Tractors are the main machines used in agriculture, but they are also used in forestry, municipal operations, horticulture, airports and construction (road construction, earth-moving, gardening and landscaping). In Austria and Germany, the official term for a tractor according to traffic law is a "towing machine". You find a lot of used tractors at classified.fwi.co.uk.
At the start of the 19th century, the development of a new, modern tractor generation began: engineers developed the first self-propelled implements. In the following years, more and more manufacturers continued to design the motor plough introduced by Robert Stock in 1908.
This also marked the start of the competition among manufacturers, and competitors were able to learn from the mistakes of the pioneers. At the suggestion of Professor Bernstein from Halle, the first MAN portable plough was developed in 1916, prevailing over the competition thanks largely to its technical innovations. The decisive advantage of the MAN portable plough, however, was the possibility of attaching various additional implements. This not only brought it closer to the newly emerging tractors, but also made it a direct forerunner of the implement carriers that appeared in the 1950s.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Alvin Lombard patented the principle (which is well-known today) of track-laying vehicles, including bulldozers and tracked tractors.
Tracked tractors are vehicles with a track-laying system, which was once used mainly for military purposes. Today, tracked tractors and other track-laying vehicles are frequently used on construction sites and in larger agricultural business, as they exert less pressure on the ground. Most track-laying vehicles are powered by a diesel engine. The track-laying system consists of a caterpillar track that runs from the drive wheel of the undercarriage in the direction of travel.
The step towards mechanisation
The great mechanisation of agriculture followed the economic boom after the Second World War. In the 1950s, a significant number of companies started to offer tractors and agricultural machinery. Some of these companies gained importance only at a regional level, while others managed to internationalise over the course of the century. Today, agricultural machinery is increasing in size and performance. Today, an average tractor has an engine output of over 100hp; in the mid-1950s, this number was a modest 15hp. The inventions of rear three-point suspension with hydraulics (three-point hydraulics) by Harry Ferguson, and the PTO, which became generally accepted from around 1960 onwards, were also significant milestones in the development of tractors. Thus the agricultural tractor became a very versatile implement carrier. In today's tractors, the driver sits in an air-conditioned cabin that offers protection from dust and noise during harvesting operations. Tractors have become high-tech machines thanks to modern electrical engineering and computers: settings can be adjusted using a touch-screen and a joystick is used to control various functions.
"Precision Farming" has found its way into the tractor and is its new motto.
It indicates the optimisation of resources. This means that when sowing, fertilising and spraying, the precise quantities are applied that are necessary for an optimum yield.
In addition, unnecessary overlaps are avoided during harvesting and soil cultivation.
"Precision farming" is only possible with the use of state-of-the-art technology.
A significant advantage of tractors in general is that they demonstrate hardly any limitations in driving behaviour, regardless of different soil conditions.
This is mainly due to the fact that modern tractors are usually equipped with four-wheel drive. In new and used tractors, too, four-wheel drive allows all four wheels to be driven equally.
This increases the action of force on the road surface. Tractors with all-wheel drive were first produced in 1907 by the gas engine factory Deutz AG. The technology proved so successful in agriculture that almost all tractors are now equipped with all-wheel drive. This is also true for a large part of other agricultural machinery.
Tractor driving: which requirements must be met?
A prerequisite for driving a tractor is the possession of a tractor driving licence. A distinction is made between driving licence categories L and T, which can be acquired before reaching 18 years of age.
You can find more information about safety measures and which requirements to observe when working with tractors on our tractorpool blog. It also touches upon tax and insurance issues that the owner of an agricultural machine should be aware of.
Buying a used tractor
Once you have selected your preferred tractor model, there is nothing to prevent you from purchasing from certified private and commercial dealers on Farmers Weekly. If you have the opportunity to test drive the chosen tractor before purchasing, you should take advantage of this offer.
Agricultural equipment brands of used tractors
Tractors from well-known manufacturers such as John Deere, Fendt, Deutz, Claas and many other brands of agricultural machinery for use in agriculture and forestry or in municipal operations can be found on the current offer pages of Farmers Weekly.
On our tractorpool blog you can also find the tractorpool checklist for buying a used tractor.