Steffes Group


Thinking About a Fall Land Auction?

September 2020

Thinking About a Fall Land Auction? Here Are a Few Things You Need to Know. 


If you’re thinking of selling land this fall, the first thing you need to know is that you’re not alone. A lot of other landowners are thinking the same thing. So if you plan to sell at auction, it’s a good idea to contact your local Steffes representative soon to secure your preferred spot on the calendar. 


And then there’s the matter of getting your farmland ready to sell. That job is a lot easier if you’ve practiced sound stewardship over the years, but if you’ve neglected care of your soil, this is where you’re likely to pay the piper. 


“It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of careful management. Prospective bidders tend to know who farmed the land, and the farmer’s reputation matters. If you’ve rotated your crops properly, maintained drainage and put nutrients back into the soil, it’ll pay off on auction day,” said Max Steffes. 


Representative Tim Meyer, in Iowa, agrees. 


“It’s just human nature that nobody is going to take better care of an asset than the owner. So landowners who have had tenants running their farms need to keep a close watch on how they’re treating them. If your land has been farmed really hard, you will pay the price,” said Tim.


“If the nutrients have been taken out of the soil without being replaced, the owner will need to fertilize, and it may take a few seasons to get the soil where it should be,” he said. 


Scott Steffes pointed out that while we use various tools to quantify soil quality -- including soil maps and soil productivity indexes -- experienced farmers and investors 

tend to take such measures into account but ultimately make their own assessments. 


As in all things, basics and common sense apply, Scott said. “Be a good steward. Keep your ditches clean, and don't allow weeds to grow. Make sure your drainage is good, whether tiling or ditches.” 


Meyer said he anticipates a busy fall for land sales. 


“Even though we’re going into October, most of the land sales for 2020 are still in front of us. I think we have one stretch where we already have 14 straight days of auctions scheduled. So there’s no time to waste in getting on the schedule and doing what you can to get the best possible price,” said Tim.