The process of choosing the right size tractor for your needs can be difficult. There are many factors that will determine the correct tractor such as the size of a property, the type of projects that the tractor will be used for, and the potential for expansion in the future. In a recent episode of the National Land Podcast, Greg Christensen of John Deere spoke on the process of choosing the right size tractor for your needs. Here’s what Greg had to say.
Mac Christian: So most of our audience will be in the United States, everything from someone owning a recreational tractor to clear out roadways, to full farming operations that we work with on a regular basis. So obviously there are a lot of different uses you can apply to equipment, and that equipment is going to vary based on your needs. Walk me through the decision-making process that gets you from point A to point B.
Greg Christensen: “The first thing I always start with is not how many acres someone has, but rather who are you and what are you trying to do with this equipment? It’s not really about the size of the property, but more so the job. So I always try to have people think about what implement they have today that they’re trying to use, and what implements could you see themselves using on this land. Some of our most sold implements are box blades and rotary cutters. So starting there, then the question becomes how fast do you want to get this job done and how efficiently do you want to do that?”
“In just small tractors alone, there’s everything from a 20 horsepower one series cut, to a 130 horsepower 5 series utility tractor and that’s just in our small tractor space. Then you go up to the big ones with 600 horsepower, but we’re gonna stay focused on the smaller ones. Basically, it’s about the job and what you’re trying to get done with the tractor.”
I like how you put that. Because you could mow 20 acres, but if you buy a lean mower to do it, you’ll be mowing until the next mow cycle.
“Exactly. I could mow 10 acres with a push mower, but I don’t want to do that. It’s about knowing what you need to get the job done in the time I’m comfortable with.”
So if I’m looking at your product lineup, how many tractor products do you have as a lineup?
“Oh jeez, I don’t know that number there are just so many.”
Because it’s a massive number.
“It’s a massive massive number. We’ve got a 1 series cut, a 2 series, and a 3 series, on up to 9, with multiple models and configurations within each of those series. So it’s hundreds of different options that people have just for tractors.”
And there are modular attachments for each of those right? So you could have a basic small model with everything from blades to excavator attachments, even into forestry and construction.
“We actually have a product line called Frontier, which are the implements and attachments that go on a tractor to do a job, and there are over 400 there. Most people don’t just go tractoring, unless they’re in a parade, so you’ll need the attachments or implements to complete your specific job.”
So what’s the best way to go about that? Let’s say I just picked up 100 acres and we’ll say it’s mixed-use, I’ve got some grain on the parcel and I’m keeping a wildland area for game, and maybe I’m feeding some cattle too. What would be my process for looking at this, what’s going to get me the best information on what I need?
“You just told me a few key things there that I zeroed in on. You’re probably going to be mowing that property, feeding the cattle means you’ll be hauling some bales around. This tells me you’ll probably need a loader, and a 6-8 foot rotary cutter to mow, which means you’ll need about 50 PTO horsepower to run that. And your loader will likely need to lift around 1,000 pounds. You could go smaller and you could go bigger, but that’s how I see it. Just from the little bit you told me there, I’m thinking it would be a 5-series utility tractor or a high-end cut.”
“Like I said earlier though, it’s all about what you’re trying to do with this equipment. Once you know that, you can start narrowing down the size and functionality of your tractor.”