Our old tractor is one that I repossessed against a bad debt from years ago. It had been ridden hard, and put up wet well before we ever got it. It was worn out before we ever laid eyes on it.
We went through it and got it running as best we could. Brakes, transmission, loader, all that stuff worked well. Lights, gauges, accessories. Eh, not so much. But it was our tractor and it did a great job, easily beating out the larger tractors and the smaller tractors that we have access to. I don’t know how many hours per year we put on it (remember the gauges don’t work?), but it runs every day, and does 95% of the jobs we do here.
From lifting hogs into and out of the scald tank.
Loading pigs onto our hydraulic trailer to move to a new pen, or to load onto the livestock trailer
Cooking potatoes that one winter we ran out of food for the hogs.
Mowing the pastures to keep them manicured and healthy after the cows have grazed
Hauling out trees after we cut them down for firewood.
Even showing us we don’t want interns anymore. Our little tractor has done it all. But the tractor has one problem that we didn’t have a solution for.
About every 12-18 months, we had to put a new clutch in our tractor. We use it more like a forklift than like a farm tractor. Because of that, we are on and off the clutch constantly. And with that usage, comes wear. It costs about $2000-$2500 to put a clutch into the tractor that we had.
The tractor has to be broken in half to access the clutch and it usually takes about a week to get the job done. A week where we don’t have the tractor that we use DAILY.
With all this in mind, I set about getting a new tractor. I intended to get a used, hydrostatic tractor, meaning that it didn’t even have a clutch. But after much back and forth, I ended up with a new 5075M John Deere.
It has a hydraulic clutch instead of a dry clutch like our old tractor and it has a FNR switch like an industrial tractor instead of the full clutch and gear setup like our old one.
I didn’t want to spend the money. I didn’t want to go through the hassle, and I honestly didn’t want to see our tired old tractor leave because it has been good to us. But just in time for Christmas, our new tractor has shown up and it seems to be doing a good job. It meets all the modern emissions requirements and certainly has a few more bells and whistles than our old tractor. Only time will tell how it lives in our environment. I hope it is very well and for a long time.