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Machinery Pete: Two Big Tractor Trends

November 05, 2016

As I look back over the past year, two trends stand out in the farm equipment world—leasing and tracks. 

Interest in leasing farm equipment took off in 2015 as new equipment sales slowed in response to the sluggish ag economy. Manufacturers and dealers found leasing to be a ready antidote, and farmers appreciate the warranty protection and minimal risk while having the certainty of pencil to paper expense calculations.

We’re beginning to see the ripples of the leasing tidal wave as these “off-lease” tractors begin to flood back to equipment manufacturer’s finance arms—and there’s no signs of it letting up. I will continue to track the influx of late-model, used off-lease equipment and the waves still to come.

Tracks have been garnering attention in recent months as well. In 2015, John Deere released their 9RX Series of tractors with their 4-Track system. Interest level was high with the rollout. Facebook and YouTube videos of dealer demo days went viral.


On March 7, 2016, I posted a picture on our Machinery Pete Facebook page and Twitter feed of an Illinois farmer with the first two John Deere 9620RX tractors to roll off the line at the Waterloo, Iowa, John Deere plant. He bought both tractors with the intention to put No. 1 in the shed. That Facebook post was shared more than 1,100 times in a matter of days with 172 comments. Like I said, there is definitely a lot of interest in the new John Deere tracks.

Tracks came to the rescue for many farmers as fields turned wet in late summer and fall and compaction became a concern during harvest. In the span of a couple days, I received word via our Machinery Pete Facebook page of two tracked combines for sale—one new, one used. The new combine was a Case IH 7240, sold by Birkey’s Farm Store to Wilson Farms in Ogden, Ill. Owner Bill Wilson commented compaction concerns spurred his purchase. “All our tractors and our auger carts are on tracks,” Wilson says.

The older combine with tracks I heard about was a John Deere 7720 for sale by central Minnesota farmer Ethan Smith. In addition to the combine, the price tag of $25,000 included a trailer, spare parts and 30.5 tires. Ethan sent me a picture of the combine and I shared it on our Machinery Pete Facebook page and Twitter feed. Smith sold the combine a couple days later for $24,000 to another central Minnesota farmer who was dealing with muddy fields.


About a year ago, I started to notice several strong auction prices rolling in from around the country on Case IH Quad Trac tractors. The trend has continued this year. The data table at right is a mix of strong prices and several good buys on Quad Tracs. 

Two examples of the strong prices include the 2013 Case IH 550 Quad Trac with 533 hours that sold for $275,000 at an Aug. 18, 2016, Ritchie Brothers consignment auction at their central Ohio facility.   

At a farm auction in southwest North Dakota, a 2013 Case IH 550 Quad Trac with 601 hours sold for $291,000 on Nov. 13, 2015.

Since Sept. 1, searches for Case IH Quad Trac tractors on the Machinery Pete website are up 74% compared with the previous weeks. In particular, searches for Case IH 550 Quad Trac tractors are up 80% compared with the previous weeks. Tracks are definitely creating a buzz. 


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