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A tractor to plant and plow

Justin Davey 03/04/2013 @ 11:04am

Maybe a piece of machinery was handed down to you once you started farming, and while it might not be exactly what you wanted, you were happy for the gift. Maybe you bought it on your own and your needs or tastes have changed over time. Either way, having the right tractor for the job is important on the farm, and Farmers For The Future members are debating the capabilities of various machines for planting and tillage.

“I'm looking for a four-wheel-drive or front-wheel-assist tractor to do tillage and planting work,” says Matt Weemhoff of Bellville, Ohio. “I currently plant and plow with an IH 1086, and it does a good job. But I'd like to get something that's able to pull better in wet and low spots. For the longest time, I've loved the look of the IH 2+2 tractors. Two guys in my area farm with them. One uses a 3588 as a chopper tractor; one has a 3388 pulling a JD 7200 eight-row planter. They say they're pretty decent old tractors. However, I've heard horror stories. Has anyone else had experience with them – good or bad?”

Network member Bronson Allred says, “They are usually the same as everything else. Take care of them, and they'll probably do fine. The front axles on the 3×88 Series weren't recommended to have duals, but people do it anyway and wonder why their stuff breaks all the time. Some people swear by them; others can't stand them.

“If you can find one, a 6788 would probably be the best bet, but it's a bit of a rare tractor. I believe only 200 to 300 were built,” Allred continues. “A guy I worked for last summer had a 6788, and he acted like it was one of the better tractors he had owned. Most 2+2 fanatics will tell you that if you treat one like a front-wheel-assist tractor and not a 4×4, it will last just fine.”

DelShane Kluge adds to the discussion by saying, “I have no personal experience with them, but I had a few neighbors who ran them when I was growing up. They're not a good tractor for pulling hard. A lot of guys used them just for their drills, corn planters, and other row-crop work. They got by with them all right and bought a Steiger or a Versatile for their heavy tillage work. In my opinion, if you want to get into a good red tractor, look at something newer, like a 3394. You see a lot of them. Older 850 Versatiles or old Steiger Bearcats sell for around $5,000 on auctions. Keep your 1086 for planting.”

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2 for 1 tractor trade? 03/25/2013 @ 10:44am I have a related question, should one do a two for one tractor trade instead? If a person uses their 300 hp tillage tractor about 300 hours/year and their 150 hp planter/sprayer tractor about 300 hour/year, they could own one 300 hp MFWD and use it for everything. By doubling the hours of use for the big tractor, the per hour operating costs drop significantly. Total ownership costs work out the same, but one would only have one tractor to maintain that is half as old and could be kept more current (reliable?) for the same money. The down side is that the tractor would spend half of its life idling through the field. The extra weight and tire tracks might have some impact on yield, but I am not sure how to quantify it. I can argue that either way is the only correct answer. Any great insights?

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