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Machinery Pete: Precision Tools in Demand

October 08, 2016

Farm equipment sure has changed since I started compiling auction price data 27 years ago. Some of the biggest advancements have occurred in precision ag equipment. We’ve come a long way in a short time.

I recall years ago seeing the first precision ag items for sale at farm auctions. At a Dec. 22, 2004, consignment auction in east-central North Dakota, a Trimble GPS with autopilot, autosteer and software sold for $8,250. At a June 28, 2005, farm auction in northeast North Dakota, a 2004 Outback GPS guidance system with mapping sold for $2,250. At a March 8, 2008, farm auction in central Minnesota, a 2005 Trimble GPS site laser with base station, tripod, quick disconnect, charger and software sold for $24,000.

Our auction data goes back even further on Raven spray control technology. At a March 16, 2000, auction in southeast North Dakota, a Raven 400 spray control system sold for $800. At a March 27, 2001, auction in south-central Minnesota, a Raven 716 sprayer monitor and control board sold for $900. More recently, a Raven Enviso screen with receiver sold for $2,800 at a March 31, 2016, auction in southeast South Dakota.

To this day, when I walk the line of equipment before a sale, folks congregate around the cardboard boxes set out near the tractors and combines. When the auction truck rolls up and it’s time to sell the contents in those cardboard boxes, the auction crowd presses in—always.


Just in the past year, I’ve seen John Deere 2630 displays sell in Illinois Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota and Saskatchewan. See the data table to the right for average auction prices for recent years. 

The average auction price on used John Deere 2600 displays through mid-September 2016 was $4,933, up from 2015’s average of $3,666. 

In 2016, I’ve seen Ag Leader Insight displays sell from four states with an average price of $1,727. 

The level of buyer interest for good used precision ag equipment keeps getting stronger. At www.Machinery, search traffic in the “Precision Ag” category shot up 50% between Aug. 1 and Sept. 11, 2016, compared with the previous six-week period. We currently have 767 used precision ag items from 25 different manufacturers listed for sale at www.Machinery, which is updated daily. 

In the past three years, when commodity prices have taken a blow, farmers have still been investing in tools and techniques to help them increase their efficiency and yields.

Consistently at the top of that list: precision ag equipment. 

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