[Market-farming] IH 140/Super A

Paul Bucciaglia pbucciaglia at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 29 18:12:42 EST 2005

Some tractor rambling so as to avoid nasty paper work and farm clean up:
  The IH 140 (1960's?) is a cosmetic update of the Super A (1950's?).  As far as I know they are pretty much the same tractor with different sheet metal.  The IH 'A', however, largely came without hydraulics and had less horsepower than the Super A/140.  So A's are a different horse than the Super A/140.
  I have  had from one to four seasons with all the the cultivating tractors I mentioned in my previous post except for the IH 274 and the Kubota 245C (although they are a lot like the JD 900HC I had at a farm I managed for a couple years, JD 900HC  is one sweet ride if you have the $).   Cubs, G's and the newer offsets from JD, IH, and Kubota all steer easier, some have more sensitive hydraulics, some are closer to the crop, and of course with the G you can see the whole bed instead of half of it. 
  I got my 140 because when I started farming I only had enough money for 3 tractors.  I had already picked up one AC G, and got the IH 574 w/loader when I moved to my current farm.  I needed a tractor that could side dress fertilizer, prepare stale seed beds, cultivate w/basket weeders or under belly cultivators, and 3 pt hitch cultivators, AND pull a manure spreader.  That was a tall order.  The 140 can do all of these things but is not particularly good at any of it.  It was really designed to cultivate one row crops like corn or tobacco with sweeps and shovels, and it is does a good job of that.  I modified my 140 with an after market  3 pt hitch.  It was an OK 'all around' tractor (has lots of quirks, the 3 pt hithc never thrilled me and I am taking it off this winter) for the first 2 years but now is used primarily for bed prep/fertilizer application, stale seed bedding, and occasionally side dressing one and two row crops like broccoli or summer squash.
  Also tractor values for old machines are kind of squirrelly.  I bought my 140 for 2 grand one dark fall night in central Vermont, and hauled it back here to CT.  I bought a belly cultivator ($300)  in PA, and got a sidedressor from Cole somewhere down south for 1/2 price ($300) right before they closed shop, got the 3 pt hitch ($200) from an outfit in MI.  So I have some $ and time into it my little mulitstate tractor, and I wouldn't let it go for any less than $3.5K, but then again it is a pretty tricked out 140.  As was mentioned earlier they have very reliable gas engines, and it has been a real horse for me.  
  So I guess what I have learned is that yeah, saving money is important, but getting what you need to get the job done is much more important, and buying quality is kind of paramount.  Take an AC G for example.  I have seen G's without hydraulics, creepers, and in crummy shape going for like $1.5K.  Good ones that are fully tricked out cost $3500 to over 4 grand if they are really pretty, which farmers usually don't care about.  A 'G' properly maintained will probably outlast the average 30 year old farmer.  Even if you only get 10 years out of it, you are looking at $150 a year vs. $350 a year.  Given how useful these tractors are, how much they lower weeding costs and improve crop quality, it seems to me to be money well spent to get a decent one and focus less on price.  That said, I'm not sure the extra money required to get a 1980's diesel high crop is a good bargain, at least for new farmers.  While they are little easier to drive, they are very pricey and if you are strapped
 for capital you may be better off put into multiple cultivating tractors rather than one really expensive one.  Then again if you got the money, they do make life easier than futzing with 50 year old gas engines.
  Thats the great thing about farming--everyones got their own idea how to do it!
  Fort Hill Farm

Paul Bucciaglia
Fort Hill Farm
Organic Vegetables, Herbs, and Flowers
18 Fort Hill Rd.
New Milford CT 06776
(860) 350-3158

"But your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more.
They're already overcrowded
>From your dirty little war.
Now Jesus don't like killin'
No matter what the reason's for,
And your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more."

John Prine, 1971
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