Price is not the only factor
ARELIABLE tractor is the core piece of equipment on any farm and when buying a new tractor it’s important to ensure you set some criteria to ensure your new machine is the right one.
The market is abundant with machines from the most basic workhorses to the high-horsepower hi-tech monsters, but the key is to find one that best suits your needs and budget.
The first step is to determine what you need your tractor for and what type will work best. Things to consider include terrain, farm size and the activities you’ll be using it for.
If you’re working on a small property to dig, move dirt, silage, feed, or carry large items around your property then there are many smaller horsepower tractors with optional implements available that won’t break the bank.
Horticulture and vineyard workers needing to drive down rows will need a compact machine with high horsepower to run the big horsepower-hungry sprayers.
And contractors or broadacre farmers, who tow some serious steel, need to splash out on the high-horsepower to save on running costs, let alone to get the job done.
“You might have someone who’s doing lots of loader work looking for a substantial front axle, a long wheel base and a safe operating load if they’re handling stuff like round-bale silage,” says Mark Crakanthorp, New Holland product manager for tractors under 100hp.
“Up to that 115hp, you’re looking at powershuttle transmission that makes that easy forward-and-reverse function, and less wear and tear than a dry clutch.
“In the fast-growing markets, like the under 140hp market, the manufacturers are scrambling to fill every conceivable niche in there.”
By their very design tractors are made to be robust and reliable and operated for many hours.
That’s reflected in their resale value and you’ll always get a better deal trading back your own brand when upgrading.
Buy wisely and there might not be a steep drop in resale value later.
Fendt tractors carry a high price tag, but then a high-quality product is expected and delivered with it, which later transfers to resale value.
Fendt product manager Donny Cloney says the operational costs of owning a Fendt, such as fuel consumption, servicing, and integrated technology, make it a worthy investment.
“The way we look at it with the Fendt is, because it comes with a premium price tag, that over the four to five years, how much it actually costs you to run the machine and resell it (justifies the price),” Mr Cloney says.
“So if you factor that in with the fuel savings and vario transmission, it works out not much more than other tractors, and you’re getting reliability and quality.”
Comfort is also crucial. If you’re going to spend hours in the cabin you don’t want to end the day feeling as though you’ve played a game of footy. And ergonomics have come a long way, as has technology.
“We get a lot of operators who spend a lot of hours in it — we sell a lot of machines to contractors — and they’re wanting the air-cab suspension so in bad conditions you can work at a higher speed and you’re not in a lot of pain at the end of the day,” Mr Cloney says.
“In smaller tractors more people want steer-ready tractors, they want guidance in the tractor down to 120hp tractors. It’s getting very common now. Years ago it was popular with the broadacre guys.”
But do you really need all those bells and whistles? In fact, do you need a new tractor at all? Might a used model be just as good and reliable while saving you heaps of money?
There are certainly many great used options available. The biggest advantage is that they’re cheaper.
Whether new or used, there are always risks and uncertainties, yet good research and knowing your own needs can improve the odds, but a new tractor comes with dealer warranty that generally covers labour costs on claims, giving peace of mind.
Locality of your dealer and the time to get new parts or the machine serviced will also have a bearing on your decision.
Ultimately, it pays to do your homework and know what you need and can afford before handing over your hard-earned.
INVEST TIME Doing your homework and knowing what you want within your budget is crucial when buying a new tractor.