There was a time when farmers were more than a little thrifty when it came to investing in their machinery. John Deere used to promote the fact its tractors could run on “inexpensive” distillate, rather than regular gasoline to prove to potential buyers their machines offered value. Take a look at the operators’ stations on tractors of the ’40s and ’50s. They don’t even have backs on the seats.
To put it plainly, farmers didn’t go in for comfort over savings. Cheaper trumped more comfortable.
Today, however, things are different. Manufacturers now advertise operator comfort and operation ease as prime selling features. Of course, air conditioned cabs were not even available to some previous generations.
But back in the day, one manufacturer, International Harvester, promoted a program that would allow owners to take their older tractors (usually devoid of creature comforts) in to dealers. It suggested they have the engines overhauled, and maybe install newer, upgraded pistons to pull five or 10 more ponies out of them, and then top it off with a new paint job.
Those “Paint and Power Days” pro- motions eventually died out. But now with the high cost of new machinery and low commodity prices, the financial calculation of buying new equipment may look a little different to many producers. Taking in a 10- or 20-year- old tractor for an overhaul, upgrade and new paint may once again make a lot of sense. And it could still offer that new tractor feel.
There are several generations of high-horsepower tractors out there capable of still efficiently working on a farm. And the lure of a “pre-emissions” engine and the simplicity that goes with that adds another incentive for farmers to think about “new paint, new power” on an existing tractor — or a lower-cost one found at an auction.
So we at Grainews decided to find out who among you have already turned to this idea as a way to repower a farm tractor and save money. In the first instalment in the series in this issue, Nathan Flenker of Iowa shared his experience with his refurbished 6588 2+2.
If you’ve redone a tractor to give it an as-new look and the reliability of something off the dealer’s lot (or better), let us know, we’d love to feature your experiences here in upcoming pages of Grainews.