Buying a tractor? here's what €25,000 will get you
Jamie Casey goes in search of tractors for less than €25,000
Buying a tractor is one of the biggest investments a farmer will make. Some guys expect to put up high hours and do lots of work with their tractor, and can justify the price tag of a new unit. But what are the options for the small or part time stockman?
Armed with a potential budget of €25,000, I looked at tractors on the market, and also investigated the possible downsides of buying an older, used tractor. To get an idea of what might be available I called into Conaty Tractors, based in Kells, Co Meath. John Conaty had three tractors that interested me, all equipped with a loader, and ready to make themselves at home in any stockman's yard.
The first option was a clean 1996 registered New Holland L85 that had clocked 6248 hours. This tractor is four wheel drive, 85hp and the tyres had about 60pc thread left.
By today's standards the cab is simple but functional. Priced at €16,500 plus VAT, this tractor would suit a small beef operation. The package includes a joystick-controlled Howard loader, and a 12-speed transmission, with a splitter in each gear. Featuring two double acting spool valves and the classic manual lift and return to work switches for the rear linkage, this tractor is more than capable of handling what would be expected of it on a small beef or dairy unit.
When buying a tractor that will spend most of its time on a loader, be sure to look at both the forward visibility and the visibility of the loader when it is lifted to the maximum. There's nothing worse than trying to peer out under the cab of a tractor when stacking those last few high bales.
The second option available to me was a newer Massey Ferguson 5445. Registered in 2004, and with 6037 hours on an 85hp engine, this tractor is priced €22,000 plus VAT. Jumping into the cab lands you on an air suspended seat, with controls for rear linkage, PTO and front loader falling easily to hand.
Features such as air conditioning, three double acting spool valves, electronic lift control and a hydraulically extending pick-up hitch means this tractor can keep up with the big boys on the road and in the field, yet remains nimble enough for awkward jobs around the feeding yard.
The third option was a newer, yet similar MF 5445. This 2007 plated tractor featured the proven Dyna 4 transmission, and had clocked 5464 hours. With a price tag of €25,500 plus vat, this stretched the budget a little, but was a very clean, highly specced tractor.