Categories: Articles, MechanisationPublished On: 30th October 2023

Used vs new agricultural equipment – pros and cons

By 3 min read



Farmers today are confronted with the rising cost of equipment, yet keeping up in the industry requires the latest technology. Buying new equipment gives you peace of mind.

You get the latest technology and dealer supported warranty, but it comes at a high price. The alternative is local used equipment, but those machines can be battered and worn due to poor maintenance. And to top it off, they come with high usage hours.

Equipment from USA

There is another equipment source that has been used throughout Africa by knowledgeable farmers. The United States has a large pool of quality pre-owned equipment, but you need to know what to look for and where and how to get it. The following points are important. Make sure you get the equipment from a reputable dealer. Buyer beware, there are a lot of equipment brokers that only have an internet page and no support facilities.

They list equipment from many sources and often have not physically seen them. Remember, all suppliers will require you to send money before they ship the equipment. Therefore, make sure they are trusted. A source of safe used equipment is an official dealer for large equipment manufacturers such as John Deere, Case or Caterpillar. These dealers have a reputation to guard and can be trusted. In addition, they have full knowledge of the equipment and service facilities to prepare the equipment for export. Not all dealers have extensive export experience, however. Some will sell you the equipment in their yard and you assume the responsibility of handling the export. So, make sure to ask them about their export record.

What To Buy and Not to Buy from Export

Looking through used equipment in the United States, the export buyer might be surprised by the low prices. But other expenses, such as packing, local transportation in the United States, ocean freight to your port, ocean insurance, local duties and taxes, and other clearance costs and transport to your farm, can add to your final cost.

For newer and larger equipment, this still adds up to savings for the buyer. But not all equipment is a good buy. For example, you may see an older combine harvester with 2,000 hours at US$60,000 that still has a lot of use in it, but the shipping cost will be a very high percentage of the purchase costs. Also, small tractors are not a wise purchase from the USA due to cost and high specifications. The best equipment comes from the American Midwest. The equipment is normally used for one crop a year and stored in sheds during the long winters, meaning low usage hours on the machine. They are normally owner operated; therefore, the investment is usually maintained well. And the equipment is normally bought new and is maintained by the official dealer. In the USA, the equipment is often traded in for new equipment after two or three years to obtain the latest technology and possibly some tax incentives. Also, equipment manufacturers may be offering certain incentives and special financing for new equipment.


Most new equipment purchased from a local dealer in Africa can be financed through the dealer and a manufacturer’s finance program. On the other hand, imported used equipment is normally financed directly through local banks. These banks require a proforma invoice for the equipment and possibly other collateral that the importer can provide. A good dealer can provide the required proforma.

Good Source of Used Equipment in the USA

A good source of used grain equipment, such as combine harvesters, is AHW LLC in the United States ( AHW, which exports quality used equipment worldwide, is a long-time John Deere dealer with 19 locations in the American Midwest. It carries a large stock of quality used John Deere equipment, such as combine harvesters, self-propelled sprayers, row crop tractors, large planters, and tillage equipment.


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