Do your research before you buy a new tractor and find the right machine!
How much does a tractor cost? This is a little like asking how long is a piece of string! There are many different factors to consider.
Buying a tractor is often a significant investment, so it pays to do your research first before you jump into buying.
This article gives you a good idea of how much a tractor costs. As well as looking at the price of the machine itself, we’ll look at all the other costs involved in running a tractor. It’s important to factor these into your calculations.
The Cost of Buying a Tractor
How much a tractor costs depends on lots of different variables.
You might be buying secondhand, in which case list prices of new vehicles will not be relevant.
You might want different options on your tractor – from loader and backhoe attachments to 4 wheel drive, added comfort and the latest tech.
You also need to think about the work you will be doing with the tractor, and what size engine will be necessary to get the job done right.
As well as the cost of buying the tractor, you will need to factor in the operational costs for running your new machine day-to-day. We’ll cover this in more detail below.
New tractors can cost anything from $10,000 to more than US$400,000 for the newest, biggest models. This is an enormous price range because there are so many variables – so we’ve broken it down for you a bit more below.
How Much a New Tractor Costs
Generally, you can get a rough idea of how much a tractor costs when you look at the engine power.
A tractor with anything up to 80hp is likely to be a top price of US$50,000. Many tractors of this size cost less. An engine with up to 80hp is usually most suitable for smaller farming operations.
If you are looking to buy something with at least 100hp, you will probably be looking at a cost range of US$50,000 to US$75,000.
New tractors with 100-150hp can range in price from US$75,000-US$150,000 and above. A price tag of US$200,000 for a new tractor is not unusual.
The biggest tractors for large-scale farming can be high-tech and cost over US$400,000.
It’s worth saying that the list price is not often the price you will pay. It is a starting point for a negotiation with your local dealer. Think about what you are bringing in terms of finance and how you can make the deal work for you.
What other costs are involved?
List prices are usually the base price for any particular tractor model. If you want extras, you will need to allow extra budget on top. Check what’s included as standard in the price.
Attachments such as a backhoe or a loading bucket, for example, might cost an extra US$5,000. Different types of transmission systems cost extra. Cab features, from Bluetooth to ergonomic seating, will often be additional options.
As well as the cost to buy the tractor itself, you will want to factor in running costs. This includes the cost of fuel, manpower, maintenance and repairs, tools, insurance and housing.
Iowa State University has put together a comprehensive list of all the costs involved in buying and running tractors. Their analysis includes lots of useful formulas to help you calculate the overall cost to your farm per hour and per acre.
The example Iowa State University used in their calculations above is a 180hp tractor with a list price of US$200,000 being used 400 hours per year.
Spread the Cost of a New Tractor
Buying a tractor is a major expense. The newest models can be out of the price range of some businesses.
Dealers will often offer finance deals to spread the costs of a big purchase. Loans are another way to spread the cost over a manageable timeframe. Banks may offer lower interest rates than dealers.
Buying Secondhand Tractors
Buying used tractors is increasingly popular because many new tractor models are not affordable for small-scale farmers.
The increasing popularity of secondhand tractors has seen prices for 30- to 40-year-old tractors rise significantly over the last 10 years. The older tractors are easier to fix than newer, software-driven models which often require a call-out.
How much does a secondhand tractor cost?
This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many variables involved – different makes, models, engines, ages and sizes.
You could get a secondhand tractor from anything between US$2,000 for the smallest 40hp tractor you can buy to US$75,000 for a 175hp model.
It’s worth thinking first about the horsepower you are going to need for your tractor, and then start the search from there and see which brands and models come up.
Look carefully at how many hours the used tractor has already done and the likely lifespan of the machine. Don’t buy something that’s got next-to-no life left in it.