Consider the total package when buying a tractor.

PURCHASING A TRACTOR IS NOT A MATTER TO BE TAKEN LIGHTLY. Due to the considerable expense involved, price is often the purchasers main, if not, only concern. Whilst the cost of the equipment is always a relevant factor one shouldn’t overlook other key issues including warranty, fuel efficiency and resale value.

The length and reliability of your warranty can pay returns very quickly, whether on a new or a used machine. All tractors will need parts and repairs at some point. Whilst a local dealer is great, in some areas of Africa this is not always feasible. It might pay to consider a dealer further away that offers a better after sales service and a larger parts inventory. A reliable warranty and trusted dealer will pay big dividends in the heat of planting and harvesting, when lengthy down times are not an option.

Rising fuel costs are top of mind for many farmers and thus the drive to improve fuel efficiency is not just among makers of cars but has caught the attention of tractor makers who are rolling out more efficient machines. Energy costs have become a significant part of total farm expenditure. Farmers are very aware that the proper selection and management of tractors is necessary to keep production costs at an acceptable level. One tractor model might cost a little less but if it burns 20 percent more diesel, it doesn’t take too long before the difference is made up in its annual fuel bill. The cost of the unit must be considered over the useful life of the tractor.

The second hand value of your tractor will be important in the future. At some point, whatever tractor you buy will have to be sold. Buying a more well-known brand will ensure that in the future you will have no trouble finding a new home for the machine and that dealers will be comfortable trading the brand. Also worth considering is nationwide market-share of a particular manufacturer. If a brand has a higher market share compared to other tractors, then that tractor will also be more popular in the used tractor market. With used tractor values on the rise, farmers should ask about the number of engine hours that give the optimum resale value for trade-ins and resale’s.

The very last thing that should be considered - the purchase price - is usually where a farmer wants to start. According to Jacques Taylor, Managing Director (John Deere Financial Sub-Saharan Africa), “The dynamics of equipment ownership are changing and more farmers are considering the total package and benefits of the tractor that they are buying rather than just looking at the purchase price. Farmers are looking at what the tractor will ultimately cost in the long run.”