A tractor is one of the most important tools you will ever
purchase for your farm. To agriculture enthusiasts like yourself,
these powerful machines are even considered a necessity, in that
they help you accomplish so much more than you could otherwise. So,
what power range and tools will make, work easier on your small
farm? Your answers will depend upon the type and amount of
work you plan to do with your tractor. Be sure to consider
tasks that you want to accomplish in the future-you wouldn't want
to find yourself unable to do the later on down the road.
Consider the options by breaking down the chores that may be
breaking your back. If your main tasks involve some
landscaping, mowing several acres, and lifting light-duty loads,
then you will want to consider a compact utility tractor in the
24-35 HP range. Tractors with HP in this range will allow you
the freedom to do most of what you will need to do on 10 acres or
less. Ask the dealership how the condition of your land
(hills, soil texture, etc.) might affect your HP requirements.
Example of a 24-35 HP compact utility tractor.
Your compact utility tractor should have a 3-point hitch and
PTO-both will enable you to attach and operate implements, such as
a mower. Mid-mount and rear-mount mowing tools are available,
as well as material collection systems. A rotary cutter will
slice through thick grass, weeds, and some light brush. A
blade is another useful implement that will enable you level
surfaces and drag materials. A tractor in the 24-35 HP range
should also be perfect for tilling an acre or two. Mowers,
loaders, blades, and tillage tools are available for most utility
If you are planning to do heavier duty work, till three or four
acres, or mow 10 to 15 acres, consider a compact utility tractor
with 35 to 45 HP. You may prefer tools for crop management that do
not involve tillage, and such implements are available Front
or rear weights can prove to be a handy accessory for your tractor
if it needs additional stability while operating some
Example of a 35-45 HP compact utility tractor.
Other accessories to consider for your utility tractor are hood
guards, tire chains, tooth bars (attach them to edge of your
loader), toolboxes, front hitches, beacon lights, and cruise
control. You may be interested in a canopy or an umbrella to
protect you from harsh sun. Check with the dealer about
interior options such as arm rests, stereos, CD players, a horn,
Utility tractors are also available with a cab, which give you
the option of heat and air conditioning. This way, extreme
temperatures won't stop you from getting your work done. In
fact, with all of the accessories available, you may be making up
excuses to 'start 'er up' and get to work.
Example of an over 45 HP utility tractor.
If your farming needs will at some point include baling, and
cultivating more significant acreage than our earlier examples
describe, then you will want to look for a utility tractor with 45
HP or more. More strenuous work will require a more powerful
machine. Balers can produce square or round bales. Tractors fitting
into the "or more" HP category should have no problem operating
either type baler.
Example of a baler.
Some balers are equipped with gauge wheels. These help the
baler follow the ground with more precision, and lessen the
likelihood of damaged soil. Surface wrap is another baler
accessory that can lessen damage to bales, by providing them a
weather-resistant covering. A bale spear will prove useful for
hauling hay around the farm.
There are many other helpful implements that may be obtained for
your utility tractor. Some may be crucial to your farming
goals: fencing tools, manure spreaders, planters, seeders, grapple
buckets, and backhoes. Most implements come in different sizes
to work for your particular purposes.
Ask the dealer if it is possible to test out attachments on your
tractor before you buy them. This way, you'll get an idea of
how they'll handle when you really use them. Be sure to test
all of the features on the tractor and implements. Ask about the
maintenance of the equipment, including fuel requirements, when to
change fluids and filters, winterizing, etc. Such an
investment will require your being informed and prepared. Try to
purchase from a dealer who sells and services the equipment. This
will establish a relationship for your future needs.
Let's face it; some small farm owners just don't have enough
time to research options for tractors and their accessories.
If this describes your scenario, it would be wise to seek the
advice from farmers who have first-hand experience using the
equipment that interests you. You can learn a lot from those
who have found success-or failure-with a particular brand of
tractor or type of implement. Talk to your local dealer. The
majority of the time, they use their own equipment at home and can
provide helpful insight too. With any luck, you will be puttering
along with preparedness as your greatest implement.
Contibuted by Amanda Hawkins