Just like buying a car, aÂ tractor is a huge farm purchase that has the potential cause you a lot of anxiety during the selection process. As a hobby farmer,Â buying a tractor might be your first major purchase outside of the land itself, and you want the experience to be a positive one.
Because you and your tractor will be spending a lot of time together accomplishing many a farm chore, it’s important that the machine you choose has all the features that you need and desire. Before heading to the tractor dealership make a list what these qualities are. While itâ€™s true that the tractor hunt can be intimidating, this step will go a long way in ensuring you find the workhorse youâ€™re after. Then, if youâ€™re still lacking fluency on tractor speak, brush up on these tractor terms to ensure you can walk into the dealership with confidence.
1. Two-wheel Drive (2WD)
These tractors allow two wheels to receive power from the engine simultaneously. Many tractors allow users to switch between 2WD and 4WD via a mechanism on the control panel.
2. Four-wheel Drive (4WD)
Vehicles with four-wheel drive allow all four wheels to receive power from the engine simultaneously.
Usually found in the rear of theÂ tractor, this added weight serves as a counter balance for a heavy load, such as one carried in a front-end loader.
4. Forward/Reverse (F/R)
This is seen on tractors with standard gear transmissions. Itâ€™s a measurement of how many forward and reverse speeds are available to the model.
5. Front-end Loader (FEL)
A large bucket-like implement attached to the tractorâ€™s front, aÂ front-end loader isÂ used to lift materials, such as rocks and dirt.
6. Gallons Per Minute (gpm)
This unit is a measurement of a tractorâ€™s total hydraulic power, which is used in steering and in the operation of additional implements
7. Horsepower (hp)
This is a measurement of a tractorâ€™s overall power.
8. Hydrostatic transmission (HST)
These tractors use a hydraulic-drive-propulsion system instead of a standard clutch-and-gear transmission. Hydrostatic transmissions tend to be easier to operate because they function like the automatic transmission in a car, though they are usually more expensive.
9. Mechanical Front-wheel Drive (MFWD)
This can be found in tractors with differently sized front and rear wheels, allowing them 4WD capabilities despite the wheel size difference.
10. Power Take-off (PTO)
This spinning drive shaft allows implements, such as a mower, loader or backhoe, to pull energy from the engine to run. Most tractors come with a standard rear-mounted PTO, but midpoint PTOs are also available on some models.
11. Roll-over protective structure (ROPS)
A frame on open station (non-cab) tractors provides a safe environment for the tractor operator in the event of a rollover.
12. Revolutions Per Minute (RPM)
This is a measurement of power for the power takeoff.
13. Three-point Hitch
A standard method of attaching implements to a tractor that uses two lower points and one upper point.