Safety Checklists for Used Farm Equipment

Ag Safety and Health December 04, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

(Source: Pennsylvania State University. Agricultural Safety and Health)

Purchasing used equipment may be a cost-effective option for adding or replacing equipment on your farm or ranch. Before you make an investment in used equipment, however, you should consider the following questions:

  • Is there any reason that you should consider new rather than used equipment?
  • Is there a new model available that has beneficial safety features or updated technology? 
  • Does your lending agency have any special stipulations or requirements, such as appraisals, that make buying used equipment less cost-effective or feasible?
  • Does the used equipment meet the requirements—horsepower, towing capability, and so on—of the jobs that you need to complete?
  • How many hours have been logged on the equipment, and what is the typical "wear-out" life for the particular piece of equipment? (See table 1 for typical wear-out life, in hours, for different types of agricultural equipment.) 
Table 1. Machinery Wear-Out Life in Hours
Machinery Wear-Out Life (hours)
Tractors 12,000
Crawlers 16,000
Combines 2,000
Cotton pickers 2,000
Drills 1,000
Planters 1,000
Plows 2,000
Swathers 2,000
Tillage equipment 2,000

Source: Table provided by Dr. Jim Rumsey, Lecturer, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University California, Davis.

Used equipment can be cost-effective, but before purchasing used equipment, it is extremely important that you examine the equipment and consider factors such as affordability, dependability, safety, usability, and compatibility before making a final decision.


The following links provide additional information, including safety checklists, to consider as you decide whether to buy a piece of used equipment:

Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University
Reviewed by:
Glen Blahey, Canadian Agricultural Safety Association
William Harshman, Pennsylvania State University
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska Medical Center -

Use the following format to cite this article:

Safety checklists for used farm equipment. (2012) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from  



Jarrett, V. (n.d.) Buying a used farm machine: Farm machinery fact sheet FM-02. Utah State University Cooperative Extension. Retrieved from

Jarret, V. (n.d.) Checklist for Used Tractors: farm machinery fact sheet FM-04. Utah State University. Retrieved from

Rumsey, J. (1998) Small farm news fall 1998. UC Small Farm Program. Retrieved from


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