To buy the best small farm tractor you have to find the right tractor for the job. Tractors can be used for many reasons. The first step is to identify the jobs and eliminate the bad tractors. Tractors are iconic symbols of agriculture and a common purchase of farm equipment. Choosing the best tractor for a small farm or farm operation can be fun, too. Learning about the different brands of tractors and machinery and talking to people with years of experience helps us perfect the work our tractor will do. Do not over buy. Just as it is important to have a tractor big enough for the job, it is also important not to have a tractor that is too big for your property.
Start your search for the best small farm tractor by locating dealerships near your property that sell farm tools and equipment, including small tractors. No matter how well you maintain the tractor, it will need service and parts. Being able to pick up parts or schedule a repair is much easier and more timely when you are in the same area as the dealer.
Identify the jobs you will be doing with the tractor. This will help the seller narrow down the search for the perfect tractor. Plowing, moving hay bales, moving pallets of feed, mowing grass and cutting hay are just a few of the tasks that can be accomplished with a tractor. Make a list of farm implements. Which ones do you always use? Could it improve your life on the farm if the tractor took over any of these tasks? Using a grid to form a compact tractor comparison chart will help you visualize your options. Take a sheet of plain or graph paper. On the left side, make a list of the jobs you would use the tractor for.
Should I Buy a Used Tractor?
It would be great if you could find a bargain on a used tractor for the needs of a small farm. It would be even better if the tractor was in good condition. In our experience, it is a difficult item to find. If a tractor is a good machine, the owner will likely use it until it is almost worn out. Ask about the machine’s hours of operation and be sure to check the quality of the tires. Let the buyer be careful, of course. If you find a used tractor, be careful looking at it and consider having a machine mechanic take a look at it before you buy.
Does it Matter What Brand I Buy?
Again, I think it is best to have a local dealer to do business with. The dealer will have better luck ordering parts and scheduling a repair at his farm. John Deere, Alis Chalmers, and International Harvester are just a few of the dealer and brand options. All major brands are built to handle the job on a small farm.
What Size Tractor will I Need and What About the Horsepower?
This is where the going gets tough when it comes to getting advice. Many people think that bigger is better when it comes to buying the best tractor for the job on a small farm. Let’s break down the answer by looking at three main small farm tractor options. Garden tractors are good for cutting grass. They have limited power and may not have enough traction for much more than that. The smallest farm tractors have between 30 and 60 horsepower. They are popular choices for small farm jobs. This size range can be easily maneuvered around buildings, paddocks, and through pasture gates. The largest agricultural tractors, over 75 hp, are ideal for plowing large fields, planting, harvesting and cutting hay.
Hydrostatic transmissions are a newer option in tractor transmissions. This transmission is very similar to the automatic. This option is ideal if you are doing a lot of field work, planting, clearing the fields, and cutting hay. Contrast this type of transmission with the classic manual transmission. The advantage of the older style transmission is the additional lower gear. This is useful for dragging due to the extra torque. The hydrostatic transmission is convenient, but the expense is high if a repair is necessary.
Accessories for the Best Tractor for Small Farm Jobs
Small farm tractors can attach a variety of tools to get more jobs done on the farm. Some attachments are attached to the standard tractor bucket. This is a convenient feature, however the tools do a better job when attached directly to the tractor.
- Auger – An auger attachment can dig post holes, foundation holes, and tree planting holes.
- Plow – Plows can be used to move soil, manure, and more.
- Harrow – The disc harrow is used to till the field before planting. The spring tine harrow smooths the ground.
- Bush Hog – The bush hog can be used to cut tall grass, weeds and brush.
- Mower – Mows grass or hay.
- Hay rake (and baler) – Continue and scrapes the hay into rows and the baler bales the hay.
- Hay pick – The bucket can be used to move a round bale, but in some operations it is easier to move the large round bale with the hay pick.
- Forks – The forks are used for many tasks. If you feed large square bales, you need the forks to move a stack of hay bales. The forks can also be used to move pallets of feed or large agricultural accessories such as water troughs.
It is always a good idea to measure the gates and narrow areas of your farm before purchasing any tractor for use on small farms. The doors may look large, but the tractor may not fit through the door, which is more work. Get a good idea of what the best small farm tractor will include before you go shopping. The tractor must work hard for you and the farm for many years.
Do you have any recommendations on the best tractor for small farm jobs? What are your most useful implements? Let us know in the comments below.