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Need to purchase a combine harvester? You’ve come to the right place.

While there are benefits to buying new over used, we know buying brand new isn’t possible for everyone. So you need to find the right machine at the right price, from the right seller. What do you check for? Who should you deal with? What are things to look out for? We’re here to help!

When browsing combine harvesters for sale, make sure you’re getting the right machine for your needs with these quick tips.

1. Choose the Right Brand

Case-IH combine harvester

Pictured: Case IH combine harvester. Source: Machines4U

Depending on your budget, needs and preferences, there are 4 big combine brands to choose from:

  1. John Deere—as the industry leader in ag machinery and equipment, John Deere is the big player for combine harvesters. Check out our buyers guide to the John Deere S680 to see what we mean.
  2. Case IH—With a huge focus on autonomous farming, Case IH is consistently coming up with new innovations and technology to make combine operator jobs much easier.
  3. New Holland—A big belief in sustainable farming, New Holland have built strong combines made for cleaner,  more efficient farming.
  4. Massey Ferguson—Always innovating, Massey Ferguson are known for their precision farming equipment, with their combines ranging from 175-459hp.

Of course, there are plenty of other brands that manufacture combine harvesters and don’t come with the larger price tag.

If you’re still unsure, check out a couple of different brand combines (if possible) in person so you can get a feel for which is best for you. The decision you make could prove crucial come harvest time.

2. Get the Right Combine Harvester for Your Operation

New Holland Combine Harvester

Pictured: New Holland combine harvester with draper platform and top-cross auger. Source: Machines4U

Bigger isn’t always better

While it may seem great to opt for a larger combine with higher levels of production, it actually could work against you if it’s not the correct fit. It’s always better to have a smaller machine producing an easily handled load rather than a larger combine sitting full and idle while it waits for pickup.

Crop Type

You also want to choose the right combine for your crop type. For best harvest performance, crop species such as sunflower, corn, soybean and rice require their own purpose-built heads.

3. Decide On Dealership or Private Sale

Now you have an idea of the right combine, the next question is: dealership or private seller?

There’s a certain essence of protection when you buy through a dealership. Generally, dealerships are licensed resellers of brand products and therefore have greater knowledge of combine and model types that may better suit your needs.

Dealerships may also be able to offer warranties and other things that private sellers just don’t have access to. You’ll want to be sure the dealership isn’t too far from you in case you run into problems.

4. Ask the Right Questions

If you do check out some used combines for sale by a private seller, you want to be prepared with some questions to make sure they have kept the machine in good nick:

  1. What’s its service history? Can they provide you with a maintenance log?
  2. How many hours has this machine clocked? (Sellers should have this on their Machines4U ad, but sometimes they don’t)
  3. What can the header handle? (The combine’s capacity should never be more than the gathering head can take)
  4. Is it comfortable to operate?
  5. What is the unloading rate?

5. Check the Exterior

Massey Ferguson combine harvester

Pictured: Massey Ferguson combine harvester. Source: Machines4U

Your livelihood depends on getting a decent machine that does what its meant to do. That’s why we recommend checking the machine in person. Generally, farmers will keep their machinery in good condition to prolong the kit’s lifespan, however it’s always important to do your due diligence.

While viewing pictures certainly helps, nothing beats seeing the machine up close. You need to be able to:

  • Listen to the engine
  • Do a walk-around to check the for any damage or rust
  • Sit in the cab to get a good idea of its condition
  • Check the belts, chains and sprockets for any damage

Bring someone with you if possible, an extra set of eyes and ears is better than one!

6. Check the Interior

John Deere Combine Harvester Interior

Pictured: John Deere combine harvester interior. Source: Machines4U

Harvesting calls for long hours, so you want to be sure the cab is comfortable and has the extras you’re looking for. Sit in the cab, tinker with the controls and make sure everything is working as it should. Make sure to ask about storage, entertainment options, and anything else that’s important to you.

7. Check the Engine

As you would a car, make sure you check the combine’s engine. Turn the harvester on and look for any signs of leaks in the engine, hoses or hydraulics. Listen for any problem noises such as clunking, grinding, screeching or knocking. It’s also important to check the engine meets emission standards.

8. Check the Tyres

John Deere combine harvester tyre

Pictured: Tyre on a John Deere combine harvester. Source: Machines4U

Tyres are an essential component of your combine. When you’re hauling a 400 bushel bin weighing 12 tonnes, and the combine itself weighs 16 tonnes—that’s a lot of weight on the field.

This can cause significant field compaction, especially if the tyres don’t have the right load-carrying capacity. So check for this, as well as mobility, traction and stubble wear resistance.

9. Protect Yourself

Before you sign any dotted lines, do a quick check to make sure you’re not buying machinery that’s still under finance. To see if the seller has any outstanding finance attached to the machinery, do a PIN check.

This PIN check is also a quick way to identify whether the machinery is legit or has been registered as stolen. Please note: this will only work for those who have registered their machinery on the NER.

10. Check your finance options

Combine harvesters are an investment, and as such have a large price tag. If you need a hand financing your combine, have a chat with a broker to see what options are available that suit your needs and budget.


Have we missed anything in this article? Let us know in the comments below, or check out used combine harvesters for sale.

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