Choosing the right tractor

A tractor is a self-propelled vehicle equipped with wheels or tracks. It is involved in agricultural and forestry work. It’s often used to pull a trailer or other equipment. A farmer might use a tractor to pull a plow through a corn field before planting for example. This guide will help you choose the right tractor by outlining key information such as the various types and applications.

 

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  • How do I choose the right tractor?

    Choosing the right tractor depends largely on the type of work you’re planning to do. Tractors are generally used for three main types of work: traction, PTO (power take-off) and transport/handling. In this guide, we will discuss the types of tractors and how to choose the right one for each application. We’ll factor in farm size and pricing as well in order to give as much information as possible to help guide you in your selection.

     

    • Types of tractors
    • Application / principal function
    • Farm size
    • Pricing
  • What are the different types of tractors?

    There are a number of different types of tractors, and it’s important to start by understanding these before identifying the one best suited for the type of work you’re planning to do. They generally fall into one of the following categories:  straddle, forestry,  narrow, low-profile and sub-compact.

     

    Straddle tractors are agricultural tractors with three or four wheels, enabling work on elevated crops. For example, in viticulture, a 2-row or 3-row tractor can straddle 1 or 2 lines of vines respectively. Various work equipment can be associated with this type of tractor to perform tasks such as spreading, spraying phytosanitary products, harvesting, tilling, etc. 

     

    Forestry tractors are power-driven vehicles, either on wheels or on tracks, with at least two axles. Their function depends essentially on their tractive power, which is specially designed to pull, push, carry or actuate certain implements, machines or trailers intended for use in forestry.

     

    Narrow tractors have a small width. They are easy to handle and less expensive than other types of tractors, but they also have less engine power. They are often used by arboriculturists to access between rows. They are also used in harvesting, fertilizing and weeding operations.

     

    For low-profile tractors, the bottom of the tractor is 18 inches or less above the ground reaching 60 inches or lower. They are designed for low-clearance applications, giving the operator better visibility in front of the tractor.

    Sub-compact tractors are designed with a smaller frame. They provide the strength and versatility of a compact utility tractor, with the agile handling of a 4WD vehicle and feel of a garden tractor.

     

    Tractor VIRTUS STAGE IV series - Same

    Tractor VIRTUS STAGE IV series – Same

  • How do I choose a tractor that meets my needs?

    For traction work, tractors are used with a tillage tool (ex: a plow, cultivator, etc.) and have the following characteristics: substantial weight (heavy tractor), a powerful engine and good lifting capacity. When it comes to PTO work, a tractor mainly tows rotary harrows or agricultural mulchers. It must have a powerful engine, good lifting capacity and low or semi-low pressure tires. For transport and handling work, a tractor mainly tows agricultural trailers or slurry tankers. It must be easy to maneuver with strong steering capabilities, have reduced empty weight (less than 9 tons) and the configuration of the cabin must allow excellent visibility.

     

    Here are elements to consider when choosing a tractor for the following applications:

     

    • Traction work: You will need a heavy tractor. It must have a long wheelbase and the size of the front and rear wheels must be capable of creating traction capacity. A high engine torque is necessary in order to have strong traction capacity. You should aim for the lowest possible specific consumption for optimal ROI. It’s important to have staged transmission adapted for the terrain where you’ll be working.
    • PTO work: The maximum torque delivered by the engine needs to be as close as possible to the standard power take-off speed. For work under 2 km/h, the tractor must have a creeper transmission. The tractor should have low pressure tires to prevent packing the ground.
    • Transport and handling work: It’s important that tractors used for this kind of work have a smooth transmission and a powerful and efficient braking system (generally a pneumatic braking system) in case an emergency stop is needed. They are also often light tractors with good visibility.

     

    Tractor N series - Valtra

    Tractor N series – Valtra

  • How does the size of the farm impact my choice of tractor?

    You’ll want to choose a tractor whose power corresponds with the area of the farm you’ll be working on. When working on land of less than 5 hectares, choose tractors with a power of 30 to 60 horsepower. For very large farms, a tractor that can be set at 100 horsepower or more will be required, and 200 hp or 300 hp tractors are most suitable. You will also have to take into account the state of the ground: if your terrain is rocky with slopes, the power of your tractor should be greater than if the terrain is flat.

    Tractor 6155MH - John Deere

    Tractor 6155MH – John Deere

     

  • What should I consider in terms of pricing when choosing a tractor?

    Price matters a lot when choosing your tractor. Although you will have to make your choice according to your budget, keep in mind that the price of a tractor often varies according to the quality it offers (accessories, power, etc.). For example, for a new tractor of very good quality and at least 50 hp, you will have to invest at least €15,000. With this type of tractor, you can carry out the majority of agricultural activities on your farm without constraints. If you want more power, at least 300 hp, and more accessories, you will have to plan on spending at least €180,000 for a new tractor.

     

    Tractor MGX-IV series - KUBOTA

    Tractor MGX-IV series – KUBOTA

     

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