Must Have Farm Equipment and Tools for the First Time Rancher

Starting a farm is no easy task! While it is a lucrative and rewarding opportunity, explore the ultimate checklist of farm equipment and tools you'll need.

Farm Equipment

Dreaming of owning your own High Chaparral? If that’s what you plan to name your ranch, you must be a fan of one of the most successful Westerns on television.

Building a cattle empire like the fictional John Cannon takes two things. Land and the right farm equipment. New ranchers often buy the wrong pieces of equipment. It might surprise you to find out you don’t need brand new equipment or tools.

Spending too much on new equipment may increase the cost of production while reducing your potential to see a profit. Check our list of must-haves for the first-time rancher. If you buy the right equipment, you’ll have more funds when you find the perfect piece of land for sale.

Buy a Tractor

Nothing says ranch quite like a tractor. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a small herd of cattle, or dream of raising horses, a tractor is a ranch essential.

Tractors push and pull farm implements used for tilling, planting and harvesting. They’re also used for hauling materials and people (on the ranch, not in town).

A tractor saves time and resources, after all, you don’t want to get stuck doing all the manual labor, do you?

Make sure you buy the appropriate size tractor for your operation. You’ll want one that can handle the types of work you’ll do on your ranch. There’s a difference between what a cattle and a horse ranch need as far as tractors go.

The different elements are what make a tractor one of the most versatile pieces of ranch equipment. For example, attaching a front-end loader means you’ll have help moving hay and grain. If you own horses, the front-end loader makes mucking out stalls and cleaning corrals much easier.

The tractor is the workhorse on a ranch.

If you have the bucks for a new tractor, you’ll spend between $13,000 and $130,000, depending on how big of a tractor you need. Generally, the size of the tractor is relative to the size of your land. A general rule of thumb is to have a tractor that has 1 HP per acre of land, up to 100 acres (which requires about a 100 HP tractor). The first-time rancher should scour the want-ads and use word-of-mouth to find a used tractor

Pickup Truck or SUV?

If you’ve ever listened in on a group of ranchers talking shop, you should already know the answer to this question.

Ranchers, for the most part, drive pick-up trucks. Some ranchers own more than one truck, but you won’t hear many talking about buying a new SUV for the farm.

For one thing, ranchers often transport livestock or horses. Can an SUV haul a livestock trailer? Probably not as efficiently as ¾ ton pick-up truck.

Ranchers also move animal feed, including hay. If you can’t yet afford the front-end loader we mentioned above, you can throw your hay in the bed of your truck and get it moved. You won’t get too far doing that with an SUV.

If you don’t already own a truck, don’t run out and buy a new model (unless you have the money, of course). Trucks on ranches take a beating from the weather and the dusty, dirty environment. That shiny, new truck won't look all pretty for long!

Ranchers Love ATVs Too

If they rank their farm equipment in order, ranchers likely put their truck first, tractor second, and their ATV or UTV third.

Either of these small utility vehicles makes the life a rancher easier, if not more fun. That’s because they can handle a range of smaller projects and transport a person across a large expanse of land quickly.

Take a look at some of the things an ATV or UTV can handle on a ranch:

You can also use these machines to help catch calves and build fences. Of course, they won’t build the fence, but you can get them to haul the supplies. Like other equipment, you can buy used and save some money.

The Post Hole Digger

Have you ever seen a Western, modern-day or otherwise, where ranch hands or cowboys didn’t spend time either digging fences or repairing them? When you start your searching for ranch land for sale you’ll see why we suggest adding a post hole digger to your tool collection.

This is a simple hand tool used to dig deep holes. It’s made-up of two handles joined at the base by a pair of shovel blades. The Post hole digger offers a few advantages over its fancier cousin, the auger.

They don’t need gas—a huge plus when you’re on a budget. They’re easy to use, and unlike the heavier augers, they’re a one-person tool. No special transportation required for this tool, just throw it in the back of the truck (or the ATV) and you’re ready to dig.

As you can imagine, they’re not too expensive either. A new post hole digger shouldn’t cost more than $30, while the cost of an auger starts around $250. You do the math.

Transportation for Your Livestock

We assume if you’re interested in acres for sale, you’re planning for at least a few horses on your ranch. Besides, have you ever seen a Western where someone doesn’t ride a horse off into the sunset?

If you have horses, you need a livestock trailer. If you run cattle, you need a livestock trailer. If you cut firewood or haul anything, you need a livestock trailer.

You may not use it every day for hauling livestock, but not having your own trailer, means borrowing, or worse, renting one.

If you prefer new, you can spend upwards of $50,000, but you can often find used trailers for a much more reasonable price. You’ll usually find plenty of ads for used trailers online or on the bulletin boards at local feed stores.

Need Help Finding Land for Your Farm Equipment?

Hopefully, we've helped you get started in your search for equipment needed when making your dream of owning farm and ranchland a reality. This isn't an exhaustive list of farm equipment you'll need, but it's a start.

When you're ready to find that piece of dream property, we can help! Our site makes it easy to navigate the different properties available for people like you who can't wait to start ranching. Click here to see a list of all properties for sale.