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Skid Steers: The Farm's Swiss Army Knife


Best Brands and Times to Buy a Skid Steer

A version of this analysis first appeared in Successful Farming's magazine publication.
The derecho that blew through Iowa and Illinois in August of 2020 had many adverse effects. Skid steer demand was not one of them. Dustin Browne, of DB Equipment in Otley, Iowa, stated that all his skid steers were rented within hours of the storm hitting. Personally, I’m a fan of the versatility that a skid steer offers and have plenty of experience inside the cab. Much of my youth was spent and my character molded in our Case 1845C, pushing out hog pens and shoveling manure into the bucket with my sisters as we cleaned out our chicken houses. The evolution of our family farm means that we no longer need the skid steer, but after hearing about the rental demand, I had to dive into the Iron Comps Insights to see what price these farming ‘handyman tools’ are selling for.
If you happen to be looking for a used skid steer to clean up mother nature’s mess, or to build the next generation’s character, the best time for auction deals seems to be in October. Each of the past two years has seen the September to October average price drop, with 15% lower in 2019 and 25% lower in 2018. If it is this low-priced deal you are looking for, there are a couple brands that tend to bring a below average price. The current average value for all skid steer models is just shy of $21K. John Deere sits just above that mark, and Bobcat is right below it. For a steeper discount, look for the used Case, New Holland and Gehl models. The leading premium priced brand with significant auction volume is Kubota. While not as prevalent as Bobcat, who current has 40% of the auction market over the last couple of years, Kubota is coming on strong with 6% market share. Plus, Kubota’s models did not significantly hit the auction block until 2015, so I would expect more to come available next year.   
One final piece of advice. Pay attention to the manufactured year. There is a glut of 2015 - 2017 models moving on the market right now. The discount you could realize by purchasing a model on the back half of this curve could save you 15%.  The average prices for 2017 and newer models are all in the low $30K range. If you opt for just a slightly older 2016 machine, the average price drops to $24.5K.
If you do find that gem of a good condition Kubota, manufactured in 2016 for less than $26K (the average Insights price for this make/model/year), you might want to consider raising your paddle before its gone!