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Reviving the Power Of Old Big Tractors

By Tom Seest

Why Are More Farmers Turning To Old Big Tractors?

At ClassicTractorNews, we help classic tractor lovers keep up with the latest news for classic and vintage tractors.

Modern tractors boast advanced technologies but are also more expensive than their older counterparts – which may explain why more people are opting for older tractors to complete their tasks.
Loeb Farms employs 15 vintage John Deere tractors that lack some of the luxury features found on new models yet still provide power and reliability.

Why Are More Farmers Turning To Old Big Tractors?

Why Are More Farmers Turning To Old Big Tractors?

How Old Big Tractors Are Changing Farming?

Early tractors were massive, cumbersome machines powered by steam that proved unsuited for farming environments. After fuel-powered engines were introduced into production tractors, they became much easier to use and better equipped to handle tough conditions in the field. Manufacturers quickly responded with user-friendly machines designed for any number of tasks on farms.
At that time, there were hundreds of tractor manufacturers competing to win market share: Allis-Chalmers, International Harvester, and John Deere were particularly notable. College friends Charles Hart and Charles Parr were responsible for building the first mass-produced, self-propelled tractor in 1903 with its two-cylinder gasoline engine producing 30 horsepower; though enough power to get their machine moving along its track, its use wasn’t sufficient enough to support a sustainable business venture.
However, this was enough to convince farmers that bigger was better when it came to agricultural machinery. Tractors have only become larger since then, some models weighing over ten times as much as those built during the 1960s! That can create compaction and erosion.
Matt Harmon of Montana Machinery Shop recently introduced the Big Bud tractor, which is known for its durability and value, at Con Expo Las Vegas last week; thousands admired its sleek new model at this show.
Even after New Holland purchased them, Big Bud tractors still featured Genesis-based engines and an advanced MFWD system with SuperSteer axle.
Harmon’s objective is to produce a tractor with functional, standardized features and serviceability that retains its value over time. His company will begin production of 10 Big Bud tractors annually with plans of expanding production up to 120 annually if successful. If successful, Big Bud’s comeback could represent an end of common-sense engineering practices and return American agriculture back into prominence.

How Old Big Tractors are Changing Farming?

How Old Big Tractors Are Changing Farming?

How Heavy Are Old Big Tractors?

Charles Hart and Charles Parr launched their company in 1900 to sell two-cylinder gasoline engines they had designed themselves before producing self-propelled traction engines suitable for attachment to various farm machinery in 1903. While these early machines did not feature computer technology or make farming much more efficient than it had been, they laid the groundwork for what would soon become an entirely new industry revolutionizing agriculture worldwide.
Tractors were initially expensive when first released onto the market, but gradually, they have become more cost-effective due to manufacturers producing them being car or truck builders who simply added an engine to their production lines. Many early tractors are still used today across America despite being old – they may look old but remain functional and reliable.
As tractor manufacturers commenced producing more of these massive machines, competition became fiercer. By 1920s there were more than 150 different tractor manufacturers operating within the US – this resulted in an agricultural revolution which continues to this day.
Modern tractors produce more horsepower than their older counterparts while weighing considerably less. Large modern tractors can even drive at speeds exceeding 50 miles per hour!
Tractors that are that large place a great strain on the soil. This can result in compaction that reduces crop yields and erosion; researchers have begun studying this phenomenon; the larger a tractor is, the more disturbed is its ground.
So, it is crucial that tractor tires remain properly maintained. Maintaining proper pressure will reduce tire wear and prevent soil erosion.
Not only should owners of tractors ensure their tires are at the appropriate pressure, but it is important for them to also consult the operator’s manual prior to beginning operations on their machine. This will help ensure all safety risks have been identified as well as that it functions at its optimal capacity.

How Heavy Are Old Big Tractors?

How Heavy Are Old Big Tractors?

Can Old Big Tractors Conquer the Noise?

Tractor manufacturers share many similarities with car makers when it comes to being unethical (some would argue that not much has changed since 100 years ago). Early tractor builders were no different; some often built inferior equipment under their name or passed it off as from more well-known builders – something especially prevalent during the early 1900s when many companies experimented with gas engines as an alternative power source.
Before purchasing a used tractor, it’s vital that you conduct thorough research. Learn its history and research the seller; obtain copies of any promised warranties or guarantees written down; as well as visiting farms where your machine has been in use before to ask about its performance and pose questions to them directly.
An effective rule of thumb for purchasing a tractor that has already seen extensive use is to purchase one with several thousand hours under its belt, to give yourself an accurate view of its driving characteristics and wear patterns, helping you better determine how much to offer and whether or not purchasing this machine is worthwhile.
Another key factor when purchasing a tractor is how easily it can be fixed. Modern tractors offer more technology than ever before, yet this same technology makes them nearly impossible for non-dealer mechanics to work on without help from dealers. Many manufacturers make wrenching on your own tractor nearly impossible by locking key systems behind firewalls only dealers can unlock, using proprietary tools in assembly, and restricting the reselling of spare parts.
Decade-old tractors remain extremely desirable today, as they’re easy to work on and maintain value well – two qualities that still draw the public at auctions.

Can Old Big Tractors Conquer the Noise?

Can Old Big Tractors Conquer the Noise?

Can Old Big Tractors Pay Off?

With technology replacing many of the backbreaking tasks on farms, many farmers have quickly adopted it. Unfortunately, however, the purchase and maintenance costs associated with modern tractors that require special training to operate can often be out of reach of people who do not cultivate food as a full-time profession. More and more farmers are following in the footsteps of car enthusiasts by seeking out older, simpler tractors from the 1970s and 80s at much-reduced costs.
Ford 8N tractors are popular examples of models making this transition. Introduced into production in 1947, these well-maintained examples can sell for upwards of $18,000 today, which significantly undercuts dealership repair charges on more modern tractor models that rely heavily on software to start up and function properly.
Older tractors tend to be significantly cheaper and easier to repair than newer models, thanks to manufacturers packing modern models with proprietary software that makes repairs virtually impossible without help from an authorized technician or dealer. Key systems may be locked behind firewalls requiring licensed technician access only, special tools may be required during assembly, and the resale of spare parts may be restricted – all factors that contribute to major repairs easily reaching five figures on newer tractors.
Farmers looking for less costly equipment alternatives have taken note of automotive enthusiasts and have begun seeking out older tractors with no computer needs to run them, like Kris Folland from Minnesota, who finds they are much more affordable while working just as effectively. “[Older tractors are] so much more affordable,” according to Folland. “And they work just as good.”
He reports that his family purchased a brand-new Ford 8N in 1998, putting 2400 mostly trouble-free hours before trading it in due to an attractive trade-in value. According to him, his dad regretted giving it up for good and kicked himself for doing so.

Can Old Big Tractors Pay Off?

Can Old Big Tractors Pay Off?

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