Tractors are one of the most expensive vehicles in any agricultural business. They’re also very prone to theft because they can be driven off pretty easily and resold. The problem any farmer faces is how to protect a tractor from theft when they’re not around.
If you’re worried about your tractor getting stolen, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that there are many ways to prevent this from happening. In this article you will learn the 10 best methods that many owners are using already to keep their tractors as safe as can be.
1. Bolster the gate and fence
Make it more difficult to enter your property, and especially difficult to drive off with the tractor.
If your property is not surrounded by a tall fence I suggest doing so first. You can also place spikes and other obstacles on top of the fence to prevent burglars from climbing it.
If your property is too large to completely fortify, at least try to do it with the parking space where your agricultural vehicles are stationed.
Also make sure to install a strong, steel gate and secure it with a thick chain. I personally use the extra thick Schlage chain as an extra security measure on my gates.
2. Monitor the area with night vision-equipped cameras
Burglars hate security cameras because the recorded footage can help you and the authorities identify them. Even if a burglar is wearing a mask, it’s difficult to hide other physical features such as height, weight, physical mannerisms, clothes, way of entry etc.
It’s best to monitor entry points to your property. If you don’t have a tall fence, there is no clear entry point so your best bet it so install them all over the place. Or just cover the critical areas. You’ll know the best which areas are most vulnerable to break-ins on your own property. Also install the camera and point it at the place where you usually park your tractor.
The top option are security cameras which are equipped with motion sensors and remote alert systems. These cameras can send you a notification on your smartphone or other device so you can act quickly in case anyone comes inside the monitored area. The camera should also have high quality night vision since most break ins occur during nighttime.
I recommend the Ring Security Camera (link to Amazon), which is also equipped with a motion sensor floodlight. When someone enters the monitored area, the floodlight will emit bright light, illuminating the area and improving the video quality even in pitch black surroundings. When it detects any movement, it will start off a noisy alarm. It also sends a notification together with a short video so you can see what’s going on from a safe distance.
If you’re looking for a way to save money I suggest supplementing real security cameras with fake ones which are really cheap. Fake cameras look just like the real ones, but they don’t provide any technological features. They’re used only as deterrents, and they can be quite effective when used in this way. Create the illusion that your property is filled with powerful cameras and you’re more likely to chase the bad guys away.
3. Install an alarm on your tractor
There are many car alarms which can be fitted onto a tractor to produce annoying sound if anyone tries to mess with. There are alarms with motion sensors which create an invisible force field around the vehicle. If anyone comes inside this force field it will get triggered.
A very popular and affordable choice is Doberman Motion Detector Alarm. It’s sensors cover a wide area: 15 feet out from the unit, 60 degrees vertically and horizontally. It produces 100 dB alarm sound when it gets triggered.
There are also more basic alarms which you can also stick unto any surface, such as a door or a window. If the surface vibrates, the alarm will get triggered. A very affordable choice from this category is the Doberman Ultra Slim alarm.
Both of these alarms run on small batteries, so they’re pretty easy to use and don’t require any maintenance except for changing the batteries every few weeks/months (depending on how long they’re turned on).
You can obviously place multiple alarms on the tractor. If the thief manages to turn them off the others will keep beeping on. It’s unlikely that he’ll have the skill or patience to find them all and turn them off in a short time, especially if you hide them well.
There are many other alarms but these are the ones I’m most familiar with and they’ve maintained a great reputation among users for many years.
4. Get a proper guard dog
A recent survey done with convicted burglars has shown that a guard dog is the best burglar deterrent. No one wants to mess with a dangerous dog that can cost them their life. A dog can also alarm the owner and neighbors through barking just as effectively as a basic alarm system.
Of course, there are different dog breeds and some of them could be better suited for your farm (or other type of property) than others. There are livestock guardians, farm animal herders, ratters and multipurpose dogs, just to mention the main categories.
5. Use a wheel lock
As the name suggests, a wheel lock is designed to prevent a wheel from moving. It’s a tough device made from thick steel that is placed and locked on the wheel. Unless the thief is able to remove it, it’s pretty much impossible to drive the vehicle.
To remove a wheel lock, they’d need to have a powerful steel cutting tool or a key. Now the only problem is that I’m aware of the size of your tractor’s wheels. So you may need to do some research if the wheels are pretty large.
Panel Tech’s Wheel Lock is the largest one that I could find. It accommodates:
- Tires Width:6 -11.8”
- Tires Dia.:25.6”
It’s suitable for boat trailers, caravan, trailers, SUV and some tractors as well. Make sure you know the dimensions of the tires before buying a wheel lock.
6. Steering wheel lock
Perhaps the easiest way to add security to your tractor is to use a steering wheel lock. This is a steel device that looks like a small club. You can attach it and lock it to the steering wheel so that it can’t be steered in any direction. The Club 1000 is an awesome lock with over 400 positive customer reviews.
The great thing about this device is that it takes only a few seconds to attach and remove. If you have the key that is. Otherwise it would require cutting through the steel construction, which is something that not many thieves are willing or able to do.
7. Place warning signs around your property
Give any thieves a fair warning that your property and tractor are well protected. If you have a guard dog, post a guard dog sign, if you have security cameras, post warning signs of security cameras.
If you own a firearm showcase a small reminder of the 2nd amendment (if it’s allowed in your state by law of course). Here’s a bunch of affordable warning signs and stickers designed for private properties.
8. Park behind closed doors
The more barriers you can stack up between the tractor and the outside world, the safer it will be. Keeping it in a garage behind closed doors is the best option along with a fence and locked gates.
However, also make sure that the garage door is well locked and that it can’t be manipulated from the outside by using the fishing method. I’ve detailed the best ways to improve garage door security so be sure to check them out.
9. Hide a GPS device on the tractor
In case your tractor does get stolen, a GPS tracker device can help you located it easily. Of course, as long as it’s not discovered and removed by the thief. So it’s important to hide it or at least not place it in an exposed area.
Having said that, some tracker devices are also excellent as a remote alert system because they can send you an alert on your electronic device in case the tractor moves away from the “safe zone”. By using the tracker application you can designate on the map the exact coordinates of the safe zone, such as your farm for example.
On top of that, there are other options, such as the device immediately informing the police or the security company. One of the best trackers that has all of these features is Optimus GPS Tracker 2.0.
Keep in mind however that these are services which typically require recurring monthly payments. In case of Optimus tracker, it’s a monthly payment of $20 at the moment of writing. But if safety is your #1 priority, it’s a worthwhile investment, especially if your tractor is a newer and more expensive model.
10. Get a tractor insurance policy
You’ll sleep better knowing that your tractor is insured in case of theft or any accidents. In the worst case scenario you’ll at least get some money to replace it.
Typically farm and ranch equipment is covered individually, with each piece of equipment listed separately on the policy. Or it can be covered under a blanket policy with a designated amount.
I’m not going to name any specific farm/ranch equipment insurance because the best policy will depend on your location, price of equipment and all the potential risks you want to cover yourself against. But just to get a general idea of what to expect, the Agribusiness Insurance policy provides easy to understand information for insuring tractors and similar equipment.
Final Word: How to Prevent Tractor Theft
Tractor theft is a fear of many agricultural businesses. That’s why many owners monitor their equipment with surveillance cameras, improve the surrounding fence and gate with spikes and improved locks, use alarm systems etc.
When it comes to any vehicle, a good wheel lock and steering wheel lock can also make a huge difference because it requires time and effort to remove them. Oftentimes those are two things that thieves have a short supply of. Especially if there are people around and they’re trying to keep the noise down.
A GPS tracker will help in case tractor theft does occur, by alarming you and the authorities immediately. Finally, having your tractor insured with a good policy will relieve you of much anxiety knowing that your business will survive even in the worst case scenario.
But if you implement the before-mentioned tips, I’m positive that you can avoid a dark scenario like that from happening. Hope this helps!