Why farmers are opting for old tractors instead of new

John Deere

Vintage tractors have quickly become one of the most sought after items at farm auctions. Farmers are scooping up tractors from the late 1970s and 1980s.

The reason is simple, as Adam Belz reports in the Star Tribune. Farmers who are looking to save money and are looking for bargains look to tractors built from that era because they are so well-built and not nearly as complicated or expensive to repair compared to their modern counterparts.

Kris Folland, a corn farmer from Minnesota told the Star Tribune that he opted for an old 1979 John Deere 4440 and retrofitted it with automatic steering guided by satellite. It cost him $18,000 instead of nearly $150,000.

“This is still a really good tractor,” said Folland, who owns two other tractors built before 1982.

The 4440s were built between 1977 and 1982 and was the most popular of the company’s “Iron Horse” series. They usually last between 12,000 and 15,000 hours. If one is made available, it would be smart to expect a bidding war. A 1980 John Deere 4440 with under 2,200 hours recently sold for $43,500.

Repairing older tractors is a major factor as well. If you have a modern piece of equipment go down, you’ll need a computer to fix it, with the older tractors, it can often be fixed on-site.

You know what they say... “They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.”