There’s no denying it; one of the most essential tools in a smallholder’s arsenal is a compact tractor. At the same time, they’re expensive enough that choosing one can be daunting; which one is best value for money for you?
If you’re not sure, then a reminder – you are always welcome to get in touch and talk it through with our resident expert. But just in case, let’s see if we can save you some time and take you through the important questions.
What Will You Use It For?
The answer to this question tells us two things; what size tractor to buy and what attachments you’ll need. Make a list of the most important jobs around your property – the essentials and the ‘would be nice’ jobs – and don’t leave out the jobs you’re doing with other equipment that a tractor could make easier and quicker.
Speeding any given job up gives you the chance to do more in less time – and nobody would argue that that’s not a help! Even mowing your lawn can be made easier with the right attachments.
How Often Will You Use It?
The important second part of this question: if you won’t use it much, consider hiring instead. Otherwise, look for robust design and easy maintenance. We can give you some recommendations, or you can talk to local repair crews.
What Size is Best?
Hilly sites need powerful engines, large fields need bigger tractors, and uneven ground calls for a balance between the two. There’s no ‘right’ answer to this – except that your tractor needs to fit through your property’s gateways! This question you need to answer for yourself, but you do need an answer.
Where Will You Put It?
You can cover your tractor with a waterproof tarp, but a barn, outhouse, or garage is recommended. This can also limit the size of your tractor – building something new means more costs.
What Attachments Do You Need?
Go back to your list of jobs and mark down what kind of equipment you need, from groundworks to wood chippers. Everything from mowing to fencing, from laying pipe to moving logs, has a tractor attachment to help.
Which do you need, and what do they fit on? Do you need a hydraulic system to operate them? Do you have enough spool valves?
Balance the Budget
Both the tractor and the appropriate attachments have to be affordable. What’s your maximum spend? If it helps you cut the cost of hiring extra hands, does that help? You should save money over time – your tractor will pay itself off – but you should still make sure not to break the bank!