Tractors, the landscape looks so vast, so many brands, so much variation in transmissions to everything. Any insights here would be appreciated. Considering making the plunge into a new tractor, 1st time not used.
Specs: 60 – 100 HP Utility, probably 4 WD, for all around use NY PA hay farm. Needs are run small Sq baler, NH haybine, bush-hog pastures, haul hay wagon up to 10 mi one way(4Ton), bit of logging. Relatively low hour use, ~200 annual. Objective is ease of maintenance, reliability, fuel economy favored over price. We are used to old JD 30 series that run like new and are very fuel efficient. Ha! Would rather pay more for a tractor that will run like new at age 35 than save $8,000 now.
Sounds simple but easy starter is important to us.
Not 100 % sure on 4 WD or open vs closed cab. Thinking diesel. Do you get more work per gallon from diesel?
And engines, Perkins, Caterpillar, Japanese diesel. Others, when there is a choice. Comments?
More minimal is OK, though we may like finally having some comfort of handling.
IE is the Challenger more basic than other Agco products?
NH and Deere have fairly close dealerships.
Are base prices only available from dealers? Can’t find them on line.
Do dealers have a lot of room to work? Is it rude to say, I want this configuration, and ask 4 dealerships for quotes? Or build loyalty for when we need that part quick and not press them too far.
All over the place here, but grateful for any insights or suggetions on what to study.
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Can't say much about brands, but if I were looking, I might rather try to find a late-model used one, without all the emissions stuff on it. I've heard horror stories about the costs to fix some of that stuff.
As for engines, the best-starting diesel I have used in cold weather in that HP range, is a 4 cylinder Cummins B series. We have one that will has started, without ether or being plugged in, and have it die in 30 seconds, because the fuel was jelled.
Also, as a rule of thumb, a gear shift transmission tends to be more reliable than a hydro, especially over time. However, if you do a lot of inching along, forward and back, and don't plan to use it on heavy draft work, they hydro may actually be better for your needs.
It sounds like you have the easiest tractor to work on now, those old John Deere's are simple to work on, parts are plentiful and they are just great workhorses.
As for new tractors I know that John Deere has a build your own deal on their website where you can add the features you want for a tractor. You definitely want to get a diesel tractor, I have a friend who has a gas 4020 and it is the most gutless thing ever, if you want a tractor that can work its going to be a diesel.
If you really want a tractor that you can work on by yourself, I would suggest sticking with the older tractors, the new ones have too much electronic stuff on them and are not nearly as simple as the old ones. If you already have 30 series and want an open station tractor then find yourself an old 4020, these tractors are bringing more than they did out the factory door still because Deere built a great tractor from the late 60s to early 70s.
I have a JD 6430 Prem. Cab tractor that I use for loader work and mowing. It has 4wd, a cab, and is about 95 Hp. Since I don't do hay, it is hard to give you a lot of advice. I really like the tractor and it does a great job. Both NH and JD have excellent machines and can do what you need.
If you are baling around a lot of trees, you may want to get an open station tractor so you can duck under limbs without tearing up a cab. If you have a lot of rolling ground, 4wd is a must. Do not get too small of a tractor for the baler. Otherwise, you may have PTO issues from the shock loads a square baler can transmit to the tractor.
I generally limit my selection of replacement equipment to two or three dealers. That way they know they have to compete but I will stick with them for service.