New demand for very old farm tractors specifically because they're low tech

Originally published at:


Farmer William Adama: My farm is still alive and hootin’ because I refused to upgrade to them there gosh darn fancy tractors!


Same with new cars. Same with new home appliances. Everything basically. Gibson tried to do it to a guitar!


I not only support these efforts because I heartily dislike the newer DRM-parts model, I also really like the fact that older machines get more use, instead of rusting away in the corner of someone’s field.


How soon until it is cheaper to buy an industrial 3D printer and print your new tractor and any replacement parts? That day will be the death knell for tractor manufacturers. I wouldn’t be surprised if the farmers electrify the tractors and open source them while they are at it.


“Everything old is new again.”


The unfortunate reality of someone else’s revenue streams… :thinking: :flushed: :disappointed:

1 Like

I’m wondering how long it will be before someone starts producing new old-fashioned DRM free tractors… it seems like an American company making tractors here (out of mostly foreign components) would probably be able to get a bunch of converts from the old Green, Blue, and Red brands pretty quickly. And I would imagine selling DRM-free open-source tractors would be pretty profitable…


Being able to repair the gear you depend on yourself, or at the very least be able to take it to an independent to repair, is totally essential. I can’t imagine agricultural dealerships are any better than car dealerships, which are terrible money-wringing operations.

It sucks that it has to be a choice between having cleaner diesel emissions (through DPFs, faster computers offering better fuel-injection strategies, etc) versus not having the manufacturer dictate how you need to service their equipment.


FTFY. I have an early 90s Corolla with manual crank windows, automatic transmission and AM/FM radio. Nothing ever goes wrong with it and it’s held the same saleable value for about 20 years.


I have a 1999 Jeep TJ Wrangler with the Auto and the I-6. I put a lot of mods into it and made it my own, but even if I would have done nothing to it having put about 30K miles on it over the last 15 years it is worth more today than what I paid for it… :slight_smile:

Doesn’t matter to me, they can sell it when they settle my estate. :slight_smile:


The question is more like, how soon will the free software movement make its own OS that will run on the tractors’ computers and allow the farmers to control the configuration?


That has already happened, to at least some degree, and the tractor manufacturers rammed DMCA right up their asses. That changed relatively recently, however, although ONLY when restoring to original spec (you cannot improve on the design legally):


1 Like

One word: Printcrime.

The better question is how soon until it’s illegal to run open source software on a tractor you can only lease from a megacoporation.


This here is Old Green, whose third owner I am.

According to the second owner, the first owner – “The Old Man” – made a raft of modifications.

Item: The 14 horsepower engine? Replaced with a 20 hp Chinese knockoff of a compatible Honda engine.

Item: the scoop didn’t reach high enough for a pickup truck bed, so the Old Man cut and re-welded the thing so it reaches high enough.

Item: that Goo-Gah horn is the Old Man’s, to tell the wife he’s on his way in for dinner.

I love that tractor. No millionaire ever pampered his favorite mistress like I dote on that tractor.


Interesting that Massey Ferguson has sort of “re-released” an old model.

There has been a market for a long time to under developed farming regions for “old” tractors exactly because they are robust and relatively easily repaired. I’m always amazed at what can be salvaged and made to run again.

I wonder if the MF 35 might even get imported back; it doesn’t seem to be offered in the Canadian/US market.


My 1974 Dodge D-200 pickup salutes this.


I’m going to sell the Corolla soon - it’s only got 137,000 km on it (76,000 mi.). The insurance is so high now that it’s cheaper to be a member of a car share like EVO or MOTO.


Looks like used 4440’s average about $18K.

1 Like