Buying Your First Tractor

Buying Your First Tractor

Are you looking for compact tractors for sale? Newbies in the tractor-buying world are often confused and uncertain as to what they need. We’re here to help!

Before visiting us to look at Massey Ferguson subcompact and compact tractors, it’s best to have an idea of the type and size tractor that will work best for you. Create a list of what tasks you’ll need a tractor to perform for you, year in and year out.

Are you currently using a regular riding mower? Unfortunately, two mowable acres is about the limit if you don’t want to spend hours and hours cutting the grass. And uneven terrain can make using a riding lawn mower dangerous.

Plus, what about all the other chores you need to do to keep the place up? Are you spreading manure or other fertilizer by hand? Setting fence posts with hand tools? Using a wheel barrow for trip after trip of garden compost? Snow plowing? And how are you going to fix and maintain your rutted farm road or gravel drive?

But before you rush out to buy your tractor, let’s look at what’s available.

First, Determine What Size Tractor You Need

There are a number of different sized tractors, each with different horsepower and thus, differing ability to power attachments and implements. The most important thing to remember is that tractors are all about work. They are not vehicles, they are machines. Here’s a look at what they offer.


Massey Ferguson sub compact tractor These relatively new tractors are becoming more and more popular for hobby farmers and country estate owners. Ranging from 15 to 50 hp, they are heavier than garden tractors and have larger tires. That means they provide traction and toughness, and can accommodate implements. Massey’s GC1723EB Sub Compact, for example, comes with tilt steering, a 3-pt hitch for implements, and can easily accommodate a front end loader and backhoe. That means you can use this little machine to dig and to move dirt, manure, gravel and more.

They’ve been designed for operator comfort, ease of operation and low maintenance. Many come with ROPS (Rollover Protection Structures) which add to your safety in case of an unexpected rollover accident.


MF 1740M premium compact tractorCompact tractors are more versatile and the more expensive and heftier models may even be used for baling small acreages of hay with a small square baler. Some come with ROPS, some even have enclosed cabs for all–day operator comfort, like the 1740M Premium Compact Tractor

Some compacts offer four-wheel drive. Although that does increase the cost of the tractor, it adds more useful power to the machine. That means you’ll be able to do more with a smaller tractor. They are all equipped with a three-point hitch and PTO, so they can operate a wide range of implements. It’s your choice whether you buy Implements with the tractor or later on. But if you know which implements you need, you may be able to save money on them if the dealership is offering a package deal. And some even come with no DPF for clean emissions.

Utility Tractors

2605H Utility TractorWhile buyers are always conscious of the bottom line, it is often suggested that you invest in a little more tractor than your task list seems to demand. This is because a more powerful machine can operate implements you are routinely using without straining the engine. And it gives you the extra power you might need for unexpected, larger jobs. The Massey Ferguson 2605H Utility Tractor is a good example of a rugged utility tractor that can provide years of excellent service.
Utility or mid-range tractors are heavy-duty, generally used on commercial-scale farms. Smaller farm-to-table producers may find these larger tractors fit their needs, especially if they have both crops and livestock areas to manage. They are built with a three-point hitch, PTO and horsepower from 45 to 110 range. Most new models have diesel engines, and four-wheel drive is available. If you are certain you will just mow and maybe move a little manure from time to time, a smaller tractor may be all you need. And keep in mind that a larger tractor may not fit in your shed, and takes more maneuvering room than a small tractor. But if you’re thinking of larger tasks, like haymaking, or adding implements for post hole digging or dragging a large brush hog, ask us which size tractor will be most optimal for your needs.

Understanding the Stats

Horsepower is the measure of an engine’s strength. (In fact, it originally was derived from the estimate than an average horse could do 33,000 lbs of work per minute. The concept was applied to how much work an engine could do.) Obviously, the greater the hp of an engine, the more powerful it is.

Torque refers to how much twist an engine can apply to the driving wheels or the PTO. If two tractors have the same horsepower but one has higher torque, the one with higher torque will have an engine that runs slower while creating the same amount of turning energy. And that uses less energy to do the same amount of work. You won’t be revving the engine as much, and you won’t see the tractor stall as frequently when starting to work under a load. It’s also going to be quieter, more fuel efficient, and last longer.

It also helps to know that horsepower means several things. Gross horsepower is the amount of power produced by the engine. But just by being in operation, the engine will lose a little of its horsepower. So PTO horsepower, what’s left to operate the implements, is the number you need to pay attention to. Most manufacturers will list the PTO horsepower for their tractors. Come into the dealership knowing this, and you’re not only ahead of the game, you’ll impress the sales crew!

Also, be aware that all tractors lose some power at higher elevations. Expect a 3% reduction in hp for every 1,000 feet above sea level. Be sure to consider this when looking at the smaller, lower horsepower tractors. Operating on wet or hilly terrain will also cause power loss. And as the engine ages, wear and tear will lower your horsepower, especially if you do not practice proper routine maintenance.

What About Price?

Of course, you need to operate within your budget, but it’s not in your best interest to only consider the price of your new tractor. A high quality tractor will last longer and save you money over time. Be sure to know what comes standard and what will be extra. We can sometimes offer you package deals that include the tractor and implements for a very good price.

Ask us about such elements as the remote hydraulic cylinder outlet, which enhances your ability to operate implements that come with their own hydraulic cylinders. Our tractor experts can help you determine which implements are best for you, and will work most optimally with the tractor you choose.

And do come in and actually sit in the tractor seat, making sure you like the feel of the operator station and the convenience of pedals or levers. A tractor you enjoy driving will make working around your place a much better experience.

Jordan Radach