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Steal Deals - Chore Tractors

In the past when farmers were looking for a chore tractor, it was usually something in the 60-to-80 horsepower range. However, auction competition is heating up now for 150-horsepower tractors, especially those from the 1970s and 80s.

Dave Mowitz is the machinery and technology editor for Successful Farming magazine and has done some research on this trend. He says there is a growing demand for 80-to-100-horsepower tractors by large acreage and small farm owners, pushing up the prices in that category. Because of this, the price-per-horsepower is in favor of buying larger tractors.

"For no more than maybe $3,000-$5,000 or even less, you can pick up a tractor that has more horsepower, certainly has more hydraulics, has a stronger 3-point hitch," says Mowitz. "In other words, it gives you a lot of extra horsepower and bells and whistles that you’re not getting in what would be a more typical chore tractor in the 80-to-100 horsepower range."

Mowitz says look over a vintage tractor for engine leaks and other signs of wear. And above all, get in and start it up.

"If you’re running typically at 1800 rpm or 2000, run it at that speed. Look at the smoke coming out of the exhaust, if it’s dark, it means there could be blow-by. That’s engine oil getting up into the pistons and burning off, or it’s over-fueling. Next thing you do is drive it around, go through the gears," he says. "You’re going to be listening for sounds in the transmission."

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