Farm Progress

John Deere 530 is a Primmer family favorite

My Favorite Tractor: The tractor was purchased new in 1959 for $2,200.

Harlen Persinger

June 15, 2017

2 Min Read
OLD FRIEND: This John Deere 530 has been in the Primmer family for 58 years. Bryce Primmer of Viroqua says the tractor was purchased new in 1959 by his grandfather Orvis Primmer.

When Orvis Primmer needed extra power for his farming operation, he purchased a new 1959 model 530 John Deere tractor from Ferryville Implement for $2,200. At that time, he and his brother-in-law, Eugene Engh, did custom work with two tractors and a chopper.

The 530 was also used to pull the three-bottom, 14-inch plow and 14T John Deere baler, recalls Primmer’s grandson, Bryce Primmer of Viroqua. Rated at 34 hp, other features included a narrow front end, clamshell fenders, cushion seat, six forward and one reverse gear, two lights in the front and one in the back, PTO, hand clutch, belt pulley, drawbar, power steering, a toolbox inside the frame, 3.1-liter two-cylinder engine, 90-inch wheel base and differential mechanical expanding shoe brakes. During the tractor’s production cycle between 1958 and 1960, there were 9,800 units made in Waterloo, Iowa.

Through the years, the 530 was switched to a wide front end for stability to operate a Freeman trip loader. It was also used to rake hay and operate the elevator to unload square bales. The engine has been trouble-free and doesn’t use any oil. In 2011, the tractor was switched back to the original narrow front end, sandblasted and completely restored. Today, Bryce’s father owns the tractor.

“The 530 is my favorite because it has been in the family for 58 years. Besides a sharp turning radius, it’s easy to get on and off,” Bryce adds.” Every so often I’ll take it for a drive, but having worked for so many years, it mostly sits inside. My boys, Blaine, 11, and Mason, 2, know exactly where the ‘putt-putt’ is and go right to the garage to see it. My goal is to maintain and carry on the legacy of the 530 for other family members to enjoy.”

Persinger writes from Milwaukee. To have your favorite tractor featured, send in a photo of yourself with your tractor, along with a 150-word write-up about the tractor, to: Wisconsin Agriculturist, P.O. Box 236, Brandon, WI 53919.

About the Author(s)

Harlen Persinger

Harlen Persinger is a photojournalist who lives in Milwaukee. Since 2004, he has freelanced for regional and national farm publications such as Wisconsin Agriculturist and Farm Industry News, plus many others.

Persinger grew up on a farm in Grundy County, Iowa. He received a degree in ag journalism from Iowa State University in 1972. He has traveled to more than 40 countries and has been a member of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (now Agricultural Communicators Network) since 1976. In 2016, he was the first photojournalist/freelancer to receive the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2017, Persinger began providing college scholarships to 4-H’ers from his home county who have an interest in photography/journalism and agriculture. He was inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame in 2023.

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