What comes first: the tractor, or the implements?

We have a compact utility tractor, a Massey Ferguson model 1529, that we call “Big Red.”  It’s narrow for working between Christmas trees and in nurseries.  Big Red also doesn’t have a whole lot of power: about 28 HP, with around 23 HP available at the power takeoff (PTO).

Now that we have the Beavercreek Demonstration Farm, a tractor comes in handy for hauling gear, pulling irrigation components, and mowing grass hay.  But with Big Red’s limited horsepower and narrow wheelbase, we’re caught in the same dilemma as many small farmers: do you get a tractor and then size and buy your implements, or do you figure out what implements you need and then buy the tractor that will operate those items?

Well, since we already have Big Red but few implements, we’re doing it backwards by trying to find implements that will work.   A better approach is:

  1. Figure out what you need to do on your land.
  2. Decide what implements you need for those actions.
  3. Evaluate how much horsepower you need to drive the implements.
  4. Select the approach power plant (tractor) to operate the implements.

We’ll be using Big Red for keeping fence lines clean, moving the sprinkler, and dragging pipe.  At some point we may get a tiller attachment for working up the garden and to help us develop some pollinator strips.

But Big Red is simply too small for some of the things we need to do on 15 acres.  We need a larger tractor and attachments for haying!  A loader front end, and an auger to help with maintaining thousands of feet of fence line would also help.

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