New Holland Tractor
No, I did not buy a new tractor. That is a rental. Our tractor died. Of course, it was way out in the field at the bottom of a slope when it had a fit, paralyzed in the hind quarters. Makes sense though since most of its use time is not on the road the probability is it won’t die in an easy to access location. Using the backhoe I pulled the tractor backwards up the hill and out of the field. Imagine a lumbering beast grabbing the earth, digging in and dragging its paralyzed body along the snow covered hillside in agony. Tragic.
While our regular tractor is in the shop we have a New Holland T1530 to use. It was literally a life saver as it allowed us to get hay out to animals. I had called all around Vermont and even into New Hampshire trying to find a rental over the snowy Thanksgiving week I had been putting hay out when it died, arranging it for the winter. I am very greatful to L. W. Greenwood & Sons for providing the rental while they worked on our tractor. They delivered it fast and probably saved the lives of some pigs. Kudos.
That being said I really don’t like the New Holland T1530 tractor pictured above. That isn’t a smile on my face but a grimace. This tractor’s biggest issue is simply that it is too small for what we do. That 800 lb round bale of hay is way up at the top of its ability to move. I’ve almost flipped this tractor over repeatedly. It is scary how easily it starts to flip. On top of the issue of the tractor simply being too small there is the problem that there is no extra weight in the rear end. No fluid fill, no box weight, no rim weights. We have to move around a lot of stuff that weighs 800 lbs to 1,600 lbs on a regular basis and this tractor struggles with the low end of that range. I don’t even try the hard stuff.
The next problem is the lack of ice chains. Our tractor has very aggressive heavy duty ice chains on the rear wheels which add even more weight and a lot of gripping action. Additionally the rental has flat treaded industrial tires rather than the angular ag tires we have. The result is this rental tractor slides around easily. Time for a little spin control!
We’ve customized our tractor with chain hooks and other things in all sorts of places and I really missed all those little touches. This tractor had one hook in the middle of the bucket but that was not useful for what we do. Unfortunately the New Holland uses a different bucket attachment method so I couldn’t use our buckets and forks. As you can see in the photo I did manage to lift bales with a cinch strap. Iffy but it worked.
There are a lot of specific details I don’t like about the New Holland. Some of these are simply that it is different than I’m used to using but others are bad ergonomics such as the position of the front loader control. As you can see in the photo it is up high so one must constantly be holding one’s arm up in the air while working. That’s bad design.
The T1530 is very fussy about how you start and stop it. You have to go through a complicated chicken dance to turn it on and get started working. If you get off the seat it turns itself off. This is a problem since it is so hard to turn back on again. That wastes fuel and time. It is also very hard to shift into gear from neutral – which it insists on for starting – which is dangerous on hills. There is no clutch making it the worst combination of manual and automatic brought together in one transmission. The result is gears grinding, when you can get it to go into gear.
The T1530 has made me appreciate that when we bought our JD4700 we got the biggest, most powerful tractor in the series. We use all of that power and could use more. I just don’t want a physically bigger tractor than we have. Fussy aren’t I. Having spent a bit of time with this smaller tractor makes me appreciate our tractor all the more. There are a lot of things we never could have done with this tractor never mind no-tractor. Now I just need another, a backup tractor for those times ours breaks down.
Somethings I do like about this tractor is the air valves on the wheels are protected and the curved design of the loader arms is better than the welded sections John Deere used on the 4700 we have. See, it’s not all bad!
In the end the New Holland T1530 was the perfect tractor simply because it was available when we needed it in pinch. It moved the hay out to the animals despite struggling with the bales, the mud, the ice, the snow and our hills. It plowed the driveway, barely, but it got it cleared for the whey truck. But it did it. It reminds me of the train engine in the children’s story, chugging up the mountain saying, “I think I can, I think I can…”
Outdoors: 34°F/15°F Mostly Sunny, 1/2″ Snow
Tiny Cottage: 64°F/58°F
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