Top 10 Things To Consider When Buying A Tractor

Looking for new equipment? Here’s your guide to getting the most bang—and power—for your buck.

By Oscar H. Will III

“Most new acreage owners know the size of their land and that they will need larger equipment than they’ve ever owned,” says Doug Vahrenberg, Massey Ferguson® dealer and owner of Vahrenberg Implement, Inc., in Higginsville, Missouri. “What they don’t know is how big that tractor needs to be and what it needs in the way of implements to get various jobs done. The dealer is the customer’s best resource to ensure he or she gets the right machine and support for that machine.”

Taking that new machinery plunge can be daunting, but if you find a trusted dealer, you are more than halfway to finding an effective solution that will serve you well into the future. Still, for the best buying experience, advise the experts, first do a little homework. “Having an exhaustive list of the applications in which the tractor will be used is a critical first step,” says Jeffrey Ratliff, tactical marketing manager at Massey Ferguson. “With this information, the dealer can then guide the customer on both tractor and implement size.”

  1. How much acreage will you work, and in what types of operations will you need a tractor? These can include yard and/or field mowing, garden tilling, material moving, haying, snow removal, grading, etc.
  2. What is the priority of the tasks in which you wish to engage? For instance, is road grading more important than field mowing? Determining priorities will help whittle down your initial implement purchase list. It will also help your dealer make recommendations on horsepower range, hydraulic capacity and lift capacity to suit your needs.
  3. What is your financial comfort zone? Or, perhaps, another way of looking at this question is to consider what you’re willing to pay as a monthly note. Overall, expect to spend more than $20,000.
  4. Do you anticipate needing the diverse functionality of a loader mounted to the front of your tractor? This will help determine whether you need 4-wheel drive and the hydraulic capacity you require.
  5. What is the smallest area through which you’ll need to navigate your tractor? You might not want to rebuild fences or move buildings to get a larger machine where it needs to go.
  6. Do you need an automatic-like transmission, or are you fine with clutching and shifting? The dealer will take this into consideration when making a recommendation.
  7. How important are heating and air conditioning? Cabs add expense, but also allow you to work harder and longer in any season, in more comfort.
  8. What’s the general reputation of the brand(s) your dealer offers? Also, consider that warranty terms aren’t always an indication of quality. In other words, brands with a longer warranty may not offer the most reliable equipment.
  9. Who among your local dealers is known for the best service? Never underestimate the value of a great dealer nearby that offers a trusted equipment brand and can help solve a problem quickly … or reach you in the field to get you back up and running.
  10. Have you tested out the tractors you’re considering? Ride and decide. Make sure you sit in the seat or, better yet, take it for a drive to make sure the tractor fits you and your needs.