Buying used farm machinery is risky

MINNEAPOLIS – You can minimize the risks of purchasing used farm machinery by buying from a reputable source and getting the maintenance records.

“A machine can be on the market for two reasons,” said Dave Resch, Scott County educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Service.

“One is that it’s no longer dependable, and the second is that it no longer fits the operation.”

Resch believes the better machinery is generally available when the size of the operation has changed.

If you need machinery and have some dollars to spend, there may be some tax advantages to buying before the end of the year, Resch said. But check with your tax preparer for details.

“The local machinery dealer probably is the safest place to purchase machinery,” Resch said. “Local dealers usually know the history of the machine and may have reconditioned it. And many times they will provide a warranty on the machine and help get it into operation.”

On the other hand, the riskiest place to purchase machinery is consignment auctions, Resch said.

“Usually there are no maintenance records available, and no one knows for sure why the machine is being sold. And the pace of the auction is usually quite fast for the inexperienced buyer to keep up.”

To help speed up the process in purchasing used machinery, Resch suggests taking time to detail how the machine will fit into your operations. Consider price limitations, dependability, brand preference and appearance.

If you’re unable to pay cash, make sure you’ve made arrangements with your lender before making the purchase. And how dependable the machine must be to fit into your machinery line will influence the price you pay.

The brand of machinery is important when it comes to finding a dealer for repair and parts service, Resch said. Also, some brands have better resale when you may want to sell the machine.

Don’t be confused by a new coat of paint – it can cover many defects. And if the machine has a motor, be sure you hear it run.

“Look around and don’t panic by purchasing the first machine you see,” Resch advises. “There may be others in better condition at a lower price. Insist on an operator’s manual and get any warranty or guarantee in writing.”

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