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Used equipment primer

What does the upcoming farm auction season hold for used machinery prices?

In about two weeks the spring auction sale season on the prairie will kick into high gear. Farm sales really take off as soon as April hits. And I can recall an auction company manager telling me it’s those early sales in late March and the beginning of April that really seem to set the tone for the rest of the year.

Buyers looking for a particular machine tend to compete a little harder for the opportunity to bring one home early and get ready for the work just ahead. It makes sense to buy a machine as early as possible to avoid leaving things until the last minute and risk not getting one at all. That stiff competition early on tends to drive up the final selling prices in the year’s first sales a bit, which can lift the price tags of machines selling in later auctions and most in demand by setting a precedent.

You can understand why. If you saw the machine you are looking for go for a high price a week or two ago, spending a little more than you expected but still less than the other one sold for may seem more like a bargain under those circumstances.

Of course, I’m sure there are others in the auction business that may dispute that theory in favour of their own. But with the change we’ve seen in the new equipment market this year, there may well be strong demand for much of the used equipment going over the block this spring. Good used machines may seem like a bit of a bargain compared to new equipment, which has seen a price jump due to the very low value of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. greenback.

On the other hand, because of the incredibly strong sales of new equipment over the past five years, there is a lot of used stuff out there, probably more than there ever has been. In the next few weeks as the farms auction dates get ticked off the calendar, we’ll see what shakes out. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be interesting.

As a bit of a primer for you, we’re posting a few price comparison articles for a variety of used tractors to help remind you what they were fetching last season. Obviously, we can’t list selling prices for everything, but hopefully, we’ve found something similar to what you may be looking for. All of those articles will be online here, at

The articles will get posted every couple of days over the coming week. Here’s the link to the first one in the series.


About the author


Scott Garvey

Scott Garvey is a freelance writer and video producer. He is also the former machinery editor at Grainews.


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