Purchasing a tractor or piece of equipment for your farm is a big investment. Over the next few of weeks, we will help you decide whether purchasing a new or used tractor is right for you by covering basic considerations for buying a tractor, how to make a proper inspection before buying a tractor and final considerations before making a purchase.
1What will it do?
Before making a decision on what type of tractor to buy, consider how it will be used. Will you be making hay, doing planting or tillage work, clearing or working with a small woods, or working with livestock?
Think about the terrain of your farm. No slope, gentle hills, really steep slopes? How muddy does it get in certain areas where equipment will be used frequently? What about snow? Should you invest in a 4-wheel drive or 2-wheel drive tractor?
Should you invest in a gas- or diesel-powered engines? Gas-powered usually starts better in the winter, but diesel engines have more torque and a longer fuel life.
Make sure the tractor has all the necessary hookups for whatever implements you will be pulling (I.e. trailers, balers, tillers)
When purchasing a tractor, new or used, make sure it meets safety standards. Shields should be covering belts and PTO shafts. Make sure the tractor has proper front protection from loader arms and buckets.
If the tractor does not have a cab, does it have a Rollover Protection Structure, or ROPS, bar? Make sure the ROPS is engineered for that specific tractor and not just homemade. (A seat belt still needs to be worn in order for ROPS to be effective.)
Operator comfort is key if you have to spend long hours on the tractor. Inspect the tractor seat for comfort, check the noise level while operating the tractor, and inspect the convenience of the controls for various implements. (If controls are hard to reach, it could mean long days and stress on joints.)
Does the tractor offer shade from the sun if you’re spending long, hot days making hay? And does it offer adequate lighting for night work? Can you get on and off the tractor easily?
If you are not purchasing a tractor with all the latest technology, does it have the option to add monitors and autosteer if you decide to upgrade later?
5Where to buy?
You can find deals on equipment from a number of sources. Check the classifieds or local auctions. Purchase from a neighbor, from a retirement or consignment sale or purchase straight from a local dealership.
Source: Selecting a new or used tractor for a small farm, Jason Hartschuh, Farm Science Review, Small Farms Center.
Next week: How to inspect a tractor before purchase.
(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)
More Farming 101 columns:
- 5 tips for a better farm marketing plan
- How to seek help with retirement planning
- How to set goals for retirement
- A farmer’s guide to saving for retirement
- A farmer’s guide to planning for retirement
- 5 steps to get NRCS assistance
- How can conservation easements help you?
- How to fund conservation plans
- What is a conservation plan?
- How can NRCS help you?
- More airborne hazards on the farm
- 5 airborne hazards to beware of on the farm
- 5 things to know about Wagyu beef
- Pennsylvania utility vehicle laws
- Ohio utility vehicle laws
- Farm chemical safety checklist
- When should a farm become a business entity?
- Harvest prep: Check your yield monitors
- How to tag livestock properly
- 6 tips for decision making on a family farm
- 8 tips to prepare your farm for agritourism
- How to plan for farm emergencies
- 7 keys to success on the farm
- 7 tips for healthy fair animals
- 5 tips to ensure livestock health before the fair
- 6 tips to keep your livestock parasite free
- 6 tips for vaccinating your livestock
- 5 tips to prevent dairy cow foot problems
- 6 common foot problems found in dairy cows
- Recognize, prevent heat stress in dairy cattle
- How to monitor your dairy herd
- How to start your own dairy farm
- 5 tips for sun safety in the field
- Employing youth for the summer
- What to do if a hay fire occurs
- How to prevent hay fires
- How to extend the life of your fence
- 10 safety tips for installing electric fences
- How to chose the right fence for your farm
- How to create a fencing plan
- 7 steps for easy sprayer calibration
- Prepare for planting season, Part 2: Calibration
- Prepare for planting season, Part 1: The Basics
- 7 tips to improve security on your farm
- 5 tips to protect your farmland
- 3 measures to deal with severe farm debt
- How to buy time to catch up on farm debt
- 6 tips to manage income on the farm
- 5 tips to recognize and deal with farm stress
- How to prepare a livestock birthing kit
- 5 tips for marketing your farm
- How to develop farm mission, vision statements
- 5 tips for setting farm goals
- 2 types of livestock insurance policies
- 6 things you need to know about WFRP plans
- 3 basics of crop insurance
- How does liability insurance work on the farm?
- Why do I need farm insurance?
- How to understand and use Ohio’s CAUV
- How to utilize the Pa. Clean and Green Act
- 9 tips for filing farm taxes
- 8 reasons record keeping for taxes is essential
- 5 tips for post-harvest storage
- 7 tips for family meetings on the farm
- 4 tips for balancing your farm and family
- 4 tips for communicating on the family farm
- 4 tips for firing an employee
- 6 tips for keeping good farm help
- 4 tips for recruiting farm labor
- 5 general farm labor laws
- 4 tips for employing minors
- 4 tips for PTO safety
- 5 things young farmers should know about finances
- The farm balance sheet
- 5 items for your farm’s cash flow statement
- Personal and business records: Keep them separate
- What to include in your farm business plan
- How to approach a lender: Tips for getting a farm loan
- How to use microloans to get your farm started
- Saving for the future: 6 tips for young farmers
- How to create a farm safety kit
- 5 tips for child safety on the farm
- 4 tips for transporting livestock
- 5 ways to better understand tractor stability
- 6 farm equipment hacks
STAY INFORMED. SIGN UP!
Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!
My dad just recently bought a farm, and so far he still lacks the equipment he’ll need for plowing or in any other activities farming activities. That’s why we’re currently looking for five tractors. Thankfully you shared this; we’ll make sure to find equipment that meets the safety standards such as the shields should be covering the belts and PTO shafts.