel plows increased 102% and disks gained 26%.

Our data shows more folks looking to buy used tillage items early in August. Guess what I saw in auction sale price data? Yep—there was some strong bidding. Let’s go back to the Land of Lincoln to a farm retirement auction filmed for “Machinery Pete TV” in east-central Illinois back on Aug. 11. At this sale, a Case IH 3900 32' disk with a Remlinger 3-bar harrow sold for $15,250, the highest auction price in 21 months. Also at this sale, an International 181 30' rotary hoe sold for $4,200, the highest auction sale price I’ve seen on an older 181 model hoe.

Just as the use of data is changing the way you farm, Big Data is also revolutionizing the used farm equipment market and how we buy, sell and analyze. 

In the market for used equipment? Check out the Machinery Pete marketplace. Shop for used machines from across the country and search more than 105,000 listings for free, using innovative tools for farmers and dealers. Visit

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