How to Buy and Outfit Your Small Farm Tractor

When you are looking for the best small farm tractor to your farm or homestead, you might gravitate toward the replicas of yore, Ford 9Ns, Farmall Cubs, Fordsons, and the such. The attraction is understandable because these are real classics of farming, giving an appeal of an iconic character along with an attractive price point. You’ll find good deals on these, accessible in a variety of phases of negligence scattered across the pages of these tractor finder magazines, however if you’re searching for functional tool for your farm, you could be barking up the wrong tree. Tractors aren’t on the cutting edge of science, but you might be unaware of just how far they have come and how obsolete those antiques .Producers have developed new systems and merged many ports since the era of the Farmall, producing best small farm tractors which are robust, agile, dependable, and readily modified to match the task at hand.

Back in the day, a tractor was a tractor, but today there’s a broad variety of available options, and that may be overwhelming. Follow along as I clarify some things about today’s contemporary lineup, and also help you decide what type of tractor will suit you best.

What’s The Hitch?

A 3 point hitch is the port that we use to attach implements to the rear of a tractor. For our purpose, we will need to comprehend the distinction between Cat-0, Cat-1, and Cat-2. There are far more categories, but these are the dimensions which pertain to a little farmer and homesteader. Each one of These valves have a different pins, hitch arms, and tops connection dimensions. Cat-0 implements are mini variations of Cat-1 implements and are meant to work on the smallest of tractors. Cat-0 is a size that is new. These implements have a tendency to be expensive, restricted in ability, and infrequent in the used market.

I do not advise the purchase of a Cat-0 tractor for a number of reasons, availability of implements is one of them. Cat-0 tractors may only utilize Cat-0 implements due to size, weight constraints, and the minimal power connected with Cat-0 tractors. Cat-0 implements are readily identified with their tiny appearance and application of both 5/8, lower arm hooks. Cat-1 implements are what many consider to be a standard, implement. Cat-1 is the most typical size of hitch, also Cat-1 implements are offered in various widths to fit the best little farm tractor. Cat-1 implements are numerous, easily accessible, simple to find, and provide you the best opportunity to discover a fantastic deal, particularly in the used market.

Cat-1 hitches utilize a 7/8, lower arm pin and several Cat-0 implements may be adapted to fit a Cat-1 hitch. Cat-1 has become the most typical hitch found on the best little farm tractors. Cat-2 is a bigger, less common hitch size generally reserved for tough use or high horsepower implements. Cat-2 implements have a tendency to be much more robust in their structure, hence they use the bigger 1-1/8, lower arm pin size. My tractor is a Cat-2 tractor, therefore with the exception of my backhoe or scraper box, so I want to utilize sleeves to accommodate my Cat-1 implements to my Cat-2 hitch.

It may be frustrating whenever you lose those stupid little sleeves, but having a Cat-2 hitch opens my options when purchasing implements and permits me to utilize a bigger backhoe.


Tractors have been utilizing clutch and gear design transmissions for a very long time, and several seasoned operators are much more comfortable with this tried and true design. Today, however, the lion’s share of tractors sold have hydrostatic transmissions, which simplify and simplify the action of pressing a tractor all in the exact same time, particularly if you’re utilized to some clutch. Rather than releasing a clutch and getting your tractor lurch ahead, you are now able to select your speed or gear array, then push the forward or reverse pedal to regulate the rate and direction you wish to go.

This kind of transmission is an established design and tends to last longer than conventional manual transmission clutches. With a hydrostatic transmission, it is possible to creep along without burning a clutch, which is quite useful. If you discover leaning on the tractor’s grip regularly, hydrostatic will serve you well. Try out both styles out.

Tractor manufacturers now offer several sizes of tractors, usually grouped by class. , These classes have been designed with a target client in your mind so skill, power, options, and price points change accordingly. Broadly speaking, all tractor manufacturers offer a sub streamlined, compact, medium size and full size class array. Not all dealerships offer all the classes, therefore knowing what class you are shopping for can help when deciding where to shop.


Sub compact tractors are the bottom of the power curve and therefore are a yard tractor on steroids. Tractors in this class are limited to Cat-0 hitch due to their size.

The majority of the sub compact tractors of today are harmonious with a front end loaders, but with a load limitations of 500 lbs or less in the bucket they qualify as self propelled wheelbarrows. Due into the sub compact craze, manufacturers are currently offering mid ship PTOs in many, if not all tractors. Mid ship PTOs are a power take off, points, such as a rear pto alloy that may operate your bush hog. These mid sized ship, or belly PTOs allow a tractor to power a belly mower, such as your average ride-on lawn tractor, only a lot larger.

Possessing a mid sized ship PTO also opens up the option of adding a front mounted, PTO driven snow mill, that appeal to those of us from the northern regions. Many sub compact tractors are now available with diesel engines and 4 wheel drive, that is a significant upgrade in operation. You can anticipate horsepower ratings to be in the teenagers or weak 20 at best, which restricts what sort of gear you are able to run. If you desire a major lawn tractor with bucket loader, this only might your own ticket, but I do not advise purchasing a lilliputian tractor such as this for farm use.

If you are serious about farming or homesteading today, you’re likely to be let down by a sub compact tractor’s lack of power, skill, or performance. In case the biggest load you plan to raise is grass clippings and leaves, then you may expect to pay around $12, 000 for this over sized garden tractor. Compact tractors are a bump up from sub compact, albeit a little bump. Compact tractors are extended in Cat-0 or even Cat-1 hitches. A 4×, 4 seems standard in this dimension, as does a 3 cylinder diesel engine, that is good news. All compact tractors I have seen are harmonious with fairly reliable bucket loaders. Robust or not, these bucket loaders continue to be rated for below 900 pounds in the bucket, so take that in account.


The compact class bridges the emissions difference, meaning some of those tractors provide horsepower ratings both sides of 27 hp, that is cut-off for non emission controlled engines. Why should you care? . Emissions systems on tractors are a fairly new technology and have to be proven in credibility and longevity. Years down the road, you might be looking at costly emission system repairs, and the addition of those systems push the purchase cost. If four or three pony powers do not actually make a difference between you and the compact course is where you are shopping, then take to get a non emissions tractor to get now.

Compact tractors sit at a precarious spot, bridging the two the emissions difference and hitch classes, so many compact tractors will probably be a bit too wide to get a Cat-0 implement, but underpowered for many Cat-1 implements. Despite this, I’d advise leaning toward a Cat-1 armed tractor because I’d rather have the latter issue. Some of those compact tractors match on a landscape trailer, that makes them easier to carry than their bigger brethren. Due to their size, they also have a tendency to be less frightening to the very first time tractor owner. They also provide a palatable price tag, generally somewhere between $15, 000 and $23, 000 depending on the options and the model, which makes them achievable for a lot of men and women.

For a number of reasons, some individuals will discover their best little farm tractor within this class dimensions.


You get what you pay for, broadly, and the mid dimension tractor category is a good example. Mid size tractors provide more flexibility, flexibility, horsepower, and conveniences in relation to the bigger compact and sub compact tractors, like taxi options and distant hydraulic controls. Mid sized tractors will come with a Cat-1 hitch at minimum, with lots of manufacturers that offer a Cat-2 hitch with their bigger mid size tractors. Power evaluations and engines vary widely throughout this class, but most will feature a 3 cylinder diesel engine between 35hp and 65hp.

In case you are searching for a great all around farm tractor with the capability to run a good deal of different implements, then something close to the 50hp mark should serve you well. Whenever you go north of 50hp, you’ll also discover some manufacturers offer economy PTO, option, which is overdrive for the PTO. When engaged, it enables the motor to spin slower while maintaining appropriate PTO shaft RPM’s, reducing fuel consumption when conducting gear like farm generators. Bucket loader capabilities vary broadly within this category, anyplace between 1, 200 lbs to more than a ton in the bucket, which sounds excessive to some individuals, but having a machine in this lift capacity scope is way more useful for clearing soil, lifting materials and transferring pallets with a fork bucket. A normal size shipping dictionary can manage on a ton of weight, thus having a loader that could handle that securely will prove invaluable to a lot of farmers and homesteaders. Mid size tractors provide a good deal of power and alternatives in addition to value for your dollar.


Have a large farm with big implements? . If you do, I doubt you are reading my article, but when you’re, then you need a tractor from the git-er done class of complete size tractors. These behemoths start around the 80hp markers and get about as large as you can imagine, and some. Should you need something within this category, be ready pay a lot for the real deal. I am sure you can purchase many of those tractors without a taxi, but that could be a special order because cabs, air ride seats, air conditioning, heat, and the such come standard with this kind of tractor.

Homesteaders and tiny farmers who won the lotto will love to own one, but if you’ve plenty of space to play, they’re just too large to do a lot of what we do. These are large pieces of machines, plus they will not always match where we need them to go. A complete size tractor is over and beyond the needs of many of us, and the price points start around $60, 000. The sky appears to be the limit on the bigger models, many costing more than the normal property. I need one.

More Things to Consider

Whenever you set out to purchase your little farm tractor, there are a few things you should think about before you spend your hard earned cash.

Here are a few abbreviated notes to think about: &bull, When choosing a brand or dealership, consider the parts, service, and maintenance accessibility for that brand. Getting a tractor from a brand that does not have lots of dealerships in the area, or perhaps in your nation, may cause you a lot of trouble when it breaks. Some unknown or unestablished brands sourced from others nations might be offered at bargain prices, but even simple things such as oil filters can be difficult to come by. I suggest purchasing from a well recognized brand and a dealership that is been in business for quite a long time.

&bull, Four wheel drive is a given these days, but should you happen across a brand that offers tractors with or without 4×, 4, do yourself a favor and purchase 4×, 4. Traction is king when operating in the dirt, and I can speak from experience when I say you need 4×, 4. All of the best little farm tractors have 4times, 4, and yours should too. &bull, reevaluate how you are going to be utilizing your tractor, and choose the tire style that best fits your needs. For general farm use, I propose opting for the agricultural cleat style tiresindustrial fashion should you need a compromise that’s road friendly. Turf tires rarely serve a little farm tractor well, unless you are mowing your yard with it.

In addition, consider services such as ballast tractor tires in case you need additional traction.

Cabs are a luxury, but if you plan to function in snow, it could mean the distinction between misery and comparative relaxation. Unless of course you like dressing up like a Michelin Man and being hit full force with winter weather, critically think about adding a taxi to your mid sized tractor. &bull, Speaking of the white things, if you would like to add a front mounted, PTO driven snow blower to your tractor, I suggest purchasing a tractor with a mid ship PTO already installed, or at least be sure you are able to add one later.

Similarly, if you are looking at a compact or sub compact tractor and mean to purchase a belly mower for it. &bull, Tractor brands such as New Holland, Kubota, John Deere, and the recently revived Massey Ferguson are well recognized brands in the US and will probably be your best little farm tractor brand, however you’ll discover others like Kyote, Mahindra, Yanmar, and others. Exercise due diligence and research the mark you intend to purchase since this will be a long term investment and you do not want to purchase from a brand which has the capability to disappear. &bull, Pay attention to bucket attachment systems.

Some brands are more harmonious than others, some have proprietary attachment patterns and some do not even detach, which need to be avoided. It is just one of these things worth considering. Similarly with the loader arms themselves. Most brands enable you to easily and quickly remove the whole loader, that makes maintenance easier.