Safety Checklists for Used Farm Equipment

Ag Safety and Health February 17, 2014|Print

(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

Safety checklist for used machinery selection. (n.d.) National Safety Council. Retrieved from

Used farm equipment: Assessing quality, safety, and economics. (2006) National Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service (NRAES). Retrieved from

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