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It's not like there aren't huge amounts of second-hand farm equipment that already exists, either. My dad is still running a John Deere M tractor from at least the early 50s, and all of the implements that we hook onto it are at least of that vintage (manure spreader, mowing machine, plow, harrows, potato hiller, potato digger, etc). Farming equipment was built ruggedly in those days, and it was simple enough that you can keep fixing and patching and welding it up almost indefinitely.

A lot of times, people will even pay you to haul that kind of stuff off for them, if they don't know what they have.




> Farming equipment was built ruggedly in those days, and it was simple enough that you can keep fixing and patching and welding it up almost indefinitely.

Interesting thing about the little old tractors, they were generally just the engine & transmission, with a seat stuck on top of the transmission and wheels attached. No real body or frame to speak of, it was all drivetrain. See this pic for an example: https://cdn1.mecum.com/auctions/gf0311/gf0311-103923/images/...


I am using little Japanese tractor (Kubota) built in 80s on my farm. There is thriving industry importing those directly from Japan. They are very simple, there is basically no electronics, everything could be repaired by hammer and will last lifetime. Only downside is that even 25 years old tractor is still more expensive then my car, but it is still worth it.

If somebody want to improve the world and help poorest they should just invent ways to produce those inexpensively and sell them in poor areas. Productivity will skyrocket.


I've got a Kubota myself (B-7800). Very simple; I do all the maintenance on it with just basic shop tools.


Even modern large tractors, save articulating ones, have pretty much the same basic design. Granted, now you get a nice comfortable cab instead of a hunk of metal to sit on.


Modern farm tractors are connected in all sorts of ways to the Internet.


That doesn't change the same basic engine connected to the transmission design though.


Yep, my favorite bike is this one http://www.bikemenu.com/Jesse%20James%20Peterbilt%20Discover...

He sits on the transmission.

I grew up on a farm in the 60's, before the era of AC and GPS controlled tractors. Most everything was fixable on the farm with a pretty minimal tool chest


What's meant by "GPS controlled tractors"? I know what GPS is but not clear how it is used in tractors; similar to how it's used in cars?


As far as tractors go, the primary function is localization for automatic steering and other function automation (raising an implement on the headlands, for instance), and, especially in older systems, simply being aware of where you have already crossed the field.

Once you attach an implement, then there are all kinds of other functions that it may be used for, like variable rate application. In harvesting applications, there are systems where the combine can take over control of the grain cart tractor while unloading on the go to make sure it stays in the right spot, again localized via GPS. The combine itself will also map the crop yields by its location, and of course automatic steering like the tractors have.

With RTK these tractors can achieve centimetre accuracy and repeatability which opens the door for all kinds of possibilities.


Plowing, planting, fertilizer and picking can be done within inches. A farmer can now plan on the contours of the land and the tractor can steer. This allows for higher yields and better land usage.

Not to say that plowing, etc isn't exciting work, but with the tractor doing most of the work, you can rock out to tunes in your AC environment. When they install the GPS steering, there is a free minifridge. :-)


Yup, one of the things that floored me when I start looking into compact tractors was the concept of heavy machinery that's build to last 30-40 years and tons of abuse.

If you want to know why a compact tractor costs more than a new car that's a large part of the reason. These are things made to be abused day-in and day-out.

We ended up picking up a '81 Ford that has more than 2000 hours and still runs like a champ.


Is this perhaps a case of survivorship bias? Surely there are plenty of brands/models of the tractor and implements which have critical flaws exposed only over time.


Yes, but not as much as you'd think. Tractors are very simple, very rugged devices built to be run all day in a punishing environment. It's not surprising that many 50+ year-old ones are still running.

Old ones are little more than engine, transmission and maybe hydraulics.


Does it matter at this point? If you are shopping for used equipment and all the early fails have been filtered out already then that's a good thing.


> My dad is still running a John Deere M tractor from at least the early 50s, and all of the implements that we hook onto it are at least of that vintage

My tractor is about five years old, but the haying implements I hook on (specifically, the New Holland 271 baler) are about as old as I am (45).




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