Every farmer thinks differently about his tractors. Just like some country boys like fancy trucks, some farmers really enjoy fancy tractors, and there's nothing wrong with that so long as the man writing the cheque is comfortable with what he is getting relative to what he is paying. For as much as I joke about fancy tractors, I become eminently practical when it comes time to sign on the dotted line. This is especially true right now because in building out our new place I have a lot more places for money to be spent than I have actual money to spend. When the rubber meets the road, I'm looking for a reliable machine with a front end loader that will give me ten years of relatively trouble free service and can handle 3-400 hours per year of medium duty work at some sort of a reasonable operating cost. Four wheel drive would be nice, but for my applications in this part of the world it's not an absolute necessity. As much as I'd love to have one, I feel the same way about a cab; it's nice, but not absolutely necessary.
To begin to whittle away at my search, I went to see these two machines today. Today was John Deere day, but I'm not stuck on any particular colour, so long as the model in question has a history of reliability.
This is a 2006 JD 6403, rated at 100 engine and 85 pto hp, 1060 hrs. It's for sale just down the road at an asking price of $ 26,000, which would be a little steep except for the low hours. The tractor is basically a new machine.