Farm Ireland

Friday 20 April 2018

Top tips on how to bag a bargain tractor

Derek Casey

Derek Casey

SOME OF the considerations farmers need to make before deciding to purchase a second-hand tractor are:

1. where will you buy from — franchised dealer, private seller, UK versus Ireland?

2. decide on and stick to your budget;

3. what work will the tractor be tasked with?

4. what are the basic mechanical checks to look out for?

For many, the first question of where to buy from will pose the biggest dilemma.

There are pros and cons to each op­tion. Well known and reputable tractor dealers will be more expensive, but the flip side is they tend to have the best after-sales support and usually offer some form of warranty.

Even on second-hand tractors worth less than €20,000, the more reputable dealers will offer up to six months war­ranty. That peace of mind in knowing there is some comeback, even when buying a used tractor, is priceless.

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Some buyers are inclined to take more risk in a bid to pay less.

For such farmers, buying privately or looking across the water is often an attractive option, but the old mantra ‘buyer beware’ is relevant here.

Private or distant sellers will be a mixed bag — some will be genuine and offering good machines; others will be trying to offload a problematic tractor and, of course, turn a profit in doing so. Remember, they don’t have to face you again should the proverbial hit the fan.

The answers to question three will come from sitting down and making a list of the jobs the tractor will be charged with doing.

A tractor used for just spreading fertiliser and some light loader and transport work can realistically be a smaller powered and cheaper option.

But if you plan on doing more pow­er-hungry jobs like winter feeding, spreading slurry, hauling bales and mowing silage, it is better to look for more power and a four-wheel drive unit.

All of the usual specification details are important and, if not offered on viewing, you should ask the seller for information on the tractor’s gearbox type, hydraulic output, lift capacity and cab spec.

Don’t just take the information for gospel — go and do your own research on similar models and cross check with what you see on your potential purchase. Over the years, we have all heard of tales of farmers being found in possession of stolen goods after money has changed hands. There is no come­back, so ensure you check out owner­ship and finance-owed position before letting money change hands.

If you are suspicious about a seller, simply go with your gut feeling and walk away. It goes without saying you should ensure you are in possession of the new registration cert and ownership trans­ferral procedures have been followed correctly.

Bringing someone with a basic mechanical knowledge along to view the tractor and checking some basics is always worthwhile. Remember, if it means throwing them a few euro, it can be money well spent because it factors in some peace of mind. If you can’t find anyone to come along, know some of the basic boxes that need to be ticked from a mechanical point of view.

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