Just want to start off by saying i have zero clue about tractor. I am fortune enough to close on a 12 acre property recently. The previous owner have a John Deere 790 that he wanted to sale. But it doesn't have a front loader. I cant seem to find anywhere to buy the attachment. Is it better for me to buy a more recent tractor?
Your second sentence, the one I highlighted, speaks volumes to me.....and your honesty is refreshing. Basically, you don't know what you don't know and that leaves things wide open for interpretation.
A 790 Deere is a model which was built and sold new between 2000 and 2007, which means the tractor is 14 to 21 years old. In tractor terms, the only real concern is what happened to the machine in those years. Was it parked outside and used occasionally and has less than 500 hours on it? Or was it stored in a building and used like a rented mule, with 3,000 hours on it?
Both scenarios have pluses and minuses. A machine 14 to 21 years old is going to likely need some repairs to keep it going. The parts are generally available from Deere, but if you know nothing about tractors, you are likely going to have to pay someone to make these repairs. Also, that might mean paying to either have the tractor transported to the repair facility or owning the tow vehicle and trailer to permit you to haul it. That tractor alone weighs about a ton, assuming the tires aren't loaded. If they are loaded, it could weigh close to 2,700 lbs or more.
A tractor without a loader is not nearly as useful as one with a front end loader. On a points system of 1 to 10, with one being useless and 10 being ideal, a tractor with a FEL, bucket and pallet forks is a 9.9 on the useful scale. Without the FEL, I would put it at maybe a 5. DId it come with any implements or attachments? Lot's of questions need to be answered.
The 790 is a clutch operated, manual transmission and depending upon your skill level, that alone could be a mountain to climb, verses using a hydro static tractor. Honestly, anyone can learn to drive to a hydro static tractor. Using a clutch and selecting the right gears and using the brake, all are important part of learning to use the 790 and may present a challenge to some (even many) people.
These are all things only you can answer. If you can drive a manual transmission vehicle, then the learning curve is less steep for the 790 than it would be if you are not proficient in operating a clutch, brake and shifting gears. Please note, the tractor is not a synchronized transmission, so you don't "shift gears" on the move, like you would in a standard transmission vehicle. Instead, you are always starting in the gear selected, so experience with what gear to select is helpful for the task and duties at hand.
It's also critical in safely operating the tractor......When you let out the clutch when in 1st gear low, the tractor will go 1 mph. However, have the transmission in high range, and the tractor will go 2 mph in 1st gear, while nearly 12 mph in 4th gear, high. If you are learning to drive this type of vehicle, you need flat, open ground to get used to the machine. You don't want to start out in 4H on hills or you could end up crashing the machine.
These are all points to ponder. Your budget is another big piece of the puzzle. For sure, you will want a tractor with the FEL, there are so many useful ways to use them. Finding a FEL for the 790 is likely going to require some time and possible travel or having it shipped, all which add costs. If you are a "turn key" type of person, buying the machine ready to go would be much easier. If you like searching and haggling on price and making arrangements to get stuff delivered, you might enjoy the process of finding the FEL and getting it on the machine.
Is the property flat as a pancake, or is the land rolling with hills and slopes? That matters as to the tractor selection, based upon your operational capability. A manual transmission tractor with a clutch for someone who has no experience operating the machine, is a danger waiting to happen.
A lot to think about. If you don't know how to safely operate a tractor, you really need to learn before diving in with both feet. Ideally, have someone who is experienced help show you how to use the machine and operate it. Selecting a tractor is a lot like asking someone's opinion on selecting a mate. There is a lot of "data" needed to make the best recommendations and even then, there is a lot of "trial and error" involved...............