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Besides no-tilling 2,500 acres, David and Donald Sutherland custom plant 2,500 acres each year. As a result, the Leroy, Kan., father-and-son team several years ago needed a bigger no-till planter.
“We had 21,000 acres on our White 12-row planter and were expecting to spend $4,000 for yearly upkeep,” says David Sutherland. “The dealer said our old planter was worth $35,000 as a trade-in — half the price we’d paid 5 years earlier. Since we were expanding our planting work by another 1,000 acres, there was no way we could get everything planted on time with the old planter.”
When it comes to buying a new no-till planter, Sutherland says you need to ask a series of key questions. (For more details on how Nebraska no-tiller Ed Neesen went about buying a new planter, see "Match-Making Pays With No-Till.")
You need to know why you want to trade, how many acres you’ll be planting, the dealership you want to trade with, how many acres have been seeded with the current planter, yearly no-till planter maintenance costs, planter trade-in value, needed repairs, whether you’re going to expand and the importance of planting in a timely manner.
Other key questions include the brand and model you want, row width, number of rows, available farm labor, whether you’ll have enough acres to justify central fill and an affordable payment level.
When selecting a dealer, Sutherland wants to know whether they offer good product support, their negotiation strategy, trade-in allowance…