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Texan in Ohio
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Hi,

We are in need of a tractor. Unfortunately we know nothing about tractors. What are somethings that we should or should not be looking for in a used tractor. We have about 40-50 acres we would like to use for hay. Also I would like to get some mobile chicken coops out in the pastures. Any advise will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you
 

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Shop for parts before you shop for a tractor. Meaning, can you find a (fill in the part name here) when your hay is cut and must get baled? Look around for what dealerships are around you.

After that, buy much more horsepower than you think you will need. If you buy a tractor big enough to pull a small square baler, then decide you want large round ones, you are now buying another tractor on top of the baler.

Stay away from the "hobby size" tractors. Go to auctions and you will see in many cases you can buy a 70-90 hp tractor for the same money as a much smaller unit. The reason is more people want to buy the smaller stuff, and the big farmers don't have to much use for the 70-90 range.

Get one with a three point hitch.

Get one with a loader. The loader might add $500 to the price, but it will be large money to buy after that fact to add on.
 

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Unlike cars tractors need parts to be sure they work. You can't get parts at auto-zone. Look for a dealer that services the tractors since you will have it worked on ocasionaly.


get a tractor with more hourspower than you need. You can do small jobs with a larger tractor but not a large job woith as underpowered one. Look at other farmers and see what thy have and try to get one that is popular (John Deer Case Kubota or something that is avalible in your area).
 

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Trav..I'm glad to hear your suggestion since I'm looking for a tractor in the 70 to 90 HP range myself. In your experience, whats the chance of finding one with low hrs, 4WD, and the shuttle shift that's so handy when using the front loader. Thanks for your input...Glen
 

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Trav..I'm glad to hear your suggestion since I'm looking for a tractor in the 70 to 90 HP range myself. In your experience, whats the chance of finding one with low hrs, 4WD, and the shuttle shift that's so handy when using the front loader. Thanks for your input...Glen
 

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quietstar said:
Trav..I'm glad to hear your suggestion since I'm looking for a tractor in the 70 to 90 HP range myself. In your experience, whats the chance of finding one with low hrs, 4WD, and the shuttle shift that's so handy when using the front loader. Thanks for your input...Glen
Find one should not be any problem.

Finding one in your area, in your price range, might be a bit harder.

If price is not an issue, there are quite a few lease returns you can look into. The internet allows you to shop coast to coast.

If price is an issue, it comes down to being at the right place at the right time.
 

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mwtslf23 said:
Hi,

We are in need of a tractor. Unfortunately we know nothing about tractors. What are somethings that we should or should not be looking for in a used tractor. We have about 40-50 acres we would like to use for hay. Also I would like to get some mobile chicken coops out in the pastures. Any advise will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you
40-50 acres is a pretty fair sized amount of hay to tackle with no experience. A tractor that big, 70-90 hp is another thing to tackle with no experience. I would find a mentor that might show you about his/her tractor and equipment. You'll need some equipment to go with the tractor to be able to work 40-50 acres of hay.
 

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Definitely get 4WD if you're going to have a front-end loader. You'll never regret it.

Also, it's not usually a problem on tractors of that size, but make sure that it has a live pto that works independently of the clutch, and draft control.
 

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a largish tractor that has 4wd and a loader is not the best choice for cutting or at least baling. we just bought a international 986 this spring had the air fixed and just love cutting and baling with a tractor with a cab on it. It has around 100 hp and parts are pretty easy to find if it breaks. It all depends on how much you have to spend?
 

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like my 23 hp kubota with front end loader but its too small to drag a bailer or large shredder.
definitely
with a front end loader (its a back saver)
with 4 wheel drive
big enough to use full sized equipment
close to repair place
get manuals at the same time and that includes it and the other equipment you buy
check the internet to learn what prices are out there and to see if anyone is complaining about a particular brand or model.

i go to auctions quite often and see some very good deals. the secret is to find out ahead of time who is selling one and talk to the owner and see if you can put it through its paces.
 

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Round bales or small square?

Grass hay, alfalfa, or mixed?

For 50 acres of hay in the humid east, where you cut 2-4 cuttings, you will get a lot of bales - lots! and need to move quick to beat the rains.

You want a good 70 hp tractor as mentioned, and probably a smaller one to run the tedder or hay rake or pull wagons or run the bale elevator or...... If you go large round baler, I'd want more power. If you go small square baling, you can get by with 50 hp, but that will make it a struggle.

I would _hate_ 4wd or a loader for baling small square bales. Wrecks the next crop. You don't want all that weight & traction on your hay. You really need live or independent pto for any baler to be productive.

On the other hand you might need the loader (quick-tach, so you can remove it & put it on quickly) depending on how you plan to handle all the bales.

I'll go into more detail, but tell us, round or square bales? No point explaining a whole bunch & you are going the other way.

If small square, you plan to use a basket, bale thrower, accumulator, NH bale wagon, or do you have 6 kids old enough to toss bales? :)

If round, you need a way to collect the bales - 3pt hitch or loader. On a big heavy tractor.

I bale 3000 square hay, 1000 square straw, and 40-60 large (5x6) round bales a year. From 18 acres of hay ground, road & drainage ditches, and oats stubble. And a few round cornstalk bales, which can be the most miserable thing I do.... The squares go through a NH 270 baler on a 35hp IH 300 tractor from thew 1950s into a bale basket. The round bales are done with an 85hp tractor & collected with a 3pt fork on the back of that tractor. I have calcium cloride on all 4 wheels of the 85 hp tractor to keep it stable with the loads on it.

There are many who do a lot more hay than me - but I have a bit of experience with both, and use older equipment.

--->Paul
 

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70-80 hp is a useful machine, I avoid turbo chargers, and hydrostatic trannies, (although the TA, Dual Power, Multipower etc are OK) I use the Ford 6710 on the round baler (NH 849) and it's fine with 72 hp, more hp wouldn't hurt but its not missing either. Definately don't buy an orphan there's no dealer support for. Do consider things like tires (they are expensive) and those 4x4's have extra costs. I personally live without it rolling over 200 acres of hay ground. My loader tractor just has 10.00 16 fronts and its fine. Keep it simple
 

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I agree with you Ross, a real farm tractor does not need 4wd.

The little compact tractors _do_ because they are built so light, & short wheel base, they have more power than traction by a large amount.

Not so with a real farm tractor. It makes for a very spendy & complex machine. You need 4wd if you get to around 200 hp - then it gets hard to get all the power to the ground on one axle. I would avoid 4wd if possible.

Got 4wd on my NH 1720 & wouldn't be without it - but that is a little compact.... The other 6 'real' tractors have no need for it, from 35 to 140 hp.

--->Paul
 

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another option???

rent the pasture out, right now you could get top dollar, if hay quality is good, and have them leave several rolls or bales for you, as you recieve your payments hide em in the cookie jar and wait until the end of the lease, once that happens there is your money for the tractor in hand, also while the guys are leasing it from you, it might be possible to learn from them how to properly operate such a machine, it benefits you two stages, and then you can make a really informed decision on the equipment you want.


just an option too, but speaking from experience I bought a hobby tractor 25 horsepower and decent implements but I need something bigger. I wished I had this advise sooner about the 90 hp range,
 

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Mwtslf23/Quietstar,

Just like to add here that, if one is available in your area, it's a good idea to enroll in a course on tractor maintenance, handling and safety. There have been any number of accidents, including fatalities, that have happened because the operator was unaware of some of the things that can go wrong. The time and money spent doing such a course could save you a heap more time and a power of grief later on.
BTW, the same goes for chainsaws.

Shin
 

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Texan in Ohio
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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you all for your responses. I will take into consideration everything I have read. we probably will not be doing hay for another 2 years, but i do want something that I can knock everything down.
 

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Farmall M on up.

The older Farmalls (40s and 50s) are good tractors for the money (generally 1000-3500 dollars) parts are still plentiful, have live hydraulics and are very forgiving.

If you have hills, buy one with a wide front end for safety and stability.

If you buy a Ford 8n or 9n, be aware that they really weren't made for front end loaders, so if you decide you need one later (and you will) that would be a factor.

Older Deere's will cost more because they are collector's items, but they are good tractors.

I have a friend who loves his 50s Allis-Chalmers D-17. My grandfather bought only Allis-Chalmers from the 50s on. I have a Farmall 400 and I think it has more power than the D-17 though.

If you consider a newer Chinese tractor, make sure parts/repair is available.

The small compact tractors are nice, but they are very expensive. I'd rather buy an older tractor with more power. Here in Iowa, farmers have little use for machines in the 40-70hp range so if they aren't collectible, you can get one for a song.

In Iowa, a Farmall M will cost between 1000 and 2000 dollars. Add 500-1000 for a used aftermarket 3-point hitch and the same for an older front end loader.

If you buy an older tractor, check the hydraulics. The tractor can often run fine without the hydraulics working. If you get it home and find out the hydraulic pump is bad, you will pay at least 500 dollars to fix it.

Read books, and do research. It will pay off.
 

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mwtslf23 said:
Thank you all for your responses. I will take into consideration everything I have read. we probably will not be doing hay for another 2 years, but i do want something that I can knock everything down.
Just something to add. My 21 hp John deere B will knock anything down I need it to. Its just very slow. Cutting thick grass at 1.5-2.5 mph gets old sometimes (but then again, the thinner stuff goes faster). The B will also pull my square baler in a pinch (slowly).

Now, having said that, I have a 50hp tractor I use for loader and baling work, but you may find just starting out a smaller older tractor might be right up your alley. I use a farmall super c and the JDB for raking, mowing, cultivation and disking work. maybe some plowing too. In a pinch, I could hook up my baler to either one of these and get the job done. I bought the Super C with a three point hitch for $1800 earlier this year. No live PTO or power steering, but the darn thing just keeps on working and working. Just like the 57 y/o Deere.

If you wanted to get started, an old tractor might be right up your alley. Then if you need more, buy a bigger one later. I use all three of mine quite a bit. It never hurts to have a spare one around if a big breakdown occurs
 

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I would look here, amongst other places to get an idea of prices, etc:

Photo tractor ads

I have an 8N but if I were to make the step up in size I would look for an old Oliver 88, 77, 770 or 880. Farmall M is nice too.

If your land is hilly then a wide-front is nearly a must for safety. 4WD is not a necessity in a heavier tractor, but that also depends on your conditions, but certainly not for making hay as you said.

As for me, I am partial to antique iron.
 

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I had really good luck with a Massey 165, and it was used to run a hay baler before I bought it. I put a FIL on it, and even though it was rear wheel drive, I still got good traction when doing loader work. A 4x4 tractor is better for loader work, however. My brother bought this tractor from me and still uses it regularly. It's about 60 horsepower (I think), which makes it a little smaller than what is being recommended above. Getting parts (which was rare) or repairs done was not a big problem or expense. Good luck in whatever you choose to do.

Edited to add: It was miserly in its fuel usage too.
 
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