Tractors, ATVs and UTVs can be useful on a farm but they can also be expensive. What farm equipment is right for you might not be what’s best for the next. I’ll cover what farm equipment we use most on our farm, what we wouldn’t want to live without and what we would sell if we needed to. I’ll also talk about what we’d like to purchase next!
First up is our Polaris Ranger. This is such a handy piece of equipment to have on a farm or homestead. Although it may not appear to do a lot of jobs it certainly makes carrying tools and people to and from jobs very quick and easy. For example, checking and fixing fences is one of my favorite jobs in the winter. The boys and I load up our tools in the back, bring a bluetooth speaker and head out. It’s a fun way to involve the kids in a farm task and the Ranger makes it easy. It also gives the boys a shady place to sit and have a drink of water when they’re tired. And they love to take turns driving!
We also use the Ranger on a weekly basis for checking cows, checking fences, moving cows, taking the kids back and forth to Grandma’s house, and just going on drives around the dirt roads at sunset. I also harrow the fields with it sometimes because again, I can load up the kids and they can ride with me.
John Deere 1025R
Next is our John Deere 1025R Compact Tractor. We have had this tractor for 7 years now and it has done it all. When we first bought it we only had 2.5 acres, it’s a little small for our current farm but we’re still making it work. It’s compact and easy to fit into tight spaces, it’s lightweight so it doesn’t tear up the ground, and it’s very easy to drive! We bought the 1025R as a package with 3 attachments. A tiller, a mower/bush hog, and a bucket loader. We also purchased pallet forks later. We use every attachment regularly. The pallet forks and bucket get used the most for moving things. In the summer the mower stays busy keeping the fields topped. And the tiller is only used a couple times of year for the garden but it makes it super fast.
The downside to this tractor is it’s lifting capabilities. It’s struggles with 1,000lb round bales and pallets of feed with too much weight. The implements are also small, our mower is only 4ft wide and with larger fields that simply takes too long. If you have a smaller farm or homestead this is the perfect tractor and overall we do love it but when we move into mowing larger acres and making it hay it won’t work for those jobs.
This is also a great little tractor for kids to learn how to drive. The pedals are on the floor and if they stretch they can reach. Operating the bucket loader is easy for them to get a feel for as well. We don’t let any of our boys mow yet but they are almost old enough.
The Polaris Ranger and the John Deere 1025R are the most used pieces of equipment on our farm. As we grow, the little tractor will probably get replaced but as of right now I can’t see getting rid of it. It’s just too useful still.
John Deere 4020
Our next tractor is a classic! The John Deere 4020 is Dan’s favorite tractor. If you watched our Equipment Tour video on YouTube, you’ll hear why! Basically he’s always wanted one so when we found this one right down the road, he had to have it.
Right now we use the 4020 mainly for lifting and stacking round bales and feeding hay. We bought a bale un-roller to go on the back and that has been a great way to feed the cows all winter. We bought the 4020 not only because Dan loves that model but because we knew it was a tractor that would grow with the farm. It will do all the jobs of cutting, raking, and baling hay when we are ready to and it also has a bucket loader.
Another reason we bought this tractor was price. Older tractors can be found at great prices. We bought this for $10,000. Dan was able to get it running fairly easy and drove it home. That video can be found here. It can seem intimidating to buy something older with potential problems but thankfully Dan is very good mechanically. He can fix anything so being mechanically inclined or knowing a great mechanic is very helpful when buying older equipment. But he will also tell you that newer equipment can have issues as well, most of the time they are under warranty but with older equipment they don’t need laptops for diagnosis, they are just mechanical and in his eyes, much easier to work on.
John Deere 210C Backhoe
Our last piece of equipment is our John Deere 210C Backhoe. This is our most recent purchase. Again, it’s older so we picked it up for only $10,000 but this needed more work. We’ve put at least $2,000 into it, it might even be closer to $4,000. And it was in very high demand when Dan bought it. So he knew that we could sell it very easily after he did a bit of work to it. In fact, people were offering more than he bought it for if they could come get it the next day!
You’ve probably heard me mention before that we have a lot of planted pines on our farm. And that is the main reason we bought the backhoe. We needed something that had a bucket loader and a digger to help clear this farm. Dan would have preferred a skid steer AND an excavator but that just wasn’t in the budget so he decided on the backhoe. It doesn’t do as good as a skid steer and excavator at their individual jobs but can do both jobs fairly well.
Sadly it has also come in handy burying animals as well. If you have any sort of livestock you need to be prepared for deaths and how you will bury them. In the past I lost a horse and we didn’t have the backhoe and we had to scramble to rent an excavator. It works but it’s not ideal. If you have farmers who are neighbors with equipment they’ll usually help you out as well but it is something to have some sort of plan for.
With all that said, the backhoe is the piece of equipment we would sell first if things got tight and we needed the money. I think we could easily get $15,000 for it, if not more. And that’s another great thing about older equipment, they hold their value and they’re bought and paid for. We don’t want debt hanging over our heads and I want to be able to sell quickly if needed.
What We’d Like Next
We haven’t quite figured out exactly what tractor we will buy next but we know for sure we need a cab with AC! We do a lot of mowing in the summer and if you know Florida heat, you know why. I also can’t take any kids with me to mow plus it takes a long time with our compact tractor. We could put a bush hog on the 4020 but we haven’t yet because we know we’re going to upgrade at some point and the 4020 is a little big for me.
The next tractor will likely be a John Deere and we want between 65-100 horsepower. We also need something some of our older boys can start to drive. It will probably be something around 20 years or so old but it’ll depend on whats out there when the time comes.
So there you have it. A breakdown of our farm equipment. Let us know in the comments what your favorite equipment is on your farm! Or what you’d like to have!