"Nothing runs like a Deere." So states the John Deere company, manufacturer of an array of tractors used for various residential, agricultural and construction purposes. For decades, farmers have used John Deere tractors to make their work in the fields easier and more productive. These green giants play an important role in U.S. agriculture.
According to the company's website, Deere.com, the John Deere built prototype and experimental tractor designs as early as 1916 but chose not to manufacture any of the models at that time. Two years later, John Deere bought the manufacturer of Waterloo Boy tractors and began selling them. It wasn't until 1923 that the company introduced the Model D, a two-cylinder tractor that remained in the lineup of green tractors for 30 years.
In 1929, John Deere produced its first row-crop tractor, characterized by a narrow, tricycle front end that could fit between crop rows in a field. After manufacturing military tractors during World War II, John Deere produced its first diesel tractor in 1949.
Regardless of age, all John Deere tractors are green and yellow and have the company name as well as the characteristic running deer logo on the side of the tractor's front end. Each tractor also has its series number located in the same place.
Most antique or classic John Deere tractors have a narrow front end, characterized by two small front wheels, positioned closely together in the style of the first row-crop tractor. Modern John Deere tractors have a wide front end, which provides more stability.
John Deere tractors pull farm implements, including forage wagons, balers and harvesting units. Attaching the power takeoff shaft on a John Deere tractor to various implements, such as a mower or rotary cutter, transfers power from the tractor to the attached implement, allowing it to operate. Tractors with loaders on the front can lift dirt, animal manure and other materials that need to be moved from place to place.
John Deere tractors range in size from 18 to 530 horsepower. Compact utility tractors, including the 2000 series, the 3000 series, the 4000 series and the tractor loader backhoe, are useful for landscapers, gardeners and small farm operations, since most of them have less than 45 horsepower.
Utility tractors, such as the 5D and 5M series, as well as the 6030 series, are a more powerful line of tractors for bigger farms and range from 45 to 105 horsepower. The largest tractors, designed specifically for large-scale agricultural work, include row-crop tractors, four-wheel-drive tractors and track tractors.
When choosing a John Deere tractor, keep in mind what you'll be using it for. If you need to lift materials frequently, you'll want to limit your search to those that can be equipped with a front-end loader. The size of your property also plays a role in helping you determine the best John Deere tractor. Different models handle differently, depending on their age and series, so be sure to test-drive the tractors that you're interested in.