old tractor

Here’s how to find the right tractor for the job.

When it comes to farm work, a tractor is an absolutely wonderful thing to have. Not only is it a big timesaver, but it’ll also save your back! But finding the right tractor for your requirements is very important – the “wrong” one can end up being a costly hassle. So when purchasing a new tractor, where do you start?

Create a Checklist

You first need to sit down and make a list of what you’ll need in your tractor. Mac Payne, director of dealer and product development for Mahindra USA, recommends this list as a start:

“Your answers will help the dealer guide you to the correct model for your farm,” says Mac. “For example, if taking round bales off a trailer is important, you will need a tractor with enough capacity and stability to do the job safely.”

“It is very important that a potential new tractor customer work with a local dealer,” adds Barry Nelson, media relations manager for John Deere. “The dealer can help select the correct tractor based on how it will be used, the acreage covered, operator comfort and convenience, and price.”

Add-Ons and Convenience Options

Once you’ve narrowed down the tractors you are looking at, how do you decide which add-ons or implements you’ll need?

“The primary implement would be a front loader to move hay bales, clear horse lots or stalls, and perform a wide variety of chores around the barnyard,” says Barry. “If the property needs to be maintained, you should also consider a mower or rotary cutter to cut grass and trim ditches and roadsides. If you get snow in the winter, a loader or front blade would also come in handy. You should also consider whether to get a cab or not.

And depending on the work performed, you may want to consider a tractor with front wheel drive for extra traction and performance.”

“Consider what three-point hitch tools you will need,” adds Mac. “Box scraper or rear blade for cleaning out barns, tiller for the garden and arena, road grader to keep the drive smooth, post hole digger to save your back, seeder for seed and fertilizer? Will you have snow to move or a long drive to grade? Snow blowers and rear graders make the job easy. The size of tractor you select will determine the size of implements required.”

New or Used?

Deciding whether to purchase new or used is important. Both have their pros and cons, but when making such a large investment it is important to do things right the first time around. “The advantage of working through a dealer is that they can make sure you get the right tractor for your needs, and the dealer will make sure everything is in working order before you get delivery,” says Barry.

“The under 60 HP tractor market is very competitive today, and a lot of buyers are searching for this size of tractor,” says Mac. “This has made a good used tractor very difficult to find, and when you do find one it is very often ‘well used’. New tractors come with a warranty and special finance options, but used tractors do not. However, new tractors are more costly than used.”

Go Big or Go Home

In a world where “bigger is better”, is it possible to purchase too much tractor for your farm, or should you get the most you can within your budget? “One of the things you should consider is not just what you plan for the tractor today, but what you might be doing in the future,” Mac advises. “If you plan to move round bales in the future, but buy a tractor with a small loader capacity, you will be disappointed. I feel you should get a larger tractor if possible; it will have more capacity for larger three-point tools, more built-in weight and larger tires for better stability.”

A new tractor is an exciting purchase – just imagine all those tasks you’ll be able to manage with ease! With a little research and the help of a dealer, you’ll be able to enjoy your investment for many years to come. Mac Payne is Director of Dealer and Product Development for Mahindra USA where he is responsible for developing new products and bringing them to market in North America. Payne has 25 years of experience in the agricultural industry, many spent as a dealer. Payne earned his bachelor’s of science degree in Agriculture Mechanization from the University of Wyoming. He began his career with a New Holland dealership where he was responsible for all aspects of the business. mac.payne@mahindrausa.com.

Barry Nelson has been with John Deere for 34 years. In 1999 he became the Manager, Public Relations for the Agricultural Equipment Division at John Deere, responsible for media relations and strategic integration of public relations with overall advertising and communications tactics in the U.S. and Canada. He is the former Chairman of the Agricultural Council of America. NelsonBarryE@JohnDeere.com