Author: Phil Brown at Trophy Properties and Auction
Congratulations! You bought a piece of land and now you are considering the purchase of a tractor. Here is some helpful advice.
First and foremost, if you have never owned a tractor, it is important that you realize they are a dangerous piece of equipment. Always wear your seatbelt, and always have the ROPS system up. If you roll your tractor, these two items will save your life! Believe me when I say tractors can roll over, even at a very slow speed.
Tractors come in various colors. The most common are orange, blue, red, and green, just to name a few. Many tractor owners have a specific brand that they are loyal to, myself included, but I am not going to go in to that here. I encourage you to find a local dealer with an impeccable level of service, because you are going to need them after the sale. I chased a low price on a tractor once and the service level from the dealer was horrible, so I no longer shop there. Luckily, the dealer I currently work with is just the opposite. They make it happen for me, which is very important. The time I have to get tasks accomplished is limited and I need my equipment to run smoothly.
Decide whether you want to buy new or used. As you research tractors, you will find that they hold their value much better than a car or truck. Manufacturers often have zero percent financing for five years on new utility tractors. I typically purchase my tractors new under this program, and I have the comfort of knowing there is a warranty in place.
Do you want a front end loader? I think it is an incredibly valuable addition to your tractor and allows you to get a lot more work done, especially if you are short on help. Keep in mind though that this is the item that can act as a lever to roll your tractor. Remember to go slowly as you learn how to operate the loader and get a feel for what you can and cannot do. I also suggest you look at pallet forks in addition to the bucket. These will come in handy for lifting and moving items.
Keep in mind that a tractor is not skid steer, and it is not a bulldozer. If you start using it in that fashion there is a high probability you are going to break something. Front wheel assist, also known as four wheel drive is a great option. You do not want to spend your time being stuck in the field.
The PTO (Power Take-Off) is one of the most dangerous items on a tractor. This is what powers implements such as a rotary cutter and it comes off the back of your tractor. You never want to get near this while it is running. If you were to snag a piece of clothing on the PTO shaft it will not let you go. You will lose a hand, arm, or your life.
Cab or no cab is another decision to make. A cab is definitely more money, but it also allows you to work in weather or conditions that you might not normally work in. Some might call a cab a luxury and I could understand that argument, but it sure is nice during certain times of the year.
How big is big enough? I encourage you to buy as much as you can afford. There is nothing wrong with starting with a 50 hp utility tractor. It will serve you well and you can get a lot done! If your property expands and you begin working larger fields you will probably wind up stepping up to a larger tractor that can pull larger equipment.
There is no magic formula on what you should buy. Do your research and find a local dealership that will serve you well. An afternoon on a tractor is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and clear your mind. Be safe and have fun!
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