Written by Jonathan Reed, Editor
April 16, 2019
When you live in the country, you might not envision yourself needing a compact tractor. However, the uses for a compact tractor are endless, and you would be surprised at all the tasks a compact tractor can help you accomplish!
Tractor operation is not as easy as it looks. It requires both physical and mental effort for steering, shifting gears and depressing the clutch, and operating a tractor over uneven ground takes careful attention. Of course, safety is of the utmost importance when operating a tractor.
Owning a small acreage is a lot of work. Mowing, moving snow, landscaping, gardening, and baling hay—there is always something to do. Owning a compact tractor will enable you to tackle bigger projects that you might not otherwise be able to handle and make labor-intensive tasks go much faster than doing everything by hand. Compact tractors are built to perform on rough terrain while still providing an impressive amount of horsepower to get the job done.
Buying a compact tractor is not like buying a car—the make, model, year, and mileage are not nearly as important as other factors. Luxury features are nice, but remember that they will add to the cost.
Consider the size of your property, the terrain, your management practices, and what jobs you will need the tractor to do. Based on what you want to do, how much horsepower will you need? How much tractor can you handle? What implements or other equipment will the compact tractor use?
Get to know your local farm equipment dealers. Their trained sales personnel can help you identify which compact tractors will be the best fit for your needs. And you definitely want to shop around. There are many excellent compact tractor brands today, so you should have some good choices for your purchase.
One particular feature that you definitely want to look for is four-wheel drive. It may be a bit more costly, but having a compact tractor equipped with four-wheel drive will provide greater traction on wet, snowy, icy or muddy surfaces, as well as added stability on steep, or rough terrain. Four-wheel drive is also less damaging to the ground than a two-wheel-drive tractor, and four-wheel drive compact tractors have a higher resale value.
Talk to your neighbors and friends for their recommendations on what size of compact tractor and implements to buy. If you coordinate with your neighbors, you could even trade implements for different projects around the acreage.
Financing is an issue that causes many acreage owners to cringe You can get a traditional loan for a new or used compact tractor, or if that isn’t a reasonable option for you, you can try to borrow or barter the use of a tractor from a friend, family member, or neighbor.
If well maintained, a new compact tractor will last a lifetime. Of course, used compact tractors are a less-expensive option and can be found in classified ads, auctions, or online.
Whether you choose a new or used compact tractor, regular maintenance and occasional repairs will be ongoing expenses. You will need to regularly lubricate all fittings and moving parts, checking and refilling the oil, hydraulic fluid, tire pressure, and filters. Make sure to record when you perform any maintenance, which should be done every 100 hours or every spring and fall.
Maybe you’re not handy and will have to rely on the dealer for maintenance. If your dealer does not have a service technician who can travel to your property to complete this maintenance, you will have to pay to have the tractor hauled to the dealership—unless you have your own truck and trailer.
Another consideration is compact tractor storage. Make sure you have a barn, shed or other roofed building to store your compact tractor in when it is not being used to protect it from the elements. Storing your compact tractor at least under a roof will help to keep it in good condition longer.
A compact tractor is an investment that will be immensely useful on your acreage. There are many decisions to make when choosing a compact tractor, so do your research and shop around.