4 Essential tips for buying used farm equipment

4 essential tips for used farm equipment

photo by PublicDomainPictures on pixabay

While I was thinking about what farming equipment I need to buy when I get my farm, something dawned on me. I have no idea what to look for when buying used to farm equipment, so I took to Twitter to ask what tips you have for buying used farm equipment.

The response I got was very welcome. My friend Lori(@AprilFuel) provided some much-needed information.


The first tip that I got was research, research and more research. Research is so important is because it gives you an idea about the type of equipment you are looking at. It also helps you get an idea about what is a good price for the piece of equipment you want to buy.

You should research the make of the piece of equipment you are looking at, the age of the equipment, and the its condition. For example,  John Deere is a decent brand. What years are good years for John Deere? Those are the types of questions that you need to ask.

We know not all equipment is equal. Sometimes you will run into a situation where one piece of equipment is better than the other piece of equipment. That is why research is so important. It helps you find which makes are the best. It helps decide what age is too old, and it helps you find what condition is okay.

Questions you might ask yourself when doing research:

  • What am I going use it for?
  • What make is the best?
  • What is the best year?
  • What year(s) should you avoid?
  • What are common problems?
  • What are the repair costs if any?
  • Does it function?
  • What is the cost of replacement parts?
  • What is a good price?
  • What price is a deal?
  • What price is a rip off?

I found a very detailed website about tractors that has detailed information about tractors specifically. It is mostly information just about the specifications, but it is still helpful.


What the tool looks like is not vital to its functionality. We all know the old expression, “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” We should apply the same to farming equipment. Just because farming equipment doesn’t look fancy and brand-new, doesn’t mean it won’t get the job done. This is particularly true if you are a new farmer. You can’t afford the fanciest equipment out there. Keep that in perspective when you’re looking at equipment

Sometimes when equipment has been outside it doesn’t look as good as it actually is. Despite the fact it has been outside,  it doesn’t mean a piece of equipment won’t work perfectly.


Make sure you have the aptitude to test the piece of equipment. If you don’t know how to check the piece of equipment you are looking to buy, chances are you either a need somebody to help you, or you did not do enough research. In either case, it is helpful to have a friend with you. They can be your second set of eyes to catch anything you might miss.

If what you’re looking at is a new tractor, try starting the tractor to make sure that it runs. If the tractor is not able to start, you need to decide how much work will go into the tractor to get it to work. Sometimes just by looking at the piece of equipment you can judge whether it will start or not. Sometimes all it needs is a bit of elbow grease and it will start, other times they will need a lot of hard labour.

Can you fix it

Make sure you are mechanically inclined. That is to say, can you fix a broken piece of equipment. If you are not able to fix a piece of equipment, make sure you know somebody who can. This is where community is of vital importance in farming. When you have friends you can always call on them to help you fix is equipment.

Further reading for new farmers

Do you have any other tips for new farmers when buying used farm equipment?


  1. Hopefully i will be looking at retirement soon would not be a young farmer (age 54) and I am thinking about a family hay farm. Reading your research has been very informational. During your research, have you viewed any business plan for a small hay farm?

  2. There’s certainly a lot to find out about this subject.
    I love alll of the points you’ve made.

  3. Remembering that the way that it appears may not be the way it performs is a good thing. Checking the appearance of the important functions is what is important. Asking for maintenance logs if they have them would be helpful.

  4. Great post! This has valuable information on choosing to buy farm equipment. I will enjoy sharing this with my Dad. Thank you!

  5. RUDY BOLL says:

    regarding purchasing any equipment it is always smart to do a prepurchase inspection and pay a professional to evaluate said equipment!!! thanks rudy

  6. I like how you pointed out that you do need to do some research to get the equipment that you want. I know that it’s hard to find what you’re looking for, but it’s important to realize that not all sellers are posting about it everywhere. I will try to go meet some other farmers to see if they are selling the equipment that I want, or even if they know someone.

  7. Very informative. I am planning to buy used farm equipment and the info provided by you is very helpful for me. I will keep in mind all the above info. Thanks and keep sharing.

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