How to Find the Right Tractor For Your Homestead

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Thinking of getting a tractor for your homestead or urban farm? Here are a few tips for making a good decision…

A tractor can be a great tool to have handy, even on a small homestead. Many homesteaders quickly find they need one, even if they didn’t intend on buying one right away. We bought one our first year on our place, after my husband quickly tired of mowing an acre of our 5-acre homestead by hand every week! So far, we use ours mostly for mowing, sweeping grass clippings and leaves (wonderful for the garden!), and transporting small stuff around the homestead. Eventually, we may get a haying attachment, or a cart for moving wood, livestock feed, etc.

No matter what you need a tractor for, there are many different options available to suit your needs. Even if you have a tiny urban farm, a tractor may come in handy for a number of reasons.

If you are considering getting one, here are a few things to keep in mind when making your choice:

  • Know how much horsepower you need.

The goal is to match the horsepower to the jobs that you need to do—and anticipate doing in the future… Your tractor should be able to handle what you’re doing now, but have enough extra horsepower to handle increases in work load, working time, and new implements.

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Start your search by making a list of everything that would affect how your tractor runs, including:

  • Soil type
  • Terrain
  • Implements used/will be used
  • Planned uses for tractor

All of this will dictate which tractor is the right one for your urban farm.

  • Lawn and garden, subcompact, or compact tractor?

For an urban farm, you’ll be considering one of these three kinds of tractors. A lawn and garden tractor is best suited for light yard work, like mowing grass on one to two acres and towing light loads. Some could have the capability to handle small ground-driven implements, but they won’t have the three-point hitch required for heavy-duty farm work.

A subcompact tractor is larger and noticeably more powerful. This type of tractor is designed for the hobby farmer and has the capability to handle all kinds of attachments.

Compact tractors are larger still, and have all the amenities of the smaller tractors mentioned above. A compact tractor can power larger and heavier implements than the subcompacts can… They are often referred to as a ‘small estate’ tractor.

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  • Choose a tractor with a hydrostatic transmission.

A hydrostatic transmission makes the tractor easier to drive; to go faster, you don’t need to worry about changing gears, you just have to push the pedal down further. This is a useful feature for urban farmers because it’s easier to get around tight corners with a tractor that doesn’t require a gearshift. It’s also perfect for first-time farmers because it’s easier to learn how to use.

  • Talk to other farmers in your area.

…Ask another, more experienced urban farmer about what kind of tractor they use. They’ll likely be able to tell you what they use and what they would do differently if they could buy a tractor again…

Read More at UrbanFarm.org

 

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