Equipment Notebook: Demand for Compact Tractors

Demand for compact tractors continues to grow around the globe and our auction sales figures reflect the fact that good used compact tractors are as difficult as ever to find.

It's no surprise that more John Deere models were sold than any other brand. The company's popularity in the Midwest has spanned several generations. Even at that, our records list only 20 compact John Deeres that were reported sold at auction over the past year.

The oldest model sold at auction was a 1970 - 1020 with 40 HP. It was sold in Colorado for $4,500, which is a good price. Other 1020s listed for sale are set at $4,000 or in that range. Since this tractor is nearly 40 years old, I guess that clearly demonstrates the value of investing in a good tractor.

There were more JD 4320s sold than any other model. They were manufactured in 1971 and 1972 and originally sold for $12,000. They were built in Waterloo, IA. Often called the "super 4020," the 4320 was essentially a 4020 with a turbocharged engine and new tires. The engines were John Deere 6-cylinder diesels. One 1971 model sold in Minnesota in September 2007 for $8,000. Another sold that same month in Illinois for $8,300. At a Kansas auction in September 2007, a 1972 4320 sold for $11,000.

JD 4230s were manufactured between 1973 and 1977. They originally sold between $9,340 and $10,700 and cabs were a standard feature. The only 4230 listed in our auction records was a 1976 model sold in Illinois in September 2007 for $12,400. The average auction price of the 4230s ranges from $3,923 to $10,497. Most sell for around $8,000. The Illinois model was either in exceptional condition or exceptional demand. Either way, it brought a good price in comparison to auction averages.

John Deere 950s weren't plentiful, but there were five of them listed as sold at auction. The 950 was made between 1978 and 1989. In 1988, it sold for $12,000. It was manufactured in Japan by Yanmar and was a three-cylinder diesel. A 1978 model sold in Iowa in September 2007 for $2,250. A 1979 model sold in October 2007 for $3,000. In December 2007, an Illinois auction reported selling a 950 for $900. The year of the tractor wasn't available.

The John Deere 2040s were manufactured between 1975 and 1982. They were made in Germany and priced at $14,000 in 1982. A 1980 2040, sold at an August 2007 auction, brought $9,400. A 1982 model sold in Texas for $10,600.

The John Deere 850 model was built between 1978 and 1989. It featured a Yanmar 3-cylinder diesel engine and listed for $11,000 in 1989. A 1985 model sold in Indiana in April 2007 for $3,800, which is a pretty average sale price. Another 850 sold in Illinois that same month for $3,600.

John Deere's 5210s were made between 1997 and 2001. They came out of the Augusta, GA, factory. Their sale price in 1999 was $13,048. The 1999 two-wheel drive model sold in Mississippi in November 2007 brought $8,100. A comparable model, the 5200, was made between 1992 and 1997. One model (year unknown) sold at auction in Mississippi in November 2007 for $6,600.

The John Deere 955 was also manufactured in Japan between 1989 and 1998. In 1998, the list price was $18,000. It features the Yanmar three-cylinder diesel engine. A 1995 model sold in North Dakota in December 2007 for $9,600. A 2001 model sold at auction in South Dakota in June 2007 for $8,800. The average sale price for these models is $10,000.

The 4210 model seems to be fairly rare. It was built at John Deere's Augusta plant between 2002 and 2006. The 2003 model that sold in Iowa in May 2007 for $8,000 was well below the low average auction price of $10,838. The highest auction prices have reached $14,452.

Two JD 855 models were also sold at auction. The year of each tractor was not available, but this model was manufactured between 1986 and 1998. It sold for $16,000 in 1998 and 1998 models still sell for between $9,500 and $12,500. One of the models in our records sold in Indiana in October 2007 for $2,900. A second model sold in Florida In May 2007 for $3,100. Depending on the condition of the tractors, those could have been the buys of the year.