Which tractors do you need on your farm?
A tractor is a farmer's best friend, providing the speed, horsepower, and ease of use needed to run even the smallest hobby farm. Tractors come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and each has its own particular use. The best tractor for you should be chosen based on a few simple considerations, including what type of work you want the tractor to do, how much space you have to use and store it, and most importantly, your budget.
For a smaller farm, you may want to consider shopping around for used tractors or looking into the costs of tractor rental. Tractor rental is especially convenient if you don't have the space to store your machinery when it's not in use.
Compact tractors are probably the most useful tools for any farmer, regardless of the size of your operation. They provide the extra strength and versatility that any farmer needs for daily chores such as caring for the grounds and animals. Compact tractors include smaller machinery such as skid steers or even lawn tractors.
Smaller tractors are typically fairly easy to operate, and small enough to store in a shed yet strong enough to carry a heavy load. They can do anything from mowing your lawn to spreading manure. Combined with a tractor loader or other tractor attachments specially designed for smaller machinery, compact tractors can do a lot of the work of the larger machines, without the cost or need for space.
One of the best places to shop for a tractor, whether it's compact or full-sized, is the tractor auction. There are many different types of auctions you can attend, and most are locally advertised. Keep your eye on the local farm magazine or paper, or be sure to stay in contact with other farmers around you who may have heard of auctions through word-of-mouth.
You may find an auction at a local farm machinery dealership, especially around the spring and fall, or at other farms. The great thing about an auction is that you have the chance to really save some cash on all the machinery you need. However, keep in mind how much the machinery is worth, since you may find another farmer looking at the same piece, and a bidding war can jack the price up far beyond what you would pay off the showroom floor.