Are you in search of a reliable tractor brand? Often thought of as simple machines, tractors are actually quite diverse, and considered by some to be smart work horses. Statistics reveal the impact of tractors on society. Research firm Mordor Intelligence valued the global tractors market in 2020 at USD 66.5 billion. The firm predicts value will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly five percent. This means the market will reach USD 87.45 billion by 2026.
According to a poll published by Farm Equipment Magazine, 33.7 percent of agricultural equipment dealers in the US expect their dealerships to be two to seven percent more profitable in 2021 compared to 2020. In this poll, 8.7 percent believe their dealership will be more profitable by at least eight percent.
The agricultural tractor machinery market is segmented into the following categories: less than 40 HP, 40 to 100 HP, above 100 HP, and four-wheel drive (FWD). Over time, tractor companies have proven to be innovative, providing advanced technologies, numerous tractor implements, and niche-specific customizations in their machines.
In North America, the agricultural tractor machinery market is consolidated, with few players dominating competition. Of the big name companies, here are the most reliable tractor brands in North America.
1. Deere and Company
Bearing a distinctive green color for generations, John Deere is a reliable tractor brand with tractors in the 22 HP to 640 HP range. Founded by a man named John Deere, the company manufactured their first tractors in 1918 after purchasing the Waterloo Engine Gas Company. Their first tractors were named the Waterloo Boy and the John Deere Tractor. The John Deere tractor included features that weren’t common on other tractors until much later, such as all-wheel drive, a friction-drive transmission, and a high-speed four-cylinder engine. Today, the company offers a range of products for every tractor application: compact, utility, low-clearance, high-clearance, narrow, row, four-wheel drive, two-track and four-track.
2. New Holland
This company was founded by Abe Zimmerman in 1895 in New Holland, Pennsylvania. New Holland introduced their first tractor in 1917, called the Ford. Since then, the company has been owned by many other companies: Sperry Corporation (1947), Ford Motor Company (1986), FiatAgri (1991) and CNH Global N.V. (1999). In 2013, CNH Global N.V. and Fiat Industrial S.p.A. merged into CNH Industrial N.V. New Holland, Pennsylvania serves as the location for the company’s North American operations, with its global operations stationed in Turin, Italy. Today, the company manufactures more than 23 series of tractors that range from 22 HP to 682 HP.
3. Case IH
Case IH is the combination of two tractor manufacturers. In 1876, J. I. Case and Company (Case) invented the first self-propelled steam-powered tractor, and the first gasoline-powered tractor in 1892. Gasoline-powered equipment didn’t go over well at first, so the company reintroduced it in 1911. Meanwhile, McCormick Harvesting Machines and several other companies merged into the International Harvester Company in 1902. They released the Titan tractor in 1910 followed by the first commercial power take off (PTO) in 1919. In 1985, the two companies merged to form Case IH, which is owned by CNH Industrial N.V. The company still manufactures tractors out of Racine, Wisconsin. Models range from 30 HP to 620 HP and cater to the agricultural, utility, and compact tractor markets.
Kubota Corporation began as Ohde Casting in Japan during the year1890. The company was founded by Gonshiro Ohde. Ohde cast machine parts and kitchen items, before manufacturing pipes and machines. Kubota Match Machine Manufacturers owner, Toshiro Kubota, told Gonshiro Ohde that he would like to adopt Ohde. Ohde agreed and changed his last name to Kubota. In 1930, the company divided into two independent entities—Kubota Iron Works and Kubota Iron Works Machinery. The latter first produced, among other items, engines for agricultural machines, then started producing their own machines. The company entered the North American tractor market in 1969. Kubota offers a large range of models from the sub-compact to agricultural to specialty with models that range from 16 HP to 200 HP.
5. Massey Ferguson
Massey Ferguson is the result of a merger between two tractor companies, Massey-Harris (US) and Ferguson (UK) in 1952. Moreover, Massey-Harris is an combination of two farm equipment manufacturers (1892), who produced their first tractor in 1919. Meanwhile, Harry Ferguson, who had been developing farm implements for Model Ts converted these into tractors. He produced his first tractor—the Ferguson-Brown—in 1936. In 1994, Massey Ferguson became, along with Fendt (1997), Challenger (2002), and Valtra (2004), an agricultural equipment manufacturing division of Allis-Gleaner Corporation (AGCO), which is based out of Duluth, Georgia. Today, Massey Ferguson has several lines of tractors from sub-compact to utility to high-horsepower in the 24 HP to 400 HP range.
In Germany, in 1930, Johann Georg Fendt sold the first Fendt-branded, diesel-powered tractor to a local farmer. The farmer named his new machine the “Dieselross” (which is German for diesel horse). Fendt adopted the name and, along with his sons Hermann and Xaver, began manufacturing more and larger units. The company was incorporated in 1937 as Xaver Fendt GmbH & Co. In 1997, AGCO purchased Fendt, and that is when Fendt’s tractor sales in North America skyrocketed. Today, Fendt manufactures tractors in the 124 HP to 673 HP range and only for the agricultural market.
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August Claas, son of an agricultural equipment manufacturer, founded Claas in 1913 in Germany as a straw binder manufacturer. In 1914, his brothers Franz junior and Bernhard joined the company. Their fourth brother didn’t join the company until 1940. In time the company became well-known for manufacturing combines across Europe. In 1999, the company established facilities in the US. They didn’t enter the tractor market until the acquisition of Renault Agriculture in 2003. Claas manufactures only three tractors for the North American market; they are all agricultural tractors in the 210 HP to 530 HP range.
Deutz-Fahr came into existence in 1968 when Deutz—a German-based engine manufacturer with the company Klockner-Humboldt-Deutz AG (KHD) group—purchased the majority share of Fahr. Fahr was a German-based agricultural equipment manufacturer who had been manufacturing tractors since 1938. Their first tractor was a 22 HP model called the Fahr F22. In 1985, the company purchased Allis-Chalmers, and that purchase ended up being a bad investment for the company, so they sold it to AGCO. In 1995 Deutz-Fahr joined the Italian Group SAME to become the SAME Deutz-Fahr Group (SDF Group). The company now manufactures 14 agricultural tractors between 65 HP and 336 HP.
Now that you have a greater understanding of tractors and the market’s history, you’re one step closer to finding one that meets your needs. These smart work horses are worth the investment. Find the best used tractors to be kind to your wallet while picking up a great work horse for years to come.