New machinery

New machinery sits on display at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia. Dealers say farmers are being cautious about upgrading equipment as they watch crop prices.

SEDALIA, Mo. — On a steamy August day at the Missouri State Fair, machinery dealers were chatting with people as they stopped and looked at the newest equipment.

Justin Lewis, with Ziegler Ag Equipment in Chillicothe, Mo., said low crop prices and uncertainty about markets have kept farmers cautious about buying.

“Ultimately right now, I don’t think guys are looking to buy anything new unless they have to,” he said. “Crop prices have been a roller coaster ride.”

Widespread flooding this year has also impacted buying decisions, depending on how much producers were affected.

“I had one customer in Carroll County, 100% of his acres were under water,” Lewis said.

Tyler Doorman, who also works with Ziegler Ag Equipment, said new machinery technology and precision ag equipment continue to be more widely adapted.

“For the most part, it’s getting more and more popular, especially with the younger growers,” he said.

“Once it’s proven itself, people are starting to buy it,” he said. “The younger generation, the kids going back to the farm, are interested in it.”

James Pate, who works for Sydenstricker John Deere at Rocheport, Missouri, said a boost in corn prices earlier in the year did help equipment sales some.

“Corn prices going up has been helping,” he said.

Of course, part of the rise in corn prices was due to the widespread flooding, which contributes to another machinery trend, Pate said.

“We’ve been doing a lot of stuff with equipment for dirt work,” he said. “A lot of it is waiting on the Corps of Engineers.”

Pate said landowners are waiting to see how much assistance they’ll get for disaster response.

Tax implications also impact producers’ buying decisions, Pate said. For producers who avoided flooding and grew a good crop, or for those who received crop failure assistance, some might want to make machinery purchases later this year to lessen or delay the tax implications.

Pate said most producers he works with have trading cycles they try to stick to, although they watch crop prices and trends.

“Most of the people I’ve worked with have been sticking with their trade cycles,” he said.

His company has been trying to work with producers, being flexible with trade-in policies and payment schedules in light of disaster events or narrow profit margins.

Gene Klein, who works for Crown Power in the Lake of the Ozarks area, said there has been a lot of interest in hay equipment this year. But for major new machinery purchases — until crop prices improve or show more stability — “I’d say they’re holding off,” he said.

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Ben Herrold is Missouri field editor, writing for Missouri Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.