One of the last portions of the recent 2023 Rhode Island Women in Agriculture Conference was a tractor demonstration led by Dan James of the Rhode Island Harvesting Company, which provide customers with tractors and attachments and the parts and service to keep them running smoothly.

The tractor being demonstrated at the conference was a Kubota LA535. Kubota makes a wide variety of products including tractors and other ag equipment, construction equipment, engines, pipe valves, pumps and more.

The newest tractor models feature some of the newest safety features too. Some worth mentioning are the operator presence seat – the tractor will not start if there is no one sitting in the seat. It also will not start if your foot is on the pedal. These newer models come with dual mirrors and advanced LED lighting. This particular Kubota also comes with a level indicator on the bucket, so you’ll know right away if you have an uneven load.

A tractor is an investment, so you want to make sure you get a good one that will last. James said a well-maintained Kubota will typically last between 4,500 to 5,500 gauged hours. If you have the time and know-how to properly care for this type of tractor, you could actually exceed 10,000 hours.

When choosing a tractor, you want to make sure that you choose the right one for you. Tractors provide many uses, such as land clearing, cultivation and farming, easy livestock management, emergency help during natural disasters, landscaping and construction projects. You’ll also want to decide between investing in a two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive tractor. Four-wheel drive tractors work better on hills and with wet ground conditions. Also determine if you want a cab on the tractor. Do you need a cab for the purpose for which the tractor will be used?

In farming specifically, tractors are used for spreading fertilizer, pulling other farm equipment such as plows, planters and combines, and harvesting and cultivating crops. Most of your modern tractors come with cast iron front axles for extra power and strength, and have the capacity to withstand a lot of pressure or even damage.

The features on newer tractors, such as power shift and hydrostatic transmission, have made farming life easier. They have power steering, air conditioning in the cab, three-point linkages and front loaders. They have led to being able to perform farm functions faster, and with greater precision.

Tractors have come a long way in recent years. Make sure you do your research and choose the one that will best suit your needs.

by Susan Llewellyn