Things to Consider When Buying a Tractor

A closer look at your farm and acreage is the first step when considering a new — or new-to-you — tractor purchase.

| October/November 2017

tractor and barn

Selecting the right tractor for your individual situation will require some thoughtful consideration, but if you take the time to define your intended use for the tractor and do some research, you’ll find a lot of cost-effective models to fit your needs.

Photo by Getty Images/Maksymowicz

One of the most pressing questions you’ll face when purchasing a tractor for your farm or acreage is, “What size of tractor do I need?” This is an essential question, and answering it correctly requires a good understanding of how you intend to use the tractor.

Prices for both new and used tractors climb dramatically based on horsepower, so too much tractor can mean money wasted. But, if the tractor you choose is underpowered, you’ll run the risk of damaging it through stress or simply by not being able to use it for its intended purpose.

When my wife and I purchased our rural property, buying a tractor was one of our first priorities. But with all the manufacturers and models, I was at a loss for where to start my search. I sat down at the table and made a list of questions I had to answer based on my personal needs. That full list is later in the article, and the following factors are things I took into consideration before buying my tractor.

Subcompact or Compact Utility Tractors

Start by determining how you’ll use the tractor. If your main uses will involve mowing, moving snow, light tilling, and some loading, a lot of subcompact, compact utility, and utility tractors can handle those chores with ease.

A variety of manufacturers and engine configurations are available in the subcompact and compact utility market. These tend to have a horsepower rating in the 18 to 40 range. These tractors can be configured with many different options, but most come with a live power takeoff (PTO), a three-point hitch, and hydraulics for lifting and moving attachments.

The versatility of these smaller-framed tractors has been greatly improved by the development of attachments for the market. Everything from posthole augers, log splitters, snow blowers, and even small backhoes for ditching and digging can make a smaller tractor a workhorse on your land. Some companies even make small hay-baling equipment for the compact utility market, but the equipment can be expensive and isn’t readily available in much of the country. If your needs for hay would involve more than 100 bales of hay a year, a heavy-framed utility tractor with a higher horsepower rating may suit you better.

10/6/2017 11:42:06 PM

I bought a reposed property that was vacant for 4.5 years. Five acers with 8 outbuildings and dying trees in rural Nevada. To say the least it's project after project. I looked around for a tractor and a ford 9N was high on the list. Every thing I saw was a new project to add to what I already had. for around $10k with attachments. I decided on a new tractor, a 25hp Kioti. I chose the smaller frame. $15k and &3k in attachments( for the tractor around $100 a month if you finance). Perfect size and choice, uses very little fuel and dependable. Just cleared and put an orchard of 24 trees in in under 2 days. This thing kicks butt and is all new, no tires to replace or electrical system to modify. One of the best investment I've made and it will last for years to come

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