What size tractor do you need?
Toni McAllister/Reviewed Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory
Getting the right size tractor for your horse farm really does depend on what you want to accomplish with the equipment and how much you’re willing to pay for it. Budget aside, horsepower (HP) is the most basic distinction between tractor models because it dictates the type of work you can do and what types of attachments you can use. Typically, the more HP a tractor has, the more you can do with it … and the more money you’ll pay for it.
Tractors with less than 25 HP probably aren’t powerful enough for most horse farms. These tractors can handle minor grounds maintenance like lawn mowing, but for bigger jobs like moving heavy materials, pasture mowing and tilling, you’ll need something brawnier. Generally speaking, the average horse farm is well served with a tractor that has between 25 and 65 HP. However, if you are growing and harvesting crops or baling hay, you’ll probably need a bigger tractor, depending on your acreage.
Keep in mind that in some tractors, the amount of HP available to power attachments through the power-take-off (PTO) connection is less than the overall engine horsepower. Some attachments have more specific HP requirements than others, so make sure you check these ratings carefully.
Buying a tractor that’s too small limits your ability to tackle larger jobs, but buying a tractor that’s too big is an unnecessary expense and costs more in ongoing fuel. Also, larger tractors require more space and have a larger turning radius, not to mention they’re heavier and do more damage to grounds than smaller models.