Of course you should start with why you need a tractor. They are pretty expensive, so the money you put into the tractor is money taken away from your core operation.
Why we wanted/needed a tractor:
We already had a Ford N9, it is a great little tractor. We use it to move snow, plow our little garden, drill post holes, and run the brush hog. So, what we wanted out of our new to us tractor was all of those things with the addition of a front end loader, so that we could move hay round bales and pallets of chicken feed (grain totes as we got bigger). We would save time with the feed and money with the bales.
How did the purchase go? Well, we bought a 1951 Farmall M1, it has a loader and can do everything I needed from a loader, but because of the hydraulic set up I can’t do many of the things I wanted to do with the PTO. Unfortunately, now, instead of having one bigger tractor that does it all, we currently have two tractors each with their own use. Eventually we will sell both and get that bigger (and newer) tractor that does it all.
The hydraulic system
PTO Pump – The Farmall was not originally set up with hydraulics, so a previous owner hooked up the after market hydraulics and loader. They did this using a hydraulic pump that slides over the PTO.
The system works well for running the loader and none PTO implements on the three point in the back. The issue as seen from the picture is that there is no PTO to use once the pump is on the tractors PTO. So I went and purchased the PTO extension that you see on the right. This extension slides onto the PTO, then the pump slides onto the PTO extension and there you go!
Not so much. When hooking up the PTO implement the extension then made the angle on the PTO shaft and knuckles to great, so the system did not work. There are probably some implements that this could work with, but it did not work with the post hole digger, which is a vital tool for most farm or ranchers.
Live hydraulics - Another consideration when purchasing a tractor is whether or not it has "live hydraulics". Live hydraulics are a nice to have if you use the tractor rarely, but it is a major upgrade in terms of operability if you plan to be using the tractor regularly. A live hydraulic system allows the hydraulics to work while the clutch is engaged. Without live hydraulics the tractor either must be moving or in neutral with the clutch disengaged in order to use the hydraulic implements.
The 1951 Farmall M1 unfortunately does not have live hydroponics.
It is pretty warm, with daytime temps in the 60ºs and nighttime temps in the 30ºs. We are completely done with the meat birds for the year. We have partnered with High Five Meats, Strike Farms, and Thirsty Street brewery to start "Farm Fresh Wednesdays". Customers can come pick up their vegetable share from Strike Farms, and depending on what type of meat they want they can get their meat from High Five Meats or Blind Dog Ranch.
The hens are still laying, but we wish that we had at least 100 more. A project for next year I guess.