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Should I Buy a New Tractor or a Used One?

Used tractors are often sold at farm auctions.
A used tractor will cost less than a new one, and might be perfect for someone with a relatively small area of land to cover.
Used farm tractors have their own blue book that gives approximate financial values based on condition and age.
Like other vehicles, tractors will depreciate in value.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Andrey Bandurenko, Michael Gil, Sharynos, Ekina
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2014
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Purchasing farm equipment is often a major investment. For this reason, you want to get the best return for the cost. When it comes to tractors, there are a lot of reasons to consider purchasing a well-maintained used tractor rather than going with a new one. At the same time, a new tractor may be in your best interests. Here are a few considerations to help you decide which option is right for you.

One of the first points to consider is the reality of new tractor depreciation. As with cars and trucks, that new tractor will begin to decrease in value the moment it is delivered to your farm. While this may not be a big deal if you plan on keeping the tractor for only a short time, it can be a major concern if you hope to recoup your investment by selling the equipment in six months or so. If that is your goal, then go with a good quality used tractor. You will come closer to recovering your investment and possibly making a little more if you have made some improvements to the unit.

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One big benefit of purchasing a new tractor is the tax breaks many nations allow on farm equipment. However, keep in mind those tax advantages may only be available if farming is your primary vocation or at least makes up a significant amount of your total annual income. Before spending a lot of money on a new tractor, check the tax laws that apply in your area. If you do not qualify for significant tax deductions on the new equipment, you would do well to purchase a good quality used tractor instead.

Understanding how the tractor will be used is another important consideration. Do you have a small garden, perhaps no more than five acres or so? If that is the case, you will put relatively little wear and tear on the equipment; a good used tractor will cost less and do just as well. On the other hand, if you are a professional farmer with hundreds or thousands of acres to cultivate and harvest, you will want something built to last and in top working order. In this scenario, it may pay you to get a new tractor that comes with a solid warranty and maintenance contract.

Fortunately, you do have one other option to consider. It is possible to purchase refurbished as well as restored tractors that are reliable name brands. Such industry giants like John DeereĀ® and FarmallĀ® are often good sources of both new and refurbished equipment. Check with local dealers on the availability of refurbished units; they often are available at prices similar to used tractors, but have the additional benefit of a limited warranty and possibly even a limited service contract.

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