Price is not the only fac­tor

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Tractor Buying Guide 2018 - By DARON JACKS

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.

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