4 Tips for Selling Your Used Farm Equipment

Alex Tiller - Friday, July 25, 2008

Now that you have that spiffy new tractor or planter, what to do with the old one?  There are a few things that you can do to make your trash another man’s treasure with only a little effort. 

1.       Love at first sight.  How often did you look at the rusty truck sitting for sale on the side of the road?   Chances are, not ever.  Take that rusty truck, add some sanding, primer and paint and it looks as good as the day it rolled off the lot.  It is a proven fact that the first thing people take note of is outward appearance.  That can be applied to nearly everything – including farm equipment.  By taking that old piece of equipment and putting in a few hours work you could automatically increase the price by about $500.  A friend of mine did this with a horse trailer that was originally priced at $800 and got zero calls.  After some paint, she was able to sell it for $1500 within a week. 

2.       Extra-Extra read all about it!  Now is the time to hit the web.  You can reach a wide variety of potential buyers by using free classifieds.  There are tons of such Web sites out there.  http://craigslist.org and http://usa4sale.com are two of the biggest that are available.  There are others that are specialized for farm equipment sales like http://tractorsandfarming.com, and http://usfarmer.com.  Their Web sites provide a wealth of buyers and sellers looking to find anything from a weed trimmer to a vintage tractor and all the parts to fix it.  (Also consider contacting a reseller like http://www.ssbtractor.com)

Reach your local audience too.  Run an add in the local paper, make simple fliers and stick them at the feed and seed, local coffee shop, gas station - wherever the local crowd tends to mill about.  Even try attaching them to the bulletin board in the office of you local grain elevator or FSA office. 

(If you use fliers, make them eye catching – use a bright colored printer paper, or use basic white paper and let the kids decorate.  Whatever it takes to make your piece of paper stuck to the wall more noticeable than the others.)

3.       Maybe you don’t have any desire to mess with trying to sell it yourself- you just want it out of the way.  Here are a couple of options.

Like the George Straight song says, “just give it away.”  Maybe there is someone else that can benefit from your hand-me-downs.  It could even be donated to a local organization like the 4-H chapter or F.F.A.   Donating to non-profit organizations could also gives you a tax write off.  You can find your local 4-h chapter by visiting this Web site http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html.  Contact the area high school to find out more information about donating to FFA (www.ffa.org). 

Another option is to make it a business deal.  Perhaps you have a son or grandson or even a friend of the family’s boy that would be interested in working on a piece of equipment in order to sell.  Set a deadline, maybe give them a small budget and let them have at it.   When it sells, you split the money on it.  Not only does it do you a favor, but it also gives the youngster an opportunity to do some problem solving , learn something about mechanics, and practice in business dealings as well. 

4.      Feeling scrappy?  Depending on the condition, it may be easier to scrap out the metal and take it to the recycling center. Price of steel per pound seems to vary by region.  It generally ranges from 60 cents per pound to a dollar.  A lot of people have made this another form of income to compensate for the rising cost of living.  Check out www.scrap.com  for up to date prices on steel.  They also provide browsers with local buyers of scrap throughout the country.  Not only are you recouping some money out of an investment, you are also helping the environment by recycling!

These are just a few ideas.  In order to make your selling effort a success, advertise well and be persistent.  The right buyer is out there hunting just as hard as you are.  Good luck!

5 Tips For Cutting Costs On Your Farm

Alex Tiller - Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Turning a profit is the goal of every farming operation large and small.  In times like these, when the cost of daily inputs are skyrocketing, it is more important than ever to be as profitable as possible.  The most obvious step is cutting costs.  The tricky part is cutting costs while maintaining quality and ample productivity to keep the whole business functioning cohesively.

Here are a few ideas to help you get lean and mean…

1.       Do you really need to own it?  Let’s face it, most people are not very big on sharing.  You may be surprised though how much good it can be to share which cuts your capital expenditure.  Owning a lot of specialized equipment is expensive.  When you consider operating, maintenance and purchase costs, it’s a lot more than you think it is.  Now take that same piece of expensive equipment and share it with your neighbor and/or father in-law, the numbers aren’t quite so painful.  To be on the safe side, it is always a good idea to have something in writing should there be any confusion as to who gets it when and for what explicit purpose. 

2.       To till or not to till?  This is a topic that could be argued over for days.  From the cost cutting perspective though, it is one of the best things going - for your wallet as much as the environment.  Not tilling saves about 3.5 gallons of diesel per acre.  Based on a 1,000 acre tract of land and today’s diesel prices of about $4.50 per gallon that results in a $4,5000 savings.  (Try this calculator for your farm: Clink Here to Launch Calculator )

3.        Plant a tree!    It may not seem like a lot but just planting a trees and shrubs can save you boatloads on heating and cooling costs in addition to providing wind breaks to reduce erosion.  During the summer you get shade and during the winter trees function as a natural and attractive windbreak.  Evergreen trees like cedars are ideal because they have flexible limbs and are resistant to wind damage that may occur with more brittle types of trees.  Evergreen’s also produce very little mess and grow in a variety of soil types. 

4.       Managing the muck.   Every year huge amounts of money is poured into the soil as fertilizer.  All the while, the manure heap at the barn grows and grows producing it’s own realm of problems.  Cure both problems and reuse the manure as field fertilizer.  By using manure as fertilizer, you can cut costs by up to $85 an acre based on a 1,000 acre tract.  (Source: NRCS)


5.       Use Precision Ag.  New technology has proven useful to the farmer as well as the techie.  (The boys at NASA are actually behind this idea, hunting for a practical application for satellite technologies).  GPS (Global Positioning) Technology has been tailored to provide farmers with an accurate aerial view of crop land.  By doing this, input needs can be more accurately estimated, as well as sowing density.  The big idea is to be more flexible in crop management.  Considering the money and expertise involved in this endeavor, it is important to work closely with others in the area to make it a benefit across the board.  (http://southeastfarmpress.com/mag/farming_precision_agriculture_study/)


These are just a few ideas to help you cut some costs and maximize profits. Feel free to add some other cost cutting tips to the comments below.  Good luck!