Looking to buy a tractor; on a budget - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-21-2016, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Columbia, MO
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Looking to buy a tractor; on a budget

Total newbie here. Come next March 1 I will have 13 acres of neglected pasture (on the 20-acre parcel we are buying) to rehab - I'll be cutting down the locust trees and brushhogging and mowing. Obviously I am going to need a tractor.

I am used to shopping on the internet - in the past for cars - so I have the process down. But I could use your thoughts on my thoughts. I have been on TractorHouse looking at tractors in 2 categories: before ROPS and after ROPS. My wife insists on ROPS (which I think makes sense too); also she wants the tractor to be red. I want it to have a loader when I buy it and have between 40 and 99 horsepower.

Given all of that, it looks to me like I'll be spending a minimum of $8,000 (I'm only looking at used, I do not have the funds for new). Given the red specification, it looks like I'll be buying an International, a Massey-Ferguson or a Mahindra.

So ... thoughts? Musts? Things to avoid absolutely? Thanks in advance for sharing your experience.

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post #2 of 10 Old 11-21-2016, 06:05 PM
Join Date: Jul 2016
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Just like buying a horse don't buy a tractor because of the color. Figure out what good dealers you have close by and limit your search to those brands. Sooner or later you'll need parts or service. Buying at a local dealer may get you some warranty. Auction or distant dealer probably not. Retirement or estate auctions are usually ok. Consignment auctions often have stuff there because there is a problem.
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-22-2016, 08:21 AM
Green Broke
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You don't buy a tractor based on color....
You buy a tractor based upon the work you need doing, the size of the land the tractor will be working and any implements you will be using on that tractor so working your land quickly, efficiently and safely is reached without grief.

As for ROP...yes!
If no ROP, then a enclosed cab and I would strongly suggest A/C.
A roof that attaches to the ROP as it gets darn hot baking under the sun.
4 wheel drive to me is a must... ground gets slick and you get stuck.
Make sure it has a working rear pto if you buy used and older bucket loader as I have seen many that do not have rear pto if they had a bucket and if no bucket it has a rear pto...few with both!

It is a personal choice of the kind of transmission you get...
A bucket loader can always be installed at a later date if you buy a tractor with that capability.

Don't toss out the idea of a new tractor either.
They are more affordable than you think.
There are "package deals" from all the manufacturers available.
Many of those packages are tractor with loader, bush-hog, box-blade and trailer... With low or "0" percent financing, or paying cash....you might be surprised how affordable new is.

So, a quick look on your local craigslist {farm & garden section} shows many tractors for sale fitting your wants list...
I saw quite a few mentions of new tractors in the brands you mentioned at dealers...
I saw so many farm equipment dealers with row upon row of equipment for sale...
Dealer bought gives you some warranty period after purchase...
Ford 3910 Diesel Tractor with Ford 7209 Loader
2012 New Holland TS6.125 Tractor

Do remember though used tractors are used, and some have not had good maintenance or are having issues that you will not be told about if you purchase privately but you will discover when you go to use the tractor.
Not all equipment sold is problematic, but you need to realize it was used and issues could be there that could be costly to deal with.

I can tell you I have a Kubota tractor. I bought it new.
33 hp, 4x4, bucketloader, hydrostatic transmission {love it!}...diesel engine. Bush hog, box blade, post hole digger...so far "the toys" it works with.
I have 12 acres and my neighbor has another 10 that it is used on.
The thing is a workhorse but easy on fuel consumption. So far nothing I have put to it has it labored doing the task...
Today they are the only tractor manufactured & parts made in the USA....
No longer are any other brands did I find made here...all are shipped in from overseas...including John Deere! Even the Deere line has now sold out and all are made overseas...
That is something to consider when you buy a used tractor of where do replacement parts come from and how long for them to get to you if you break something not stocked at the tractor dealer...
Can you afford to lose your tractor for potentially months waiting for the part to be shipped on a container ship from overseas..
That is not something many consider, but it is a fact of owning a hard-working tractor...things wear out and break or need fixing and maintaining.

So as for color....buy a can of red paint if your wife is so set on a color....
Buy a tractor that is the right size for the farm and your needs...not to big and not to small.
To big and you truly can't utilize the work capabilities and to small and you are forever under-powered and frustrated.
You also can buy your implements from places like Tractor Supply, Rural King and all of your local farm supply stores new or carefully buy used with a watch for needed maintenance or failure happening.
Make sure you match your PTO category of tractor to implement too...

Here is a couple articles and blog that give insight on where and why to buy certain tractors sizes..
Tractor Talk: A Rookie's Guide to Buying a Tractor | EQUUS Magazine
Selecting a Tractor for the Small Farm | Cornell Small Farms Program
30 acre farm. What tractor system do I need?

My parting words would be to talk to your area farmers, horse property owners and have a discussion with the local farm supply store and or feed store owner.
Those people are a wealth of information for your area and what tractors may be available to buy in good condition at a pittance....they can also keep you away from the garbage you not want.

Best of luck in your search.
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-22-2016, 12:09 PM
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I agree that you should not buy a tractor on "color." At the same time, tractor color pretty much denotes the brand these days. You can't go too wrong with any of the three brands you have listed.

More important (as RMH mentioned) is dealer accessibility. If you get a Massey but only have John Deere dealers nearby, you might wish you had gone green. Repairs, parts, knowledge... having a local source is, IMO, one of the most important considerations when purchasing a tractor.

On ROPS... you don't need it - until you need it. And then you REALLY need it. :) I only bought my first tractor a little over a year ago. Haven't need the ROPS yet, but I am very glad it is there. These things do seem like they can tip easier than most other vehicles I have owned.
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Last edited by Tazmanian Devil; 11-22-2016 at 12:18 PM.
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-22-2016, 07:28 PM
Green Broke
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I think you can spend a bit less and still get what you need...

I've got a Massey Ferguson 135...70 model.....diesel.....and paid significantly less....

ROPS.....IMO, in most cases, it's just in the way.....especially if you've got trees......

$8000 should be plenty IMO....also, IMO, it's better to be a little to big, than a little to small....

Really, it comes down to time.....a larger tractor can pull larger equipment.......go from a 5 foot bushog to a 10 foot and cut your mowing time in half.....
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-01-2016, 03:35 PM
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Agree, don't buy on color. I can tell you my story.
I have about 35 acres in pasture. Horses keep most of it cut down. I own an older Iseki tractor. Blue and older. It is about 32 to 38 hp, depending on where you look it up. I have owned the tractor for over 20 years. No issues at all. I wish I had a front end loader and 4 wheel drive. I have 5 ft. box blade, mower, spreader, boom pole, rock rack, and hay spear. Would I like more, yes. Do I have to have it, no. $5000 and no break downs for 20+ years. My son just brought a new Mahindra 26hp with FEL. It will do a lot and get into places. Burn very little fuel. It will still pick up a 800 lb roll of hay. His tractor is less than a year old and I can order parts and filters as fast as the local dealer can order them for him. If you want to count a local dealer as a plus, make sure that he stocks parts. The local Mahindra dealer here does not even stock oil filters for the tractors that they sell.

Don't get in too big of a hurry. And remember that if sounds like too good of a deal to be true, it Might not be.
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-05-2016, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Columbia, MO
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Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies. I promise I'm not planning to buy a tractor just because it's red, but among the tractors that meet my needs and are in my budget, red ones go to the front of the line. Plus in my price range red generally equals Massey Ferguson or Case IH or International, and those are some pretty good tractors.

I'm on hold right now probably until after the first of the year, but when I buy I'll report here. In the meantime, any experiences with tractors, rotary cutters, loaders, hydraulics in general, post-hole diggers, are very helpful to me.

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post #8 of 10 Old 12-06-2016, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by showme1946 View Post
Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies. I promise I'm not planning to buy a tractor just because it's red, but among the tractors that meet my needs and are in my budget, red ones go to the front of the line. Plus in my price range red generally equals Massey Ferguson or Case IH or International, and those are some pretty good tractors.

I'm on hold right now probably until after the first of the year, but when I buy I'll report here. In the meantime, any experiences with tractors, rotary cutters, loaders, hydraulics in general, post-hole diggers, are very helpful to me.

start watching your local newspaper and "Penny Saver" type rags for farm auctions and farm estate auctions. One of our local banks also keeps a table in their foyer with stacks of flyers for upcoming auctions.

We bought our 1969 Ford 3000 (diesel, 2WD) at an estate auction, in 2003. We are second owners on that tractor. It was kept in a machine shed all its life and in excellent condition. While 4-WD would have been nice, we don't really need it with that old girl. My husband fixes 98% of what goes wrong. We did have to haul her to a tractor guy to put re-man hydraulic pump on and that wasn't cheap but it was still worth the investment.

The tractor continues to reside inside and is still worth as much or more than we paid for it 13 years ago.

As far as post hole diggers --- we have 23+ acres that was already perimeter fenced but we did a lot of cross-fencing and putting farm gates in. It was cheaper for us to rent an auger as opposed to buy one.

What size bush hog you buy depends on the size and horsepower of the tractor you end up with. Our Ford 3000 can safely handle a six foot bush hog. Which, that is all "Old Bess" does -- bushog.

We also have a 2005 John Deere 4110, 4WD with a belly (finish) mower and a FEL. It gets used all the time but is way too small to bushog this entire property, especially given the terrain.

As far as a roll bar -- both our tractors came with them from the factory. Not having them weren't deal breakers by any means. My goal was to buy two tractors that were well maintenanced, would get the job done, and were swinging deals, lol
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-10-2016, 10:47 PM
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Beavercreek, OR
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I bought a 55 horse power Case IH Farmall the 2014 model....my only suggestion is to buy as many horse power as you can afford. The only thing I wish I had done (and still may) is have the tires filled so the tractor weighs more....that will allow you to lift heavier loads.
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-11-2016, 09:04 AM
Green Broke
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Recently we bought our own post hole digger with a 9" auger from Tractor Supply.
Their brand....
We easily with our soil can dig 4' deep holes with our tractor and this attachment....
As it is primarily sandy soil we dig quickly....
One of the best "tips" and advice given us is use no elevated rpms but idle speed to have better control of the quality of hole dug and not to bury the auger...then you hand dig it back out {we have not buried ours yet and took advice seriously}
We bought extra shear bolts {cheap} just in case we hit roots or rock and broke a bolt...of course having them on hand we so far have not had to use them!
So, there are many brands and many costs depending upon what and where you buy your attachments, regardless of what attachment it is you buy.
Used for some is also a excellent buy and great savings....buy carefully though.
So, Tractor Supply does "coupon" sales....get on their mailing list {free and email not sold} so you get those emailed sales and coupons sent to you.
Also check around to their own other area stores...prices can and do vary depending upon what other stores can be in the region they compete with...
They can price match as can Rural King item for item....only need to ask!
I have no idea what it would cost to rent implements, but at the price we paid, and we have never seen a tractor mount post hole digger for rent...entire tractor and digger yes, but at hundreds a day and having our own tractor already not a added expense I was willing to pay.

So, our post hole digger and auger with tax was less than $500.00 and I have it available when ever we need it for any type of project....interesting what you can do with a auger and imagination around a farm.
Saves my back and we already dug 150 post holes in about 2 hours...quite a savings of time and my energy and sweat.
Just drove the tractor along the marked fence line, sunk the holes then followed with the truck and tipped a post into every hole....Hanging fence, that takes the time.

Remember that items bought at a auction are "as is".....usually.
We have seen working and non-working equipment sold.
No guarantee of working condition given by the auction company I went to so some risk...
A post hole digger by me went for $200.00 with a missing driveshaft and bent auger....a waste.
I bought a new complete item what it cost the guy to replace those parts and still have a used, possibly abused piece of equipment and no warranty from manufacturer....beware!

Enjoy your search.....search carefully.
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