A tractor is the workhorse of any farm or homestead, and in some cases it may be the only piece of agricultural equipment a farmer might buy. It can also be one of the most expensive aspects of starting a new farm of any size.
If you have a farm or homestead or are thinking of investing in a tractor or agricultural equipment for any reason, you need to ensure you've considered all factors involved. Note a few things that many farmers, especially first-time farmers, overlook so you don't make the same mistake.
1. Doing double duty
You might want to invest in a lightweight tractor in order to save money, but if you can choose any piece of equipment that does double duty, you can actually save money down the road. A good tractor that can haul heavy weights might save you money on a trailer for moving bales of hay or heavy bags of seed from one end of the farm to another. High-quality tractors might have a three-point hitch for pulling reapers, seeders, or ploughs. Rather than assuming that you can do these tasks and save money by getting the cheapest tractor on the market, note all the functions it can offer so you have everything you need in one piece of equipment.
A tractor with an enclosed cab can be the safest option and this is something to consider if you're just starting out as a farmer, even if it means a higher cost. You need to get accustomed to operating a tractor over uneven ground or through soft soil and mud, when the risk of getting thrown from the driver's seat or suffering a rollover can be high. An enclosed cab can also keep you safe from flying rocks and other debris and also protect you from dust, seeds, and other airborne particles that can irritate your lungs.
As with your private vehicle, you probably need to get insurance for your tractor and this cost needs to be considered. A high-quality tractor can make quick work of farming duties, but one that is very costly can mean higher insurance premiums. Note that you can usually save on insurance costs by purchasing a used tractor, and since tractors are meant to last for years, this can be a good alternative for you. Whatever your options, be sure you check with your insurance agent about these costs before you make a purchase.
Whether looking into a tractor or any other agricultural machinery, be sure you carefully consider your options before a purchase.