Tractor
Overview
 
A tractor is a vehicle
Vehicle
A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....

 specifically designed to deliver a high tractive effort
Tractive effort
As used in mechanical engineering, the term tractive force is the pulling or pushing force exerted by a vehicle on another vehicle or object. The term tractive effort is synonymous with tractive force, and is often used in railway engineering to describe the pulling or pushing capability of a...

 (or torque) at slow speeds, for the purposes of hauling a trailer
Trailer (vehicle)
A trailer is generally an unpowered vehicle pulled by a powered vehicle. Commonly, the term trailer refers to such vehicles used for transport of goods and materials....

 or machinery used in agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 or construction
Construction
In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that consists of the building or assembling of infrastructure. Far from being a single activity, large scale construction is a feat of human multitasking...

. Most commonly, the term is used to describe a farm
Farm
A farm is an area of land, or, for aquaculture, lake, river or sea, including various structures, devoted primarily to the practice of producing and managing food , fibres and, increasingly, fuel. It is the basic production facility in food production. Farms may be owned and operated by a single...

 vehicle that provides the power and traction to mechanize
Mechanization
Mechanization or mechanisation is providing human operators with machinery that assists them with the muscular requirements of work or displaces muscular work. In some fields, mechanization includes the use of hand tools...

 agricultural tasks, especially (and originally) tillage
Tillage
Tillage is the agricultural preparation of the soil by mechanical agitation of various types, such as digging, stirring, and overturning. Examples of human-powered tilling methods using hand tools include shovelling, picking, mattock work, hoeing, and raking...

 but nowadays a great variety of tasks. Agricultural implements may be towed behind or mounted on the tractor, and the tractor may also provide a source of power if the implement is mechanised.

The word tractor was taken from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, being the agent noun
Agent (grammar)
In linguistics, a grammatical agent is the cause or initiator of an event. Agent is the name of the thematic role...

 of trahere "to pull".
Encyclopedia
A tractor is a vehicle
Vehicle
A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....

 specifically designed to deliver a high tractive effort
Tractive effort
As used in mechanical engineering, the term tractive force is the pulling or pushing force exerted by a vehicle on another vehicle or object. The term tractive effort is synonymous with tractive force, and is often used in railway engineering to describe the pulling or pushing capability of a...

 (or torque) at slow speeds, for the purposes of hauling a trailer
Trailer (vehicle)
A trailer is generally an unpowered vehicle pulled by a powered vehicle. Commonly, the term trailer refers to such vehicles used for transport of goods and materials....

 or machinery used in agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 or construction
Construction
In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that consists of the building or assembling of infrastructure. Far from being a single activity, large scale construction is a feat of human multitasking...

. Most commonly, the term is used to describe a farm
Farm
A farm is an area of land, or, for aquaculture, lake, river or sea, including various structures, devoted primarily to the practice of producing and managing food , fibres and, increasingly, fuel. It is the basic production facility in food production. Farms may be owned and operated by a single...

 vehicle that provides the power and traction to mechanize
Mechanization
Mechanization or mechanisation is providing human operators with machinery that assists them with the muscular requirements of work or displaces muscular work. In some fields, mechanization includes the use of hand tools...

 agricultural tasks, especially (and originally) tillage
Tillage
Tillage is the agricultural preparation of the soil by mechanical agitation of various types, such as digging, stirring, and overturning. Examples of human-powered tilling methods using hand tools include shovelling, picking, mattock work, hoeing, and raking...

 but nowadays a great variety of tasks. Agricultural implements may be towed behind or mounted on the tractor, and the tractor may also provide a source of power if the implement is mechanised.

The word tractor was taken from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

, being the agent noun
Agent (grammar)
In linguistics, a grammatical agent is the cause or initiator of an event. Agent is the name of the thematic role...

 of trahere "to pull". The first recorded use of the word meaning "an engine or vehicle for pulling wagons or ploughs" occurred in 1901, displacing the earlier term traction engine
Traction engine
A traction engine is a self-propelled steam engine used to move heavy loads on roads, plough ground or to provide power at a chosen location. The name derives from the Latin tractus, meaning 'drawn', since the prime function of any traction engine is to draw a load behind it...

(1859).

National variations

In Britain, Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 the word "tractor" usually means "farm tractor", and the use of the word "tractor" to mean other types of vehicles is familiar to the vehicle trade but unfamiliar to much of the general public. In Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the US
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 the word may also refer to the road tractor
Tractor unit
A tractor unit, prime mover , road tractor, or traction unit is a heavy-duty commercial vehicle within the large goods vehicle category, usually with a large displacement diesel engine, and several axles. The tractor unit serves as a method of moving trailers...

 portion of a tractor trailer
Semi-trailer truck
A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or articulated truck or articulated lorry, is an articulated vehicle consisting of a towing engine , and a semi-trailer A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) articulated truck...

 truck
Truck
A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration, with the smallest being mechanically similar to an automobile...

.

History

The first powered farm implements in the early 19th century were portable engine
Portable engine
A portable engine is a small steam engine, mounted on wheels or skids, which is used for driving machinery using a belt from its flywheel. It is not self-propelled and is towed to the work site by horses or bullocks, or even a traction engine. Portable engines were used mainly for driving...

s – steam engines on wheels that could be used to drive mechanical farm machinery by way of a flexible belt. Around 1850, the first traction engine
Traction engine
A traction engine is a self-propelled steam engine used to move heavy loads on roads, plough ground or to provide power at a chosen location. The name derives from the Latin tractus, meaning 'drawn', since the prime function of any traction engine is to draw a load behind it...

s were developed from these, and were widely adopted for agricultural use. The first tractors were steam-powered plowing engines. They were used in pairs, placed on either side of a field to haul a plow back and forth between them using a wire cable. Where soil conditions permitted (as in the United States) steam tractor
Steam tractor
A steam tractor is a vehicle powered by a steam engine which is used for pulling.In North America, the term steam tractor usually refers to a type of agricultural tractor powered by a steam engine, used extensively in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.In Great Britain, the term steam tractor...

s were used to direct-haul plows, but in the UK and elsewhere plowing engines were used for cable-hauled plowing instead. Steam-powered agricultural engines remained in use well into the 20th century until reliable internal combustion engines had been developed.

In 1892, John Froelich
John Froelich
John Froelich was an American inventor who lived in Clayton County, Iowa, and invented the first gasoline/petrol-powered tractor in 1892.John Froelich attended school at the College of Iowa. There he learned a lot about machinery...

 invented and built the first gasoline/petrol-powered tractor in Clayton County, Iowa
Clayton County, Iowa
-2010 census:The 2010 census recorded a population of 18,129 in the county, with a population density of . There were 8,999 housing units, of which 7,599 were occupied.-2000 census:...

, USA. After receiving a patent Froelich started up the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company
Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company
The Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company was the first company to manufacture and sell gasoline powered farm tractors. Based in Waterloo, Iowa, the company was created by John Froelich and a group of Iowa businessmen in 1893, and was originally named the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company...

, investing all of his assets which by 1895, all would be lost and his business resigned to become a failure.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Charles W. Hart and Charles H. Parr developed a two-cylinder gasoline engine and set up their business in Charles City, Iowa. In 1903 the firm built fifteen "tractors". A term with Latin roots coined by Hart and Parr and a combination of the words traction and power. The 14,000 pound #3 is the oldest surviving internal combustion engine tractor in the United States and is on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. The two-cylinder engine has a unique hit-and-miss firing cycle that produced 30 horsepower at the belt and 18 at the drawbar.

In Britain, the first recorded tractor sale was the oil-burning Hornsby-Ackroyd
Herbert Akroyd Stuart
Herbert Akroyd-Stuart was an English inventor who is noted for his invention of the hot bulb engine, or heavy oil engine.-Life:...

 Patent Safety Oil Traction engine
Traction engine
A traction engine is a self-propelled steam engine used to move heavy loads on roads, plough ground or to provide power at a chosen location. The name derives from the Latin tractus, meaning 'drawn', since the prime function of any traction engine is to draw a load behind it...

, in 1897. However, the first commercially successful design was Dan Albone
Dan Albone
Daniel Albone was an English inventor, manufacturer and cyclist. He invented the world's first successful light farm tractor, and the Ivel Safety bicycle.-Childhood:...

's three-wheel Ivel tractor of 1902. In 1908, the Saunderson Tractor and Implement Co.
Saunderson Tractor and Implement Co.
H P Saunderson founded his Saunderson Tractor and Implement Company in Elstow, Bedford in 1890 after visiting Canada and seeing the Massey and Harris companies. In 1898 Saunderson demonstrated a "Self Moving Vehicle" at a trial organised at the Royal Show which it unfortunately failed to complete...

 of Bedford
Bedford
Bedford is the county town of Bedfordshire, in the East of England. It is a large town and the administrative centre for the wider Borough of Bedford. According to the former Bedfordshire County Council's estimates, the town had a population of 79,190 in mid 2005, with 19,720 in the adjacent town...

 introduced a four-wheel design, and went on to become the largest tractor manufacturer outside the U.S. at that time.

While unpopular at first, these gasoline-powered machines began to catch on in the 1910s when they became smaller and more affordable. Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry...

 introduced the Fordson, the first mass-produced tractor in 1917. They were built in the U.S., Ireland, England and Russia and by 1923, Fordson had 77% of the U.S. market. The Fordson dispensed with a frame, using the strength of the engine block to hold the machine together. By the 1920s, tractors with a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

 had become the norm.

Tractor configurations

Tractors can be generally classified as two-wheel drive
Two-wheel drive
Two wheel drive or 2WD describes vehicles with a drivetrain that allows two wheels to receive power from the engine simultaneously.-Four wheeled vehicles:...

, two-wheel drive with front wheel assist, four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive, 4WD, or 4×4 is a four-wheeled vehicle with a drivetrain that allows all four wheels to receive torque from the engine simultaneously...

 (often with articulated steering), or track tractors (with either two or four powered rubber tracks).

The classic farm tractor is a simple open vehicle
Vehicle
A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....

, with two very large driving wheels on an axle below and slightly behind a single seat (the seat and steering
Steering
Steering is the term applied to the collection of components, linkages, etc. which will allow a vessel or vehicle to follow the desired course...

 wheel consequently are in the center), and the engine in front of the driver, with two steerable wheels below the engine compartment. This basic design has remained unchanged for a number of years, but enclosed cabs are fitted on almost all modern models, for reasons of operator safety and comfort.
In some localities with heavy or wet soils, notably in the Central Valley of California, the "Caterpillar" or "crawler" type of tracked tractor became popular in the 1930s, due to superior traction and floatation. These were usually maneuvered through the use of turning brake pedals and separate track clutches operated by levers rather than a steering wheel.

Four-wheel drive tractors began to appear in the 1960s. Some four-wheel drive tractors have the standard "two large, two small" configuration typical of smaller tractors, while some have four large powered wheels. The larger tractors are typically an articulated center-hinged design steered by hydraulic cylinders that move the forward power unit while the trailing unit is not steered separately.
In the early 21st century, articulated or non-articulated, steerable multi-track "tractors" have largely supplanted the "Caterpillar" type for farm use. Larger types of modern farm tractors include articulated four wheel or eight wheel drive units with one or two power units which are hinged in the middle and steered by hydraulic clutches or pumps. A relatively recent development is the replacement of wheels or steel crawler-type tracks with flexible steel-reinforced rubber tracks, usually powered by hydrostatic or completely hydraulic driving mechanisms. The configuration of these tractors bears little resemblance to the classic farm tractor design.

Engine and fuels

The predecessors of modern tractors, traction engines, used steam engine
Steam engine
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

s for power. Since the turn of the 20th century, internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

s have been the power source of choice. Between 1900 and 1960, gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

 was the predominant fuel, with kerosene
Kerosene
Kerosene, sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage, also known as paraffin or paraffin oil in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Ireland and South Africa, is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid. The name is derived from Greek keros...

 and ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 being common alternatives. Generally one engine could burn any of those, although cold starting was easiest on gasoline. Often a small auxiliary fuel tank was available to hold gasoline for cold starting and warm-up, while the main fuel tank held whatever fuel was most convenient or least expensive for the particular farmer. Dieselisation
Dieselisation
Dieselisation or dieselization is a term generally used for the increasingly common use of diesel fuel in vehicles, as opposed to gasoline or steam engines.-Water Transport:...

 gained momentum starting in the 1960s, and modern farm tractors usually employ diesel engine
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

s, which range in power output from 18 to 575 horsepower
Horsepower
Horsepower is the name of several units of measurement of power. The most common definitions equal between 735.5 and 750 watts.Horsepower was originally defined to compare the output of steam engines with the power of draft horses in continuous operation. The unit was widely adopted to measure the...

 (15 to 480 kW). Size and output are dependent on application, with smaller tractors for lawn mowing
Lawn mower
A lawn mower is a machine that uses a revolving blade or blades to cut a lawn at an even length.Lawn mowers employing a blade that rotates about a vertical axis are known as rotary mowers, while those employing a blade assembly that rotates about a horizontal axis are known as cylinder or reel...

, landscaping, orchard work, and truck farming, and larger tractors for vast fields of wheat, maize, soy, and other bulk crops. Liquified petroleum gas
Liquified petroleum gas
Liquefied petroleum gas is a flammable mixture of hydrocarbon gases used as a fuel in heating appliances and vehicles. It is increasingly used as an aerosol propellant and a refrigerant, replacing chlorofluorocarbons in an effort to reduce damage to the ozone layer...

 (LPG) or propane
Propane
Propane is a three-carbon alkane with the molecular formula , normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel for engines, oxy-gas torches, barbecues, portable stoves, and residential central...

 also have been used as tractor fuels, but require special pressurized fuel tanks and filling equipment so are less prevalent in most markets.

Transmission

Most older farm tractors use a manual transmission
Manual transmission
A manual transmission, also known as a manual gearbox or standard transmission is a type of transmission used in motor vehicle applications...

. They have several gear ratios, typically 3 to 6, sometimes multiplied into 2 or 3 ranges. This arrangement provides a set of discrete ratios that, combined with the varying of the throttle, allow final-drive speeds from less than one mile per hour up to about 25 miles per hour (40 km/h), with the lower speeds used for working the land and the highest speeds used on the road.

Slow, controllable speeds are necessary for most operations that are performed with a tractor. They help give the farmer a larger degree of control in certain situations, such as field work. However, when travelling on public roads, the slow operating speeds can cause problems, such as long queues or tailbacks, which can delay or annoy motorists in cars and trucks. These motorists are responsible for being duly careful around farm tractors and sharing the road with them, but many shirk this responsibility, so various ways to minimize the interaction or minimize the speed differential are employed where feasible. Some countries (for example the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

) employ a road sign on some roads that means "no farm tractors". Some modern tractors, such as the JCB
J. C. Bamford
JCB is a global construction, demolition and agricultural equipment company headquartered in Rocester, United Kingdom. It is the world's third-largest construction equipment manufacturer. It produces over 300 types of machines, including diggers , excavators, tractors and diesel engines...

 Fastrac, are now capable of much higher road speeds of around 50 mph (80 km/h).

Older tractors usually have unsynchronized transmission design, which often requires that the operator stop the tractor in order to shift between gears. This mode of use is inherently unsuited to some of the work that tractors do, and has been circumvented in various ways over the years. For existing unsynchronized tractors, the methods of circumvention are double clutch
Double clutch
A double clutch is a driving procedure primarily used for vehicles with an unsynchronized manual transmission...

ing or power-shifting, both of which require the operator to rely on skill to speed-match the gears while shifting. Both of these solutions are undesirable from a risk-mitigation standpoint because of what can go wrong if the operator makes a mistake – transmission damage is possible, and loss of vehicle control can occur if the tractor is towing a heavy load either uphill or downhill – something that tractors often do. Therefore, operator's manuals for most of these tractors state that one must always stop the tractor before shifting, and they do not even mention the alternatives. As already said, that mode of use is inherently unsuited to some of the work that tractors do, so better options were pursued for newer tractor designs.
In these, unsynchronized transmission designs were replaced with synchronization or with a continuously variable transmission
Continuously variable transmission
A continuously variable transmission is a transmission that can change steplessly through an infinite number of effective gear ratios between maximum and minimum values. This contrasts with other mechanical transmissions that offer a fixed number of gear ratios...

 (CVT). Either a synchronized manual transmission with enough available gear ratios (often achieved with dual ranges, high and low) or a CVT allow the engine speed to be matched to the desired final-drive speed while keeping engine speed within the appropriate rpm range for power generation (the working range) (whereas throttling back to achieve the desired final-drive speed is a trade-off that leaves the working range). The problems, solutions, and developments described here also describe the history of transmission evolution in semi-trailer truck
Semi-trailer truck
A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or articulated truck or articulated lorry, is an articulated vehicle consisting of a towing engine , and a semi-trailer A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) articulated truck...

s. The biggest difference is fleet turnover; whereas most of the old road tractor
Tractor unit
A tractor unit, prime mover , road tractor, or traction unit is a heavy-duty commercial vehicle within the large goods vehicle category, usually with a large displacement diesel engine, and several axles. The tractor unit serves as a method of moving trailers...

s have long since been scrapped, many of the old farm tractors are still in use. Therefore, old transmission design and operation is primarily just of historical interest in trucking, whereas in farming it still often affects daily life.

Hitches and power applications

The power produced by the engine must be transmitted to the implement or equipment in order to do the actual work intended for the equipment. This may be accomplished via a drawbar or hitch system if the implement is to be towed or otherwise pulled through the tractive power of the engine, or via a pulley or power takeoff system if the implement is stationary, or a combination of the two.

Drawbars

Until the 1950s, plows and other tillage equipment usually were connected to the tractor via a drawbar
Drawbar (haulage)
A drawbar is a solid coupling between a hauling vehicle and its hauled load. Drawbars are in common use with rail transport, road trailers, both large and small, industrial and recreational, and with agricultural equipment.-Agriculture:...

, or a proprietary connecting system. The classic drawbar is simply a steel bar attached to the tractor (or in some cases, as in the early Fordsons, cast as part of the rear transmission housing) to which the hitch of the implement was attached with a pin or by a loop and clevis. The implement could be readily attached and removed, allowing the tractor to be used for other purposes on a daily basis. If the tractor was equipped with a swinging drawbar, the drawbar could be set at the center or offset from center to allow the tractor to run outside the path of the implement.

The drawbar system necessitated that the implement have its own running gear (usually wheels) and in the case of a plow, chisel cultivator or harrow, some sort of lift mechanism to raise it out of the ground at turns or for transport. Drawbars necessarily posed a rollover risk depending on how the tractive torque was applied. The Fordson tractors (of which more units were produced and placed in service than any other farm tractor) was extremely prone to roll over backwards due to an excessively short wheelbase. The linkage between the implement and the tractor usually had some slack which could lead to jerky starts and greater wear and tear on the tractor and the equipment.
Drawbars were appropriate to the dawn of mechanization, because they were very simple in concept and because as the tractor replaced the horse, existing horse-drawn implements usually already had running gear. As the history of mechanization progressed, however, the advantages of other hitching systems became apparent, leading to new developments (see below). Depending on the function for which a tractor is used, however, the drawbar is still one of the usual means of attaching an implement to a tractor (see photo at left).

Fixed mounts

Some tractor manufacturers produced matching equipment that could be directly mounted on the tractor. Examples included front-end loaders, belly mowers, row crop cultivators, corn pickers and corn planters. In most cases, these fixed mounts were proprietary and unique to each make of tractor, so that an implement produced by John Deere, for example, could not be attached to a Minneapolis Moline tractor. Another disadvantage was that mounting usually required some time and labor, resulting in the implement being semi-permanently attached with bolts or other mounting hardware. Usually it was impractical to remove the implement and reinstall it on a day-to-day basis. As a result, the tractor was unavailable for other uses and dedicated to a single use for an appreciable period of time. An implement generally would be mounted at the beginning of its season of use (such as tillage, planting or harvesting) and removed only when the likely use season had ended.

Three-point hitches and quick hitches

The drawbar system was virtually the exclusive method of attaching implements (other than direct attachment to the tractor) before Harry Ferguson
Harry Ferguson
Henry George "Harry" Ferguson was an Irish engineer and inventor who is noted for his role in the development of the modern agricultural tractor, for becoming the first Irishman to build and fly his own aeroplane, and for developing the first four-wheel drive Formula One car, the Ferguson P99...

 developed the three-point hitch
Three-point hitch
The three-point hitch most often refers to the way ploughs and other implements are attached to an agricultural tractor. The three points resemble either a triangle, or the letter A...

. Equipment attached to the three-point hitch can be raised or lowered hydraulically with a control lever. The equipment attached to the three-point hitch is usually completely supported by the tractor. Another way to attach an implement is via a Quick Hitch, which is attached to the three-point hitch. This enables a single person to attach an implement quicker and put the person in less danger when attaching the implement.
The three-point hitch revolutionized farm tractors and their implements.

Almost every tractor today features Ferguson's 3 point linkage or a derivative of it. The three-point hitch allows for easy attachment and detachment of implements while allowing the implement to function as a part of the tractor almost as if it were attached by a fixed mount. Previously, when the implement hit an obstacle the towing link would break or the tractor could flip over. Ferguson's genius was to combine a connection via two lower and one upper lift arms that were connected to a hydraulic lifting ram. The ram was in turn connected to the upper of the 3 links so that increased drag (as when a plough hits a rock) caused the hydraulics to lift the implement until the obstacle was passed.

Other manufacturers copied Ferguson's invention, or developed variations of it. For example, International Harvestor's Farmall tractors had a two-point "Fast Hitch" and John Deere had a power lift that was similar but not as flexible as the Ferguson invention. Recently, Bobcat's patent on its front loader connection (inspired by these earlier systems) has expired; and compact tractors are now being outfitted with quick-connect attachments for their front-end loaders
Loader (equipment)
A loader is a heavy equipment machine often used in construction, primarily used to load material into or onto another type of machinery .-Heavy equipment front loaders:A loader A loader is a heavy equipment machine often used in construction, primarily used to load material (such as asphalt,...

.

Power take-off systems and hydraulics

In addition to towing an implement or supplying tractive power through the wheels, most tractors have a means to transfer power to another machine such as a baler
Baler
A baler is a piece of farm machinery used to compress a cut and raked crop into compact bales that are easy to handle, transport and store...

, swather
Swather
A swather, or windrower, is a farm implement that cuts hay or small grain crops and forms them into a windrow. "Swather" is predominantly the North American term for these machines...

, or mower
Mower
A mower is a machine for cutting grass or other plants that grow on the ground. Usually mowing is distinguished from reaping, which uses similar implements, but is the traditional term for harvesting grain crops, e.g...

. Unless it functions solely by pulling it through or over the ground, a towed implement needs its own power source (such as a baler or combine with a separate engine) or else a means of transmitting power from the tractor to the mechanical operations of the equipment.

Early tractors used belts
Belt (mechanical)
A belt is a loop of flexible material used to link two or more rotating shafts mechanically. Belts may be used as a source of motion, to transmit power efficiently, or to track relative movement. Belts are looped over pulleys. In a two pulley system, the belt can either drive the pulleys in the...

 or cables wrapped around the flywheel
Flywheel
A flywheel is a rotating mechanical device that is used to store rotational energy. Flywheels have a significant moment of inertia, and thus resist changes in rotational speed. The amount of energy stored in a flywheel is proportional to the square of its rotational speed...

 or a separate belt pulley to power stationary equipment, such as a threshing machine, buzz saw, silage blower, or stationary baler. In most cases, it was not practical for the tractor and equipment to move with a flexible belt or cable between them, so this system necessitated that the tractor remain in one location with the work brought to the equipment, or that the tractor be relocated at each turn and the power set-up reapplied (as in cable-drawn plowing systems used in early steam tractor operations).

Modern tractors use a power take-off
Power take-off
A power take-off or power takeoff is a splined driveshaft, usually on a tractor or truck, that can be used to provide power to an attachment or separate machine. It is designed to be easily connected and disconnected...

 (PTO) shaft to provide rotary power to machinery that may be stationary or pulled. The PTO shaft generally is at the rear of the tractor, and can be connected to an implement that is either towed by a drawbar or a three-point hitch. This eliminates the need for a separate implement-mounted power source, which is almost never seen in modern farm equipment.

Virtually all modern tractors can also provide external hydraulic fluid
Hydraulic fluid
Hydraulic fluids, also called hydraulic liquids, are the medium by which power is transferred in hydraulic machinery. Common hydraulic fluids are based on mineral oil or water...

 and electrical power to the equipment they are towing, either by hoses or wires.

Operation

Modern tractors have many electrical switches and levers in the cab for controlling the multitude of different functions available on the tractor.

Pedals

Modern farm tractors usually have four or five foot-pedals for the operator on the floor of the tractor.

The pedal on the left is the clutch
Clutch
A clutch is a mechanical device which provides for the transmission of power from one component to another...

. The operator presses on this pedal to disengage the transmission
Transmission (mechanics)
A machine consists of a power source and a power transmission system, which provides controlled application of the power. Merriam-Webster defines transmission as: an assembly of parts including the speed-changing gears and the propeller shaft by which the power is transmitted from an engine to a...

 for either shifting gears or stopping the tractor. Some modern tractors have (or as optional equipment) a button on the gear stick for controlling the clutch, in addition to the standard pedal.

Two of the pedals on the right are the brake
Brake
A brake is a mechanical device which inhibits motion. Its opposite component is a clutch. The rest of this article is dedicated to various types of vehicular brakes....

s. The left brake pedal stops the left rear wheel and the right brake pedal does the same with the right side. This independent left and right wheel braking augments the steering of the tractor when only the two rear wheels are driven. This is usually done when it is necessary to make a sharp turn. The split brake pedal is also used in mud or soft dirt to control a tire that spins due to loss of traction. The operator presses both pedals together to stop the tractor. For tractors with additional front-wheel drive, this operation often engages the 4-wheel locking differential
Locking differential
A locking differential, diff-lock or locker is a variation on the standard automotive differential. A locking differential may provide increased traction compared to a standard, or "open" differential by restricting each of the two wheels on an axle to the same rotational speed without regard to...

 (diff-lock) to help stop the tractor when traveling at road speeds.

The pedal furthest to the right is the foot throttle
Throttle
A throttle is the mechanism by which the flow of a fluid is managed by constriction or obstruction. An engine's power can be increased or decreased by the restriction of inlet gases , but usually decreased. The term throttle has come to refer, informally and incorrectly, to any mechanism by which...

. Unlike in automobiles, it can also be controlled from a hand-operated lever ("hand throttle"). This helps provide a constant speed in field work. It also helps provide continuous power for stationary tractors that are operating an implement by shaft or belt. The foot throttle gives the operator more automobile-like control over the speed of the tractor for road work. This is a feature of more recent tractors; older tractors often did not have this feature. In the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 it is mandatory to use the foot pedal to control engine speed while travelling on the road. Some tractors, especially those designed for row-crop work, have a 'de-accelerator' pedal, which operates in the reverse fashion to an automobile throttle, in that the pedal is pushed down to slow the engine. This is to allow fine control over the speed of the tractor when maneuvering at the end of crop rows in fields- the operating speed of the engine is set using the hand throttle, and if the operator wishes to slow the tractor to turn, he simply has to press the pedal, turn and release it once the turn is completed, rather than having to alter the setting of the hand throttle twice during the maneuver.

A fifth pedal is traditionally included just in front of the driver's seat to operate the rear diff-lock, which prevents wheelslip. The differential normally allows the outside wheel to travel faster than the inside wheel during a turn. However, in low-traction conditions on a soft surface the same mechanism could allow one wheel to slip, further reducing traction. The diff-lock overrides this, forcing both wheels to turn at the same speed, reducing wheel slip and improving traction. Care must be taken to unlock the differential before turning, usually by hitting the pedal a second time, since the tractor cannot perform a turn with the diff-lock engaged. In modern tractors this pedal is replaced with an electrical switch.

Levers and switches

Many functions that were once controlled with a lever have been replaced with some model of electrical switch with the rise of indirect computer controlling of functions in modern tractors.

Until the beginning of the 60's tractors had a single register of gears, hence one gear stick. Often 3-5 forwards and 1 reverse. Then group gears were introduced, hence another gear stick. Later on control of the reverse gear was moved to a special stick that controls direction and adding a gear stick or a lever attached at the side of the steering wheel. Nowadays with CVT
Continuously variable transmission
A continuously variable transmission is a transmission that can change steplessly through an infinite number of effective gear ratios between maximum and minimum values. This contrasts with other mechanical transmissions that offer a fixed number of gear ratios...

 or other clutch-free gear types there are fewer sticks for controlling the transmission, some replaced with electrical switches or totally computer controlled.

The three-point hitch
Three-point hitch
The three-point hitch most often refers to the way ploughs and other implements are attached to an agricultural tractor. The three points resemble either a triangle, or the letter A...

 was controlled with a lever for adjusting the position, or as with the earliest ones, just the function for raising or lowering the hitch. With modern electrical systems it's often replaced with a potentiometer for lower bound position and another one for the upper bound and a switch allowing automatic adjustment of the hitch between these settings.

The external hydraulics also originally had levers but nowadays often replaced with some form of electrical switch, the same goes for the power take-off
Power take-off
A power take-off or power takeoff is a splined driveshaft, usually on a tractor or truck, that can be used to provide power to an attachment or separate machine. It is designed to be easily connected and disconnected...

 shaft.

Safety

Agriculture in the United States is one of the most hazardous industries, only surpassed
by mining and construction. No other farm machine is so identified with the hazard
Hazard
A hazard is a situation that poses a level of threat to life, health, property, or environment. Most hazards are dormant or potential, with only a theoretical risk of harm; however, once a hazard becomes "active", it can create an emergency situation. A hazard does not exist when it is not...

s of production agriculture as the tractor. Tractor-related injuries account for approximately 32% of the fatalities and 6% of the non-fatal injuries in agriculture. Over 50% is attributed to tractor overturns.

The roll over protection structure
Roll over protection structure
Roll Over Protection Structure refers to operator compartment structures intended to protect equipment operators from injuries caused by vehicle overturns or rollovers.Commonly found on heavy equipment Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS) refers to operator compartment structures (usually cabs...

 (ROPS) and seat belt, when worn, are the two most important safety devices to protect operators from death during tractor overturns.

Modern tractors have rollover
Rollover
A rollover is a type of vehicle accident in which a vehicle tips over onto its side or roof. The most common cause of a rollover is traveling too fast while turning.- Dynamics :Vehicles can roll over in several ways...

 protection systems (ROPS) to prevent an operator from being crushed if the tractor overturns. It is important to remember that the ROPS does not prevent tractor overturns. Rather, it prevents the operator from being crushed during an overturn. This is especially important in open-air tractors, where the ROPS is a steel beam that extends above the operator's seat. For tractors with operator cabs, the ROPS is part
of the frame
Frame (vehicle)
A frame is the main structure of the chassis of a motor vehicle. All other components fasten to it; a term for this is design is body-on-frame construction.In 1920, every motor vehicle other than a few cars based on motorcycles had a frame...

 of the cab. A ROPS with enclosed cab further reduces the likelihood of serious injury because the operator is protected by the sides and windows of the cab.

ROPS were first required by legislation in Sweden in 1959. Before ROPS were required, some farmers died when their tractors rolled on top of them. Row-crop tractors, before ROPS, were particularly dangerous because of their 'tricycle' design with the two front wheels spaced close together and angled inward toward the ground. Some farmer
Farmer
A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture, who raises living organisms for food or raw materials, generally including livestock husbandry and growing crops, such as produce and grain...

s were killed by rollovers while operating tractors along steep slopes. Others have been killed while attempting to tow or pull an excessive load from above axle height, or when cold weather caused the tires to freeze to the ground, in both cases causing the tractor to pivot around the rear axle.

For the ROPS to work as designed, the operator must stay within the protective frame of the ROPS. This means the operator must wear the seat belt. Not wearing the seat belt may defeat the primary purpose of the ROPS.

Farm tractor applications

The most common use of the term "tractor" is for the vehicle
Vehicle
A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....

s used on farm
Farm
A farm is an area of land, or, for aquaculture, lake, river or sea, including various structures, devoted primarily to the practice of producing and managing food , fibres and, increasingly, fuel. It is the basic production facility in food production. Farms may be owned and operated by a single...

s. The farm tractor is used for pulling or pushing agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 machinery or trailers, for plowing, tilling, disking, harrowing, planting, and similar tasks.
A variety of specialty farm tractors have been developed for particular uses. These include "row crop" tractors with adjustable tread width to allow the tractor to pass down rows of corn, tomatoes or other crops without crushing the plants, "wheatland" or "standard" tractors with non-adjustable fixed wheels and a lower center of gravity for plowing and other heavy field work for broadcast crops, and "high crop" tractors with adjustable tread and increased ground clearance, often used in the cultivation of cotton and other high-growing row crop plant operations, and "utility tractors", typically smaller tractors with a low center of gravity and short turning radius, used for general purposes around the farmstead. Many utility tractors are used for non-farm grading, landscape maintenance
Landscape maintenance
Landscape maintenance is the art and vocation of keeping a landscape healthy, clean, safe and attractive, typically in a garden, yard, park, Institutional setting or estate...

 and excavation purposes, particularly with loaders, backhoes, pallet forks and similar devices. Small garden or lawn tractors designed for suburban and semi-rural gardening and landscape maintenance also exist in a variety of configurations.

Some farm-type tractors are found elsewhere than on farms: with large universities' gardening departments, in public parks, or for highway workman use with blowtorch cylinders strapped to its sides and a pneumatic drill
Jackhammer
A jackhammer is a pneumatic tool that combines a hammer directly with a chisel that was invented by Charles Brady King. Hand-held jackhammers are typically powered by compressed air, but some use electric motors. Larger jackhammers, such as rig mounted hammers used on construction machinery, are...

 air compressor
Air compressor
An air compressor is a device that converts power into kinetic energy by compressing and pressurizing air, which, on command, can be released in quick bursts...

 permanently fastened over its power take-off
Power take-off
A power take-off or power takeoff is a splined driveshaft, usually on a tractor or truck, that can be used to provide power to an attachment or separate machine. It is designed to be easily connected and disconnected...

. These are often fitted with grass (turf) tyres which are less damaging to soft surfaces than agricultural tires.

Precision agriculture

Space technology
Space technology
Space technology is technology that is related to entering, and retrieving objects or life forms from space."Every day" technologies such as weather forecasting, remote sensing, GPS systems, satellite television, and some long distance communications systems critically rely on space infrastructure...

 has been incorporated into agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 in the form of GPS devices, and robust on-board computers installed as optional features on farm tractors. These technologies are used in modern, precision farming techniques. The spin-off
Government spin-off
Government spin-off is civilian goods which are the result of military or governmental research. One prominent example of a type of government spin-off is technology that has been commercialized through NASA funding, research, licensing, facilities, or assistance. NASA spin-off technologies have...

s from the space race
Space Race
The Space Race was a mid-to-late 20th century competition between the Soviet Union and the United States for supremacy in space exploration. Between 1957 and 1975, Cold War rivalry between the two nations focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national...

 have actually facilitated automation
Automation
Automation is the use of control systems and information technologies to reduce the need for human work in the production of goods and services. In the scope of industrialization, automation is a step beyond mechanization...

 in plowing and the use of autosteer systems drone
Unmanned ground vehicle
An unmanned ground vehicle is a military robot used to augment the soldiers capability. This type of robot is generally capable of operating outdoors and over a wide variety of terrain, functioning in place of humans....

 on tractors that are manned but only steered at the end of a row, the idea being to neither overlap and use more fuel nor leave streaks when performing jobs such as cultivating.

Engineering tractors

The durability and engine power of tractors made them very suitable for engineering tasks. Tractors can be fitted with engineering tools such as dozer blade
Bulldozer
A bulldozer is a crawler equipped with a substantial metal plate used to push large quantities of soil, sand, rubble, etc., during construction work and typically equipped at the rear with a claw-like device to loosen densely-compacted materials.Bulldozers can be found on a wide range of sites,...

, bucket
Loader (equipment)
A loader is a heavy equipment machine often used in construction, primarily used to load material into or onto another type of machinery .-Heavy equipment front loaders:A loader A loader is a heavy equipment machine often used in construction, primarily used to load material (such as asphalt,...

, hoe, ripper, and so on. The most common attachments for the front of a tractor are dozer blade
Bulldozer
A bulldozer is a crawler equipped with a substantial metal plate used to push large quantities of soil, sand, rubble, etc., during construction work and typically equipped at the rear with a claw-like device to loosen densely-compacted materials.Bulldozers can be found on a wide range of sites,...

 or a bucket
Bucket
A bucket, also called a pail, is typically a watertight, vertical cylinder or truncated cone, with an open top and a flat bottom, usually attached to a semicircular carrying handle called the bail. A pail can have an open top or can have a lid....

. When attached with engineering tools the tractor is called an engineering vehicle
Engineering vehicle
Heavy equipment refers to heavy-duty vehicles, specially designed for executing construction tasks, most frequently ones involving earthwork operations. They are also known as, construction equipment, construction plant, earth movers, engineering vehicles, or simply equipment...

.

A bulldozer
Bulldozer
A bulldozer is a crawler equipped with a substantial metal plate used to push large quantities of soil, sand, rubble, etc., during construction work and typically equipped at the rear with a claw-like device to loosen densely-compacted materials.Bulldozers can be found on a wide range of sites,...

 is a track-type tractor attached with blade in the front and a rope-winch behind. Bulldozers are very powerful tractors and have excellent ground-hold, as their main tasks are to push or drag things.

Bulldozers have been further modified over time to evolve into new machines which are capable of working in ways that the original bulldozer can not. One example is that loader
Loader (equipment)
A loader is a heavy equipment machine often used in construction, primarily used to load material into or onto another type of machinery .-Heavy equipment front loaders:A loader A loader is a heavy equipment machine often used in construction, primarily used to load material (such as asphalt,...

 tractors were created by removing the blade and substituting a large volume bucket and hydraulic arms which can raise and lower the bucket, thus making it useful for scooping up earth, rock and similar loose material to load it into trucks.

A front-loader
Loader (equipment)
A loader is a heavy equipment machine often used in construction, primarily used to load material into or onto another type of machinery .-Heavy equipment front loaders:A loader A loader is a heavy equipment machine often used in construction, primarily used to load material (such as asphalt,...

 or loader
Loader (equipment)
A loader is a heavy equipment machine often used in construction, primarily used to load material into or onto another type of machinery .-Heavy equipment front loaders:A loader A loader is a heavy equipment machine often used in construction, primarily used to load material (such as asphalt,...

 is a tractor with an engineering tool which consists of two hydraulic powered arms on either side of the front engine compartment and a tilting implement. This is usually a wide open box called a bucket
Loader
Loader can refer to:*Loader *Loader *Boot loader*Clapper loader *A loader, a member of a crew responsible for handling and loading ammunition, such as on a howitzer or tank crew...

 but other common attachments are a pallet fork
Pallet fork
The pallet fork or pallet lever is an integral component of the lever escapement of a typical mechanical watch. Its purpose is to release the escape wheel one tooth at a time, at each swing of the balance wheel, and also give the balance wheel small pushes to keep it going.The lever is shaped like...

 and a bale grappler.

Other modifications to the original bulldozer include making the machine smaller to let it operate in small work areas where movement is limited. There are also tiny wheeled loaders, officially called Skid-steer loaders but nicknamed "Bobcat
Bobcat (equipment)
Bobcat Company is a manufacturer of farm and construction equipment, part of Doosan Group of South Korea. Its American headquarters is in West Fargo, North Dakota, USA...

" after the original manufacturer, which are particularly suited for small excavation projects in confined areas.

Backhoe loader

The most common variation of the classic farm tractor is the hoe, also called a hoe-loader. As the name implies, it has a loader
Loader (equipment)
A loader is a heavy equipment machine often used in construction, primarily used to load material into or onto another type of machinery .-Heavy equipment front loaders:A loader A loader is a heavy equipment machine often used in construction, primarily used to load material (such as asphalt,...

 assembly on the front and a backhoe
Backhoe
A backhoe, also called a rear actor or back actor, is a piece of excavating equipment or digger consisting of a digging bucket on the end of a two-part articulated arm. They are typically mounted on the back of a tractor or front loader...

 on the back. Backhoes attach to a 3 point hitch on farm or industrial tractors. Industrial tractors are often heavier in construction particularly with regards to the use of steel grill for protection from rocks and the use of construction tires. When the backhoe is permanently attached, the machine usually has a seat that can swivel to the rear to face the hoe
Hoe (tool)
A hoe is an ancient and versatile agricultural tool used to move small amounts of soil. Common goals include weed control by agitating the surface of the soil around plants, piling soil around the base of plants , creating narrow furrows and shallow trenches for planting seeds and bulbs, to chop...

 controls. Removable backhoe attachments almost always have a separate seat on the attachment.

Backhoe-loaders are very common and can be used for a wide variety of tasks: construction, small demolitions, light transportation of building materials, powering building equipment, digging holes,loading trucks, breaking asphalt
Asphalt
Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

 and paving roads. Some buckets have a retractable bottom, enabling them to empty their load more quickly and efficiently. Buckets with retractable bottoms are also often used for grading and scratching off sand. The front assembly may be a removable attachment or permanently mounted. Often the bucket can be replaced with other devices or tools.

Their relatively small frame and precise control make backhoe-loaders very useful and common in urban engineering
Civil engineering
Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings...

 projects such as construction and repairs in areas too small for larger equipment. Their versatility and compact size makes them one of the most popular urban construction vehicles.

In the UK, the word "JCB
J. C. Bamford
JCB is a global construction, demolition and agricultural equipment company headquartered in Rocester, United Kingdom. It is the world's third-largest construction equipment manufacturer. It produces over 300 types of machines, including diggers , excavators, tractors and diesel engines...

" is sometimes used colloquially as a genericized trademark
Genericized trademark
A genericized trademark is a trademark or brand name that has become the colloquial or generic description for, or synonymous with, a general class of product or service, rather than as an indicator of source or affiliation as intended by the trademark's holder...

 for any such type of engineering vehicle. The term JCB now appears in the Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

, although it is still legally a trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 of J. C. Bamford Ltd. The term "digger" is also commonly used.

Compact Utility Tractor

A Compact Utility Tractor, also called a CUT is a smaller version of an agricultural tractor but designed primarily for landscaping and estate management type tasks rather than for planting and harvesting on a commercial scale. Typical CUTs range in from 20 to 50 horsepower (15-37 kW) with available power take off (PTO) horsepower ranging from 15 to 45 hp (11-34 kW). CUTs are often equipped with both a mid-mounted PTO and a standard rear PTO, especially those below 40 horsepower (30 kW). The mid-mount PTO shaft typically rotates at/near 2000 rpms and is typically used to power such implements as mid-mount finish mower, a front mounted snow blower
Snow blower
A snow blower or snow thrower is a machine for removing snow from an area where it is not wanted, such as a driveway, sidewalk, roadway, railroad track, rink, runway, or houses...

 or front mounted rotary broom. The rear PTO is standardized at 540 rpms for the North American markets, but in some parts of the world a dual 540/1000 rpm PTO is standard and implements are available for either standard in those markets.

One of the most common attachment for a Compact Utility Tractor is the front end loader
Front End Loader
Front End Loader is an Australian rock band consisting of Davis Claymore , Bowden Campbell , Richard Corey , and Peter Kostic . Peter also drums for Regurgitator and The Hard-Ons.-History:...

 or FEL. Like the larger agricultural tractors, a CUT will have an adjustable three-point hitch
Three-point hitch
The three-point hitch most often refers to the way ploughs and other implements are attached to an agricultural tractor. The three points resemble either a triangle, or the letter A...

 that is hydraulically controlled. Typically a CUT will have four wheel drive, or more correctly 4 wheel assist. Modern Compact Utility Tractors often feature a Hydrostatic transmission, but many variants of gear drive transmissions are also offered from low priced simple gear transmissions to synchronized transmissions to advanced glide-shift transmissions. All modern CUTs feature a government mandated roll over protection structure (ROPS) just like agricultural tractors. The most well known brands in North America include Kubota
Kubota
, is a tractor and heavy equipment manufacturer based in Osaka, Japan. One of its notable contributions was to the construction of the Solar Ark. The company was established in 1890.The company produces many products including:...

, John Deere Tractor, New Holland Ag
New Holland Ag
New Holland is a full range manufacturer of agricultural machinery. New Holland agricultural products include tractors, combine harvesters, balers, haying tools, equipment used in lawn, grounds and turf care, grape harvesters....

, Case-Farmall and Massey-Ferguson. Although less common, compact backhoes are often attached to compact utility tractors.

Compact Utility Tractors require special smaller implements than full size agricultural tractors. Very common implements include the box blade
Box blade
A box blade is a type of implement used on tractors for smoothing and contouring land. It is almost always unpowered, though can have auxiliary hydraulics attached in order for adjustments to be made without leaving the seat of the tractor...

, the grader
Grader
A grader, also commonly referred to as a road grader, a blade, a maintainer, or a motor grader, is a construction machine with a long blade used to create a flat surface. Typical models have three axles, with the engine and cab situated above the rear axles at one end of the vehicle and a third...

 blade, the landscape rake, the post hole digger (or post hole auger
Auger
An auger is a drilling device, or drill bit, that usually includes a rotating helical screw blade called a "flighting" to act as a screw conveyor to remove the drilled out material...

)
, the rotary cutter (also called a slasher or a brush hog), a mid or rear mount finish mower, broadcast seeder
Broadcast seeder
A broadcast seeder, alternately called a broadcast spreader, is a farm implement commonly used for spreading seed, lime, fertilizer, sand, ice melt, etc., and is an alternative to drop spreaders/seeders.- Types:...

, subsoiler
Subsoiler
A subsoiler or mole plough is a tractor mounted implement used to loosen and break up soil at depths below the level of a traditional disk harrow or rototiller. Most tractor mounted cultivation tools will break up and turn over surface soil to a depth of 6" to 8" while a subsoiler will break up...

 and the rototiller (also rotary tiller). In northern climates, a rear mounted snow blower is very common, on smaller CUTs some models are available with front mounted snow blowers that are powered by a mid-PTO shaft. There are many more implement brands than there are tractor brands offering CUT owners a wide selection of choice.

For small scale farming or large scale gardening, there are some planting and harvesting implements sized for CUTs. One and two row planting units are commonly available as are cultivators, sprayers and different types of seeders (slit, rotary and drop).

Row-crop tractor

A row-crop tractor is a tractor tailored specifically to the growing of row crops (crops grown in rows, as in truck farming
Market garden
A market garden is the relatively small-scale production of fruits, vegetables and flowers as cash crops, frequently sold directly to consumers and restaurants. It is distinguishable from other types of farming by the diversity of crops grown on a small area of land, typically, from under one acre ...

), and most especially to cultivating
Cultivator
A cultivator is any of several types of farm implement used for secondary tillage. One sense of the name refers to frames with teeth that pierce the soil as they are dragged through it linearly. Another sense refers to machines that use rotary motion of disks or teeth to accomplish a similar result...

. Cultivating can take place anytime from soon after the crop plants have sprouted until soon before they are harvested. Several rounds of cultivating may be done over the season. A row-crop tractor essentially brings together a farm tractor and its cultivator into one machine, in the same way that motive power has been combined into other machinery (for example, horseless carriages combined the motive power into transport vehicles; self-propelled gun
Self-propelled gun
A self-propelled gun is form of self-propelled artillery, and in modern use is usually used to refer to artillery pieces such as howitzers....

s combined the artillery tractor
Artillery tractor
Artillery tractor is a kind of tractor, also referred to as a gun tractor, a vehicle used to tow artillery pieces of varying weights.-Traction:...

 and its gun into one machine).

The earliest win from introducing tractors to mechanize agriculture was in reducing the heavy efforts of plowing
Plough
The plough or plow is a tool used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting. It has been a basic instrument for most of recorded history, and represents one of the major advances in agriculture...

 and harrowing
Harrow (tool)
In agriculture, a harrow is an implement for breaking up and smoothing out the surface of the soil. In this way it is distinct in its effect from the plough, which is used for deeper tillage. Harrowing is often carried out on fields to follow the rough finish left by ploughing operations...

 before planting, which could often be (almost literally) backbreaking tasks for humans and draft animals
Working animal
A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated, that is kept by humans and trained to perform tasks. They may be close members of the family, such as guide or service dogs, or they may be animals trained strictly to perform a job, such as logging elephants. They may also be used for milk, a...

. Early tractors were used mainly to alleviate this drudgery. But they tended to be very big and heavy, so they were not well suited to getting into a field of already-planted row crops to do weed control. Row-crop tractors—light, affordable, and reliable—corrected this flaw.

Row crop itself refers to any farm crop
Crop
Crop may refer to:* Crop, a plant grown and harvested for agricultural use* Crop , part of the alimentary tract of some animals* Crop , a modified whip used in horseback riding or disciplining humans...

 that is cultivated in rows. The United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 (EPA) defines 'row crop' as an "Agricultural crop planted, usually with mechanical planting devices, in individual rows that are spaced to permit machine traffic during the early parts of the growing season"

Row-crop tractor history

The first tractors designed for the ability to fit between rows of crops were made by International Harvester
International Harvester
International Harvester Company was a United States agricultural machinery, construction equipment, vehicle, commercial truck, and household and commercial products manufacturer. In 1902, J.P...

 (IH), with development beginning in the 1920s. The first row-crop tractors made by IH were called "Farmalls". The cultivator
Cultivator
A cultivator is any of several types of farm implement used for secondary tillage. One sense of the name refers to frames with teeth that pierce the soil as they are dragged through it linearly. Another sense refers to machines that use rotary motion of disks or teeth to accomplish a similar result...

 mounted in the front so it was easily visible. Additionally, the tractor had a narrow front end; the front tires were spaced very closely and angled in towards the bottom. The back wheels straddled two rows and it could cultivate four rows at once.

From 1924 until 1963, Farmalls were the largest selling row-crop tractors.

To compete, John Deere designed the Model C which had a wide front and could cultivate three rows at once. Only 112 prototypes were made as Deere realized that sales would be lost to Farmall if their model did less. In 1928, John Deere
John Deere
John Deere was an American blacksmith and manufacturer who founded Deere & Company, one of the largest and leading agricultural and construction equipment manufacturers in the world...

 released the Model C anyway, only as the Model GP (General Purpose) to avoid confusion with the Model D when order over the then unclear phone.

Oliver refined its "Row Crop" model early in 1930. Until 1935, the 18-27 was Oliver–Hart-Parr's only row-crop tractor.
Many Oliver row crop models are referred to as "Oliver Row Crop 77" or "Oliver Row Crop 88" etc.

Row-crop tractor safety

Many early row-crop tractors had a tricycle design with two closely spaced front tires, and some even had a single front tire. This made it dangerous to operate on the side of a steep hill, and, as a result, many farmers died from tractor rollovers. Also, early row-crop tractors had no rollover protection system (ROPS), meaning that if the tractor flipped back the operator could be crushed. Sweden was the first country which passed legislation requiring ROPS, in 1959.

Over 50% of tractor related injuries and deaths are attributed to tractor rollover
Rollover
A rollover is a type of vehicle accident in which a vehicle tips over onto its side or roof. The most common cause of a rollover is traveling too fast while turning.- Dynamics :Vehicles can roll over in several ways...

.

Modern row-crop tractors

The Canadian agricultural equipment manufacturer Versatile
Versatile
Versatile is a Canadian brand of agricultural equipment that has produced augers, swathers and combine harvester.In the 1970s, it was an independent operation, founded by Peter Pakosh and Roy Robinson, that had 70% of the 4WD tractor market and then was later owned by Ford and Fiat's New Holland,...

 makes row-crop tractors that are 250 hp; powered by an 8.3 liter Cummins Diesel engine.

Modern row crop tractors have rollover protection systems in the form of a reinforced cab or a roll bar
Roll bar
Roll bar or rollbar may refer to:* Roll bar, also known as anti-roll bar or sway bar, a torsion spring bar that reduces vehicle roll* Roll cage, a vehicle frame designed to protect occupants in the event of a crash...

.

Garden tractors

Garden Tractors (also called Mini Tractors) are small, light and simple tractors designed for use in domestic garden
Garden
A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature. The garden can incorporate both natural and man-made materials. The most common form today is known as a residential garden, but the term garden has...

s. Garden Tractors are usually designed primarily for cutting grass
Grass
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae family, as well as the sedges and the rushes . The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns ...

, being fitted with horizontal rotary cutting decks. Visually, the distinction between a garden tractor and a ride-on lawnmower is often hard to make - generally Garden Tractors are more sturdily built, with stronger frames, axles and transmissions rated for ground-engaging applications. Garden Tractors are generally capable of mounting other implements such as harrows, cultivators/rotavators, sweepers, rollers and dozer-blades. Like ride-on mowers, Garden Tractors generally have a vertical-crankshaft engine with a belt
Belt (mechanical)
A belt is a loop of flexible material used to link two or more rotating shafts mechanically. Belts may be used as a source of motion, to transmit power efficiently, or to track relative movement. Belts are looped over pulleys. In a two pulley system, the belt can either drive the pulleys in the...

-drive to a transaxle
Transaxle
In the automotive field, a transaxle is a major mechanical component that combines the functionality of the transmission, the differential, and associated components of the driven axle into one integrated assembly....

-type transmission (usually of 4- or 5-speeds, although some may also have two-speed reduction gearboxes or a hydrostatic drive). However, Wheel Horse (now part of Toro
Toro (company)
The Toro Company is an American manufacturer of turf maintenance equipment , snow removal equipment and water-saving irrigation systems for golf courses, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential lawns, and agricultural fields...

) garden tractors have horizontal-crankshaft engines with belt-drive, whilst Allen/Gutbrod
Gutbrod
Gutbrod was a German car manufacturer. The firm was founded by Wilhelm Gutbrod in 1926. It originally built motorcycles, and from 1933 to 1935, Standard Superior cars were built with rear-mounted engines....

 tractors had an automotive-type clutch and gearbox. The engines are generally a 1- or 2-cylinder petrol (gasoline) engine, although diesel engine
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

 models are also available, especially in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

.

In the U.S., the term riding lawn mower today often is used to refer to mid or rear engined machines. Front-engined tractor layout machines designed primarily for cutting grass and light towing are called lawn tractors; and heavier duty tractors of the same overall size, often shaft driven, are called garden tractors. The primary differences between a lawn tractor and a garden tractor are the transmission torque handling capability, frame durability, the rear wheels (garden tractors almost always have multiple mounting bolts, while most lawn tractors have a single bolt or clip on the hub), and the ability to attach ground engaging equipment such as plows or disk-harrow
Harrow (tool)
In agriculture, a harrow is an implement for breaking up and smoothing out the surface of the soil. In this way it is distinct in its effect from the plough, which is used for deeper tillage. Harrowing is often carried out on fields to follow the rough finish left by ploughing operations...

s. Craftsman
Craftsman (tools)
Craftsman is a line of tools and lawn and garden equipment controlled by Sears Holdings Corporation; the brand is owned by KCD IP, LLC, a special purpose entity created by Sears Holdings for securitization purposes....

, MTD, Snapper
Snapper Inc.
Snapper, Inc. is a United States company that makes residential and professional lawn care and snow removal equipment, based in McDonough, Georgia...

, and other major mowing equipment manufacturers use these terms.

As well as dedicated manufacturers, many makers of agricultural tractors have made (or continue to make) ranges of garden tractors, such as Case
Case Corporation
Case Corporation was a manufacturer of construction and agricultural equipment. In 1999 it merged with New Holland to form CNH Global, a Fiat Group division...

, Massey-Ferguson, International Harvester
International Harvester
International Harvester Company was a United States agricultural machinery, construction equipment, vehicle, commercial truck, and household and commercial products manufacturer. In 1902, J.P...

 and John Deere
John Deere
John Deere was an American blacksmith and manufacturer who founded Deere & Company, one of the largest and leading agricultural and construction equipment manufacturers in the world...

.

Two-wheel tractors

Although most people think first of four-wheel vehicles when they think of tractors, a tractor may have one or more axles. The key benefit is the power itself, which only takes one axle to provide. Single-axle tractors, more often called two-wheel tractor
Two-wheel tractor
Two-wheel tractor or walking tractor are generic terms understood in the USA and in parts of Europe to represent a single-axle tractor, which is a tractor with one axle, self-powered and self-propelled, which can pull and power various farm implements such as a trailer, cultivator or harrow, a...

s or walk-behind tractors, have had many users ever since the beginning of internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

 tractors. They tend to be small and affordable. This was especially true before the 1960s, when a walk-behind tractor could often be more affordable than a two-axle tractor of comparable power. Today's compact utility tractors and advanced garden tractors may negate most of that market advantage, but two-wheel tractors still enjoy a loyal following, especially where an already-paid-for two-wheel tractor is financially superior to a compact or garden tractor that would have to be purchased. Regions where two-wheel tractors are especially prevalent today include India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

.

Orchard tractors

Tractors tailored to use in fruit orchard
Orchard
An orchard is an intentional planting of trees or shrubs that is maintained for food production. Orchards comprise fruit or nut-producing trees which are grown for commercial production. Orchards are also sometimes a feature of large gardens, where they serve an aesthetic as well as a productive...

s typically have features suited to passing under tree branches with impunity. These include a lower overall profile; reduced tree-branch-snagging risk (via underslung exhaust pipes rather than smoke-stack-style exhaust, and large sheetmetal cowling
Cowling
A cowling is the covering of a vehicle's engine, most often found on automobiles and aircraft.A cowling may be used:* for drag reduction* for engine cooling by directing airflow* as an air intake for jet engines* for decorative purposes...

s and fairing
Fairing
A fairing is a structure whose primary function is to produce a smooth outline and reduce drag.These structures are covers for gaps and spaces between parts of an aircraft to reduce form drag and interference drag, and to improve appearance.-Types:...

s that allow branches to deflect and slide off rather than catch); spark arrestors on the exhaust tips; and often wire cages to protect the operator from snags.

Automobile-conversion tractors and other homemade versions

The ingenuity of farm mechanics, coupled in some cases with OEM
Original Equipment Manufacturer
An original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, manufactures products or components that are purchased by a company and retailed under that purchasing company's brand name. OEM refers to the company that originally manufactured the product. When referring to automotive parts, OEM designates a...

 or aftermarket
Aftermarket (automotive)
The automotive aftermarket is the secondary market of the automotive industry, concerned with the manufacturing, remanufacturing, distribution, retailing, and installation of all vehicle parts, chemicals, tools, equipment and accessories for light and heavy vehicles, after the sale of the...

 assistance, has often resulted in the conversion of automobiles for use as farm tractors. In the United States, this trend was especially strong from the 1910s through 1950s. It began early in the development of vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, with blacksmiths and amateur mechanics tinkering in their shops. Especially during the interwar period
Interwar period
Interwar period can refer to any period between two wars. The Interbellum is understood to be the period between the end of the Great War or First World War and the beginning of the Second World War in Europe....

, dozens of manufacturers (Montgomery Ward
Montgomery Ward
Montgomery Ward is an online retailer that carries the same name as the former American department store chain, founded as the world's #1 mail order business in 1872 by Aaron Montgomery Ward, and which went out of business in 2001...

 among them) marketed aftermarket kits for converting Ford Model T
Ford Model T
The Ford Model T is an automobile that was produced by Henry Ford's Ford Motor Company from September 1908 to May 1927...

s for use as tractors. (These were sometimes called "Hoover Wagons" during the Great Depression, although this term was usually reserved for automobiles converted to horse-drawn buggy use when gasoline was unavailable or unaffordable. During the same period, another common name was "Doodlebug
Doodlebug tractor
Doodlebug tractor is the colloquial name for a home-made tractor made in the United States during World War II when production tractors were in short supply. The Doodlebug of the 1940s was usually based on a 1920s or 1930s era Ford automobile which was then modified either by the complete removal...

"). Ford even considered producing an "official" optional kit. Many Model A Fords also were converted for this purpose. In later years, some farm mechanics have been known to convert more modern trucks or cars for use as tractors, more often as curiosities or for recreational purposes (rather than out of the earlier motives of pure necessity or frugality).

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, a shortage of tractors in Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 led to the development of the so-called EPA tractor (EPA was a chain of discount stores and it was often used to signify something lacking in quality). An EPA tractor was simply an automobile, truck or lorry, with the passenger space cut off behind the front seats, equipped with two gearboxes in a row. When done to an older car with a ladder frame, the result was not dissimilar to a tractor and could be used as one.

After the war it remained popular, now not as a farm vehicle, but as a way for young people without a driver's license
Driver's license
A driver's license/licence , or driving licence is an official document which states that a person may operate a motorized vehicle, such as a motorcycle, car, truck or a bus, on a public roadway. Most U.S...

 to own something similar to a car. Since it was legally seen as a tractor it could be driven from 16 years of age and only required a tractor license. Eventually the legal loophole was closed and no new EPA tractors were allowed to be made, but the remaining were still legal, something that led to inflated prices and many protests from people that preferred EPA tractors to ordinary cars.

In March 1975 a similar type of vehicle was introduced in Sweden, the A tractor [from arbetstraktor (work tractor)]. The main difference is that an A tractor has a top speed of 30 km/h. This is usually done by fitting two gearboxes in a row and not using one of them. Volvo Duett
Volvo Duett
The Duett is an automobile from Volvo that was in production from 1953 to 1969.The name Duett was intended to signify a car that could be used as a delivery vehicle during the week and as a comfortable sedan away from work....

 was for a long time the primary choice for conversion to an EPA or A tractor, but, since supplies have dried up, other cars have been used, in most cases a Volvo
Volvo Cars
Volvo Car Corporation, or Volvo Personvagnar AB, is a Swedish automobile manufacturer founded in 1927, in Gothenburg, Sweden. It is owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. Volvo was originally formed as a subsidiary company to the ball bearing maker SKF. When Volvo AB was introduced on the Swedish...

.

Another type of homemade tractors are ones that are fabricated
Fabrication (metal)
Fabrication as an industrial term refers to building metal structures by cutting, bending, and assembling. The cutting part of fabrication is via sawing, shearing, or chiseling ; torching with handheld torches ; and via CNC cutters...

 from scratch. The "from scratch" description is relative, as often individual components will be repurposed from earlier vehicles or machinery (e.g., engines, gearboxes, axle housings); but the tractor's overall chassis
Chassis
A chassis consists of an internal framework that supports a man-made object. It is analogous to an animal's skeleton. An example of a chassis is the underpart of a motor vehicle, consisting of the frame with the wheels and machinery.- Vehicles :In the case of vehicles, the term chassis means the...

 is essentially designed and built by the owner (e.g., a frame is welded from bar stock
Bar stock
Bar stock, also colloquially known as billet, is a common form of raw purified metal, used by industry to manufacture metal parts and products....

—channel stock, angle stock, flat stock, etc.). As with automobile conversions, the heyday of this type of tractor, at least in developed economies, lies in the past, when there were large populations of blue-collar workers for whom metalworking
Metalworking
Metalworking is the process of working with metals to create individual parts, assemblies, or large scale structures. The term covers a wide range of work from large ships and bridges to precise engine parts and delicate jewelry. It therefore includes a correspondingly wide range of skills,...

 and farming were prevalent parts of their lives. (For example, many 19th- and 20th-century New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 and Midwestern
Midwestern United States
The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

 machinists and factory workers had grown up on farms.) Backyard fabrication was a natural activity to them (whereas it might seem daunting to most people today).

Alternative machine types 'called' tractors

The term tractor (US & Canada) or tractor unit (UK) is also applied to:
  • Road tractors, tractor unit
    Tractor unit
    A tractor unit, prime mover , road tractor, or traction unit is a heavy-duty commercial vehicle within the large goods vehicle category, usually with a large displacement diesel engine, and several axles. The tractor unit serves as a method of moving trailers...

    s
    or traction heads, familiar as the front end of an articulated lorry / semi-trailer truck
    Semi-trailer truck
    A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or articulated truck or articulated lorry, is an articulated vehicle consisting of a towing engine , and a semi-trailer A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) articulated truck...

    . They are heavy-duty vehicle
    Vehicle
    A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....

    s with large engine
    Engine
    An engine or motor is a machine designed to convert energy into useful mechanical motion. Heat engines, including internal combustion engines and external combustion engines burn a fuel to create heat which is then used to create motion...

    s and several axle
    Axle
    An axle is a central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear. On wheeled vehicles, the axle may be fixed to the wheels, rotating with them, or fixed to its surroundings, with the wheels rotating around the axle. In the former case, bearings or bushings are provided at the mounting points where the axle...

    s.
    • The majority of these tractors are designed to pull long semi-trailer
      Semi-trailer
      A semi-trailer is a trailer without a front axle. A large proportion of its weight is supported by a road tractor, a detachable front axle assembly known as a dolly, or the tail of another trailer...

      s, most often to transport freight of some kind over a significant distance, and is connected to the trailer with a fifth wheel coupling
      Fifth wheel coupling
      The fifth wheel coupling provides the link between a semi-trailer and the towing truck, tractor unit, leading trailer or dolly. Some recreational vehicles use a fifth wheel configuration, requiring the coupling to be installed in the bed of a pickup truck as a towing vehicle...

      . In England this type of "tractor" is often called an "artic cab
      Semi-trailer truck
      A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or articulated truck or articulated lorry, is an articulated vehicle consisting of a towing engine , and a semi-trailer A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) articulated truck...

      " (short for articulated cab).
    • A minority is the ballast tractor
      Ballast tractor
      A ballast tractor is a heavy haulage road vehicle designed to pull or push heavy or exceptionally large loads. Unlike the tractor unit from an articulated trailer, the ballast tractor is designed or adapted to pull or push loads from a drawbar...

      , whose load is hauled from a drawbar
      Drawbar (haulage)
      A drawbar is a solid coupling between a hauling vehicle and its hauled load. Drawbars are in common use with rail transport, road trailers, both large and small, industrial and recreational, and with agricultural equipment.-Agriculture:...

      .
  • Pushback tractors
    Pushback
    In aviation, pushback is an airport procedure during which an aircraft is pushed backwards away from an airport gate by external power. Pushbacks are carried out by special, low-profile vehicles called pushback tractors or tugs....

    are used on airports to move aircraft on the ground, most commonly pushing aircraft away from their parking stands.
  • Locomotive
    Locomotive
    A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

     tractors (engine
    Engine
    An engine or motor is a machine designed to convert energy into useful mechanical motion. Heat engines, including internal combustion engines and external combustion engines burn a fuel to create heat which is then used to create motion...

    s) or Rail car mover
    Rail car mover
    A rail car mover is a road-rail vehicle fitted with couplers for moving small numbers of railroad cars around in a rail siding or small yard...

    s
    • The amalgamation of machine
      Machine
      A machine manages power to accomplish a task, examples include, a mechanical system, a computing system, an electronic system, and a molecular machine. In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work...

      s, electrical generator
      Electrical generator
      In electricity generation, an electric generator is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. A generator forces electric charge to flow through an external electrical circuit. It is analogous to a water pump, which causes water to flow...

      s, controls and devices that comprise the traction component of railway vehicle
      Vehicle
      A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....

      s
  • Artillery tractor
    Artillery tractor
    Artillery tractor is a kind of tractor, also referred to as a gun tractor, a vehicle used to tow artillery pieces of varying weights.-Traction:...

    s
    • Vehicles used to tow artillery
      Artillery
      Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

       pieces of varying weights.
  • NASA
    NASA
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

     and other space agencies use very large tractors to move large launch vehicle
    Launch vehicle
    In spaceflight, a launch vehicle or carrier rocket is a rocket used to carry a payload from the Earth's surface into outer space. A launch system includes the launch vehicle, the launch pad and other infrastructure....

    s and space shuttle
    Space Shuttle
    The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

    s between their hangars and launch pad
    Launch pad
    A launch pad is the area and facilities where rockets or spacecraft lift off. A spaceport can contain one or many launch pads. A typical launch pad consists of the service and umbilical structures. The service structure provides an access platform to inspect the launch vehicle prior to launch....

    s.
  • A pipe-tractor is a device used for conveying advanced instruments into pipes for measurement and data logging, and the purging of well holes, sewer pipes and other inaccessible tubes.


Glossary of tractor-related terms not explained elsewhere

Term Explanation
Tests, mandated by a Nebraska
Nebraska
Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

 law and administered by the University of Nebraska
University of Nebraska system
The University of Nebraska system is the public university system in the state of Nebraska, USA. Founded in 1869 with one campus in Lincoln, the system now has four universities and an agricultural college....

, that objectively tested the performance of all brands sold in that state. In the 1920s and 1930s, an era of snake oil
Snake oil
Snake oil is a topical preparation made from the Chinese Water Snake , which is used to treat joint pain. However, the most common usage of the phrase is as a derogatory term for quack medicine...

 sales and advertising tactics, the Nebraska tests helped farmers throughout North America to see through marketing claims and make informed buying decisions. The tests continue today, making sure that the snake oil, which has mostly been vanquished, stays that way.
(s)
great tractor war(s)
A period of ruinous competition and price war
Price war
Price war is a term used in economic sector to indicate a state of intense competitive rivalry accompanied by a multi-lateral series of price reduction. One competitor will lower its price, then others will lower their prices to match. If one of them reduces their price again, a new round of...

ring between tractor manufacturers in the 1920s. Led to a consolidation
Consolidation (business)
Consolidation or amalgamation is the act of merging many things into one. In business, it often refers to the mergers and acquisitions of many smaller companies into much larger ones. In the context of financial accounting, consolidation refers to the aggregation of financial statements of a group...

 in the industry.

Manufacturers

See List of tractor manufacturers
See List of former tractor manufacturers


In addition to commercial manufacturers, the Open Source Ecology
Open Source Ecology (project)
Open Source Ecology is a network of farmers, engineers and other supporters. The main goal of OSE is the eventual manufacturing of the Global Village Construction Set...

 group has developed several working prototypes of an open source tractor called the LifeTrac as part of its Global Village Construction Set
Global Village Construction Set
Global Village Construction Set is a project created in 2004 by Marcin Jakubowski built around a list 50 industrial machines that can be built by individuals to create and sustain a small technologically advanced farming and manufacturing community with modern comforts...

. When technical documentation
Technical writing
Technical writing, a form of technical communication, is a style of writing used in fields as diverse as computer hardware and software, engineering, chemistry, the aerospace industry, robotics, finance, consumer electronics, and biotechnology....

, including CAD blueprints, is completed for instructions to build it, anyone with access to the Internet will be able to download a full set of blueprints and manufacturing instructions to build their own tractor (assuming they have the necessary tools and equipment); under the open source license, the do-it-yourself tractors may be built and used for any purpose including selling the working tractors.

See also

  • Big Bud 747
    Big Bud 747
    Big Bud 747, or 16-V 747, is the name of a custom made tractor that was built in Havre, Montana in 1977. It holds the record for the world's largest farm tractor. It was built by Ron Harmon and employees of the Northern Manufacturing Company for a cost of about $300,000...

    , the world's largest farm tractor
  • Tractor pulling
    Tractor pulling
    Truck and Tractor pulling, also known as power pulling, is a motorsport competition, popular in America, Europe , Australia and Brazil, which requires modified tractors to pull a heavy sledge along a 35ft. wide and length of 100 metre or 300ft+ track, with the winner being the tractor that pulls...

  • Farm equipment
    Farm equipment
    Agricultural machinery is any kind of machinery used on a farm to help with farming. The best-known example of this kind is the tractor.-Soil cultivation:*Cultivator*Cultipacker*Chisel plow*Mulch tiller*Harrow**Spike harrow**Drag harrow...

  • Heavy equipment
  • Lester F. Larsen Tractor Museum
    Lester F. Larsen Tractor Museum
    The Lester F. Larsen Tractor Test and Power Museum is an historical facility located on the East Campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Lincoln, Nebraska, United States...


  • Power take-off
    Power take-off
    A power take-off or power takeoff is a splined driveshaft, usually on a tractor or truck, that can be used to provide power to an attachment or separate machine. It is designed to be easily connected and disconnected...

  • Rail car mover
    Rail car mover
    A rail car mover is a road-rail vehicle fitted with couplers for moving small numbers of railroad cars around in a rail siding or small yard...

  • Tractor unit
    Tractor unit
    A tractor unit, prime mover , road tractor, or traction unit is a heavy-duty commercial vehicle within the large goods vehicle category, usually with a large displacement diesel engine, and several axles. The tractor unit serves as a method of moving trailers...

  • Walking tractor


Tractor information


Tractor safety

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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