How to Choose a Tractor Size for Small Acreage

Written by regan hennessy
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For many people who've just acquired their dream farm or homestead, trying to choose the correct tractor size for small acreage can be confusing, especially with all the tractor terminology you have to learn. It's important that you select a tractor that can handle the jobs you throw at it, since choosing a tractor that is too small stresses the engine and increases your chances of having equipment breakdowns. Successfully choosing the tractor size for your small acreage requires that you have a clear understanding of exactly what sort of jobs you'll need your tractor to perform.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Evaluate your property. How many acres do you have? Is your land flat or mountainous? Answering questions such as these will help you get a clear idea of the size tractor you'll need. For instance, if you only have 3 acres of cleared, flat land, you might be able to just use your riding lawnmower instead of investing in a tractor. On the other hand, 15 acres of crops that you need to care for and harvest each year require a farm tractor capable of powering other equipment.

  2. 2

    List the jobs you do that require a tractor. For instance, cleaning out your cow barn and spreading the manure on your fields or garden would go a lot faster if you used a tractor. Include on your list how frequently you have to perform these jobs, as well.

  3. 3

    Determine what kind of implements and attachments you'll need since some implements require more horsepower to operate than others. For instance, maintaining a lot of fences requires a posthole digger attachment. Similarly, if you have horse paddocks, most likely you'll need to purchase a mower implement or attachment. These attachments typically require a small utility tractor of approximately 30 horsepower. Remember the work you'll need to do throughout the year that may require additional attachments, like a front-end loader or a snow scraper.

  4. 4

    Talk to a knowledgeable farm equipment dealer about tractor sizes. Share your list of tractor-related chores and tell him what types of implements you anticipate that you'll need. According to the Iowa State University Cooperative Extension, the tractor size you need for a specific job depends upon a range of factors, including the width of the implement you wish to use, the speed of your tractor and the type of soil you're working with. A knowledgeable farm equipment dealer is familiar with these factors and can help you select the tractor that best fits the size of your property.

Tips and warnings

  • Horsepower is the measurement of power for tractors; 1 horsepower is the amount of energy needed to move 15kg, a distance of 1 foot in 1 minute.

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