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How To Buy The Right Tractor: Tips From A Tractor Addict (Part 2)

Author: Jeff Gentry

September 2, 2019

Now that you know the value a tractor can bring to your property, the next step is finding the right tractor for your needs, which means you need a good dealership.

I knew a Mahindra dealer near my place of residence, so I initially bought a Mahindra 55 HP tractor with cab and front-end loader. A couple years later, a buddy called and wanted to buy it, so I sold it to him. The primary reason I sold that tractor was that my farm was 90 miles from the dealer.

That brings me to what I feel is the most important aspect of buying and owning a tractor…

Find A Good Tractor Dealer Close Bybuying a tractor

Even if you have to pay a little more, buying from a dealer close to your farm that has a good, reliable service department is a lifesaver when it comes to keeping your tractor maintained.

My Mahindra dealer was good, but it was simply too far away for my needs. My current tractor dealer will come to me and service my tractor on-site or pick it up to take it in for major service if needed, and the value of that convenience cannot be overstated.

Understand Your Tractor Will Need Regular Maintenance

No tractor is perfect. Expect to do a lot of maintenance on your tractors and know that the color, model or brand won’t spare you from this reality. All of my new tractors have had to go back to the shop for service at some point early on.

The importance of the dealer and their service department is tops on my list, not to mention having the dealer’s parts department close by for replacement parts. Trust me – if you are using your equipment, you will break something.

Know What You Need in A Tractor Before Buying

Before you buy a tractor for your land, you will need to know what you will be using it for. Take my purchasing experience as an example:

Having sold the Mahindra, I was falling behind on farm maintenance and upkeep. I had to start tractor shopping close to my farm and had to decide if I would buy used or new. In my experience, I have found well-maintained used equipment really holds it value.

New Holland, Case, and John Deere were the only dealers within 30 minutes of my farm. I searched all brands major and minor and chose a John Deere from a dealer less than 20 minutes away.

After having a cabbed tractor initially, I thought I still needed a cab to handle the Missouri humidity, allergy season, debris, and potential bees or other flying creatures. After plenty of research, I bought a JD 5085E with cab and mechanical front-wheel drive. While it didn’t have a front-end loader initially, it was equipped to add the loader with a simple hookup.

My Mahindra had the front-end loader and I thought it was too long at the time to mow with. I wanted the option to add a loader later if needed but thought this tractor would be used primarily for mowing and pulling farm implements, so I held off on the loader.

The 5085 is a great, comfortable tractor, but with a cab it’s just too tall to navigate in some tight areas under trees and down around the creeks. I use a 7-foot cutter on this tractor, and the power reverse transmission is a very useful feature.

I love driving it and use it to put in field edges and for food plot work. I mow the pond and top field edges with it in July and August since it’s nice to have a cab with air conditioning and to keep the dust off me in those hot months. I really don’t need 85 horsepower (HP) for what I do but love having it.

A second tractor – To help pick up the slack where the 5085 falls short, I chose a JD 4044R with:

  • A front-end loader
  • 44 HP
  • Hydrostatic transmission
  • Mechanical front wheel drive
  • An open platform (no cab)
  • 6-foot cutter

Get the Right Equipment for Your Tractor

If you are going to have only one tractor, I suggest you get a front-end loader. You will use it a lot for a variety of tasks, such as:

  • Unloading new equipment when delivered
  • Moving gear to the storage area or shed
  • Pushing downed trees off the trail or road
  • Carrying bagged fertilizer or lime to food plots
  • Pushing back brush
  • A big wheel barrel when cleaning rocks and logs out of a new food plot

The type of tractor you own will also determine the cost of supplemental equipment for them. The 4044 three point is Category 1, while the 5085 is Category 2. Implements are less expensive for the 4044, and it is so maneuverable it has become my No. 1 go-to tractor.

Be sure to add a quick hitch to your tractor and be sure your implements are quick hitch compatible. I have quick hitches on both tractors, which makes hooking up implements an easier task.

If I were to pick one tractor to own, I would go with the 4044R or similar size tractor depending on your favorite color and best dealer that is close to you. I would opt for a front-end loader and iMatch/quick hitch, hydrostatic transmission and the mechanical front wheel drive is a must for farm terrain.

Equipment I use frequently on my tractors includes:

  • Front-end loader
  • Mower/cutter
  • 8’ disk
  • Pallet forks
  • 3-point chain harrow

By making a list of equipment and features you need to get the job done on your farm, you can be much more efficient while saving yourself a lot of money in the long run.

Every recreational land or farmland owner needs to keep their property in good shape for maximum use and benefit. Land maintenance calls for a tractor with the right attachments and finding a great dealer in close proximity is critical.

It’s important to me to get things done safely, quickly and efficiently. The right tractor with the right equipment lets me do just that.  It allows me more time with my family or the opportunity to sit on the porch watching the deer eat my cash crop in the front field while I ponder what implement I should buy next.

Looking for a Farm or Recreational Property?
Contact Land Specialist, Jeff Gentry at Trophy Properties Today