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Schrader auctions show drought hasn’t cooled demand for land

If the drought has had a major impact on farmland prices, you couldn't tell it by a group of auctions conducted in six different states during August.

Between Aug. 1 and Aug. 15, Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company sold 13,482 acres of land in seven separate sales.

"We are starting to see more variation based on location and quality of land, with buyers willing to pay more for better soils and productivity. Areas where the drought has been especially brutal are a little weaker, but on average, everything still seems to be on an upward trend," said R.D. Schrader, president of the auction company. "We continued to see farmers actively leading the way, but we did sell some land -- including all the land in Texas and New Mexico -- to investors."

"For the most part, we had great crowds, active bidding and prices in line with or stronger than expectations based on the location and type of land," said Schrader. "We were naturally concerned about what impact the drought may have had. But in most cases, we've seen little, if any, perceivable effect on farmland prices. It's pretty clear that farmers and investors are focused on the long term and still eager to buy land."

The auctions brought a total of $22,916,099, with the highest prices, as expected, coming in the Midwest. In Wolcott, Ind., a 79-acre farm sold for $13,228 per acre. Two Illinois auctions brought an average of $9,636 per acre -- $10,407 per acre in Henry County and $9,160 in Moultrie County.

Other sales included:
● 8,141 acres in Oklahoma for $6,095,000, or $749 per acre;
● 479 acres in Kansas for $810,000, or $1,691 per acre;
● 803.77 acres in Missouri for $4,777,500 -- an average of $5,944 per acre;
● 3,233 acres in Texas and New Mexico for a total of $2,992,000, or $926 per acre.

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