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Tough, tiny tractors

What to look for in a compact tractor

For acreage owners, the compact tractor is a compromise between a riding lawn mower and a large tractor. It's small enough to be manageable, yet it packs enough power to tackle many of the chores around your property. Before you slide into the driver's seat, machinery expert Greg Peterson says you should consider these buying points.

Peterson, owner of F.A.C.Ts Report (800/381-0423 or www.machinerypete.com), says attachments and horsepower are two key features property owners should look at before buying.

"A big factor would be the various attachments they'd need, such as mowers and loaders," he says.

Be aware of the availability and cost of attachments. According to a leading manufacturer, the loader and mower are popular attachments. Mowers range in price from $1,500 to $2,500; while the loader ranges from $3,000 to $3,500.

Peterson also suggests you make sure the model you're looking at can handle the attachments you'll need for the chores around your acreage.

"Determine what horsepower tractor best fits the bill for the jobs you'll need to tackle," he says.

Compare models with similar PTO (power take-off) horsepower. A more efficient drivetrain provides increased power to implements, which makes you more productive.

Drivetrain efficiency is the ratio of gross engine horsepower transferred to the PTO. This ratio is important because most tractor applications, such as mowing, rely on the rear or mid-PTO to get the job done.

With your list of chores in hand, get out there and take a test drive. On the next two pages are just a few of the compact tractor models available. For a complete list of what is available, visit the company's Web site.

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