Steffes Group


Bidders Rewarding Machinery With Low Separator Hours

August 2020

As harvest approaches, the market for combines and other harvest equipment is heating up, as we found in a timed online auction this week for Kibble Equipment.


A 2018 John Deere S780 with only 580 separator hours sold for $299,000 -- a great price on a late-model S780. But even more amazing was the 2018 John Deere S770 with only 328 separator hours that sold for $298,000 -- only $1,000 less than the bigger model! 

“This really shows that farmers are looking not only for late-model combines but also for machines with low separator hours. If the combine has spent less time thrashing, it will command a higher price. This is especially true if the difference between engine hours and separator hours is relatively narrow,” said Brad Olstad. 

Bidders are also rewarding low hours for tractors. In the same online auction, a 2018 John Deere 9620 RX brought $407,000. “We can see again how buyers are rewarding late model machines with low hours. This one had only 590 hours, and bidders obviously were willing to reward that,” he said. 


The auction for Kibble, which has locations throughout the upper Midwest, was one of the biggest dealer auctions in the country in the last 60 to 90 days, according to Olstad, who said Kibble’s reputation played a vital role in the auction’s success.

At $5.8 million in all, the auction surpassed Steffes’ pre-sale estimate, according to Olstad. “We’ve had a great relationship with Kibble, and when bidders see the name, they know that the descriptions of the machinery are accurate, so they’re confident in what they’re getting,” said Olstad.


While the market for machinery is strong, bidders are discriminating in what they will pay for lesser equipment. “Farmers are smart. They understand that older equipment will require more maintenance and will probably have a higher operating cost,” he said. “As a result, the market for older equipment with high hours is very soft right now.”