The planter market has been a rollercoaster since 2014. Four years ago, if you had a planter larger than a single row you had a hard time getting rid of it. Like other equipment segments, planters were highly produced and the market was flush with inventory. Used planters had piled up on dealer’s lots and the auction market was the new place to buy used planters. Week after week auction, bills were loaded with planters. They were everywhere! Of all the equipment in the last 5 years, planters took the worst beating. New planter sales fell from highs of 50-60 to even 100 per year to lows in the single digits. Planters were being rebuilt instead of trading for new. High-speed technology was introduced from manufactures but “Bolt On” equipment had been available for several years at this point. Older planters started getting a face-lift with new high-speed technology. 

As a remarking manager, my job is to look for trend in used equipment. With the current farm economy, Precision Planting and retro kits are increasing in popularity. Used planter inventories are at all-time lows. With that being said, the value of used planters has not changed. Used planters, pre-high speed technology, have remained the same for the past 3-4 years. Planter values, at auction or retail, have held steady with no real sign of change in the near future.

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If you spend any time on “Ag Twitter” it’s not uncommon to hear the term “Precision Donor” tossed around. End users have created a demand for old planters. The odd part is the demand has not created an uptick in price. These users are looking for cheap planters to retrofit with new “Bolt On” high-speed technology. End users see the benefits of high-speed technology. There is test plot after test plot showing the results of stand, reduced seed population, and add efficiencies in the field. All of which is driving profit to the bottom line and in the current environment every little bit counts. 

“What will a $50,000 investment yield after the newness wears off. Only time will tell and it could be less than you think…”

Demand for the older, pre 2012 planters is real. The drawback is price. End users are looking for a $25,000 or less, something to spend $50K plus on and have $75,000 planter that will compete in performance with a $250,000 - $300,000 planters. I am not saying that installing high-speed technology on an older planter will give the same planter as new, but it is darn close. The landscape is ripe with shops that specialize in doing just this thing.

Aftermarket technology, like Precision Planting, is not new to the market. Due to the down turn and higher trade differences, solutions like these have become popular. Producers are looking for bang for their buck and these solutions are providing the bang. So, with this all being said how does this affect the used marketplace? I think the jury is still out. Planters have always been a one-off type of machine. Every setup is specific to each producer. What one loves the other hates. I have to think this will carry over to the “Bolt On” market. The investment in this technology, in my opinion, will have the value the next buyer deems it worth. What will a $50,000 investment yield after the new wears off. Only time will tell and it could be less than you think!

If you want to hear more topics like this tune into Moving Iron Podcast where this very topic has been has been discussed. Regina Narges, Aaron Fintel, and myself talk about the latest trend in the ag equipment marketplace. Make sure to visit for more about the ag equipment industry. So, until next time, let’s go move some iron. 


April/May 2018 Issue Contents