When we first bought our new property in 2012 we also quickly bought a new tractor so that we could start working on the farm. We got a New Holland TT75. Mostly because we knew a friend had the same model (although on a very different farm) and because there was a good finance deal at the time (2% interest over 3 years).
We found out pretty quickly that it was not the right tractor for our farm. We had purchased several ploughs from the previous owner of the property and had been told to get a 100 HP tractor to pull these, but we only got the 75 HP and it did only pull one of the ploughs (why don't we listen to advice?!). It was supposed to lift 1 tonne, but we were not comfortable doing this as the tractor felt very unstable, this made it difficult to unload fertiliser and seed from the ute. Overall it was just a bit smaller than what we really needed.
The reason we bought a new tractor was discussed back here, essentially, we knew that we would not be at the farm full time for a few years and that we would need the tractor to start and work first time every time. I thought we had a better chance of that with a new tractor. We did have some issues with a sensor switch that only let you start the tractor if it was in neutral (sometimes the switch didn't work and it wouldn't start, so we had to get that replaced) and the battery went flat pretty early, however it was generally reliable.
Even though we knew early on that the tractor was too small, it wasn't a huge priority to replace it because it was ok for most jobs. It wasn't until we decided that we wanted to use a Yeoman's plough to improve our pasture that we really had to reassess the tractor. A 75 HP tractor will struggle to pull a Yeoman's plough and we wanted to do a good job, so we weighed up the decision using the Holistic Management tools and upgrading the tractor was the right thing to do.
Then came more decisions. Should we buy new or secondhand? Should we keep two tractors or trade in the TT75?
While two tractors would be good for flexibility (you can leave different implements attached), it would double maintenance and storage requirements. However, if we bought secondhand, we would still have the question over reliability of the machine, so it would be nice to have at least one reliable tractor. We decided to look at secondhand options and buy a second tractor if we could find something suitable, otherwise trade in the TT75 for a new tractor.
Pete had a really good look at secondhand options for several months and there was nothing in our area, and nothing worth transporting. I think the secondhand tractor market is pretty slow because most people just keep the old tractor, without thinking about the extra costs involved with keeping it.
Eventually we went to our local dealer and checked out their range of Massey Fergusons. We had not bought local previously and regretted that as we could not get good service when we had maintenance questions. Our local dealer has a very good reputation and took a lot of time to explain all our options and give use what we needed.
We were difficult and requested no cab. Most larger tractors come with an air conditioned cab. We don't like cabs because they just increase the disconnection between the farmer and the land/air/weather. From reading the manual of our new tractor, it seems like the main purpose of the cab is to protect you from all the chemicals you're spraying out the back of your tractor. That should not be an issue for us. A cab does reduce noise and dust exposure, so you do need to make sure you wear hearing protection when operation a tractor without a cab.
So far we are very happy with the new tractor. It is able to pull all the ploughs, it can easliy lift 1 tonne, it can more dirt and gravel more easily, it is more stable, it has shuttle shift (forward/reverse, no more jamming gears) and it is mush easier to change implements because it is more adjustable at the three-point linkage.
Yes we made a loss on the old tractor, but tractors are like cars, they do not increase in value. It does not make sense to keep something just because you don't want to "make a loss", we still saved money on the new tractor because we traded in the old one, and we don't have to maintain, store or insure the old one anymore. Overall it is a cost saving in my view.
You can read more about when we bought a secondhand 17 HP Kubota tractor to use at Eight Acres and our reasons for buying the TT75 at the time.
Have you bought a tractor? Or decided not to even? What did you consider in your decision?