Tractor Roundup

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It might seem that winter may never end, but spring really isn’t that far away. So, when cold, snow and ice keep you inside, make plans for the spring and decide what equipment you’ll need to make improvements to your farm and keep everything running in top shape.

Tractors can help you with many tasks: seeding, mowing and spraying your pastures, dragging the arena, moving round bales, cleaning manure out of your pastures, spreading composted manure, moving snow and digging trenches and fence post holes. The uses for a tractor and its implements are so numerous that it is amazing any farm operates without one.

When deciding what type of tractor to buy, consider the following:

  • What are your routine tasks? Different implements require different horsepower, PTO, hydraulic and hitch-attachment needs.
  • Are there a few tasks you do only once or twice a season? If so, and they require a larger tractor than your other, routine tasks, it is probably more cost-effective to buy a smaller, less-expensive tractor and hire someone for the rare occasions when you need a bigger tractor.
  • How comfortable are you operating a tractor? Manufacturers are now selling sub-compact and compact tractors that ride and drive much more like an automobile for those less-experienced tractor operators.
  • What type of land do you have? For flat land and moving lightweight loads, a 2-wheel-drive tractor may work fine. But the heavier the items you are moving and the hillier your land, the more important 4-wheel-drive will be.

Here’s a look at what four major tractor suppliers are offering.

John Deere

For the smaller farm, John Deere offers a new line of subcompact tractors that include iMatch and AutoHitch compatible implements to make changing implements easier, mower decks with AutoConnect position control three-point hitch, and more comfortable operator stations. These tractors offer increased stability, 4-wheel drive, and Roll-Guard rollover protection for better safety. They also improve rider comfort via adjustable seats and power steering.

For larger farms, John Deere recommends a 3000 or 4000 Series tractor. Both tractors offer 4-wheel drive and ASAE and OSHA certified rollover protection. They also include LoadMatch, which keeps the tractor from stalling with a heavy load, and offer open or closed cab models. Closed cabs offer air conditioning and heating.

John Deere — Specifications and photos.

Kubota

The Kubota L Series tractors are designed for small farms and horse operations. The L4600 is the newest model in this series and has been completely reengineered to offer more power and a smoother ride.

Kubota — Specifications and photos.

Massey Ferguson

Massey Ferguson offers the 1600 Series (MF1600) of compact tractors which includes six models that are perfect for horse farms. The MF1600 series includes Iseki liquid-cooled diesel engines that meet Tier IV interim emission standards, 4-wheel drive and an array of transmission options, classic 3-point hitch patented by Harry Ferguson in 1926, and rear and optional mid-PTOs that can operate either independently or simultaneously.

Massey Ferguson — Specifications and photos.

New Holland

New Holland offers tractors for every horse operation, and in May 2011 announced that its line of Boomer tractors will include a five-year limited warranty. The Boomer line offers the option of hydrostatic transmission (HST) or synchronized shuttle shift (SSS), and the HST models come with cruise control.

New Holland — Specifications and photos.

For More Information

Deere & Company World Headquarters

One John Deere Place?Moline, IL 61265

?www.deere.com

Kubota Tractor Corporation ?

3401 Del Amo Blvd ?

Torrance, CA 90503?

1-888-458-2682

?www.kubota.com/

Massey Ferguson?

AGCO?

4205 River Green Parkway?

Duluth, GA 30096

?1-877-525-4384

?www.masseyferguson.us/

New Holland Agriculture?

c/o CNH America LLC?

621 State Street?

Racine, WI 53402

?1-866-NEW-HLND / 866-639-4563?

www.newholland.com/na