So Long Johnny Popper

I sold my 1955 John Deere 40U today. I just don’t use her much anymore as I can do everything I need to do with my much more efficient Grillo 2-wheeled tractor.

Over the last year of owning the Grillo I’ve come to the conclusion that old tractors are better off in parades/shows than anywhere else, and I suspect that is exactly where my old 40 is going to spend her years.

There is just no comparison on a small acreage (under 10 acres). You get more work done, often faster and usually better, with a tiny fraction of the fuel input using a modern 2-wheeled tractor, and it IS because technology has improved since WWII. Modern 2-wheeled tractors cost about the same as an old 4-wheeled one, and two-wheeled tractors are vastly better in the garden. No wasted corner space and modern 2-wheel tractor implements are vastly better, too.

One of the important yet invisible advantages is the matter of soil compaction. My Grillo weighs a little under 300 pounds. Put an implement on and it weighs between 300-600 pounds. My 40 weighed around 3500 pounds and even more when implements were added, and that is a LIGHT tractor relatively speaking. I used to think that 4 wheel 3-point tractors were essential because they can pull implements like subsoilers, but the truth is that radishes probably do a better job, and about half the reason why you’d ever want to subsoil is because you’ve compacted the soil with tractors!

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