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Serving: WI
Chris Kestell and John Deere 2840 tractor
SPECIAL TRACTOR: In 1978, Tom Kestell of Waldo, Wis., bought this John Deere 2840 tractor new. Today the tractor is owned by his son Chris (pictured), who farms in partnership with Tom in Sheboygan County.

John Deere 2840 handles chores at Kestell dairy farm

My Favorite Tractor: The tractor was the Kestell family’s first tractor purchased new.

A 1978 Model 2840 John Deere claims the title of being the “favorite” tractor on Ever-Green-View farm in Waldo, Wis. It was purchased from Hagen Equipment for $17,000 by Tom Kestell and is now owned by his son Chris. The 2840 is used to operate the farm’s four-row 7000 John Deere corn planter. It also handles cutting, raking and baling hay, along with hauling grain wagons, loading manure and doing other daily tasks.

The tractor was manufactured in Manheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. Features and accessories include: a 5.4-liter six-cylinder diesel engine, a wide frond end, high-low transmission and 540/1,000-rpm independent PTO. It also came with a three-point hitch, power steering, differential lock and six forward gears. The 2840 is equipped with headlights in the fenders, both front and rear. A toolbox is located inside the hood in front of the steering wheel. The dash has temperature, oil pressure, amp and tachometer gauges. The tachometer reading is now over 18,000 hours. The tractor’s top road speed was 17.6 mph.

“For many years, the 2840 was a daily workhorse. However, a few years ago the tractor sat idle for 24 months so I could restore it to its original condition,” Chris says. He rebuilt the steering, transmission and final drive. The hydraulic system was totally disassembled to remove iron filings from the brakes and then was also completely rebuilt. Chris put in new brake pads and a new clutch. The front end was completely refitted with all new bushings, and kingpins were installed. After repainting the tractor, it was rewired and decals were put in place. Finishing touches included adding a new seat and new bright yellow cushions. 

The project took about 300 hours and proved to be a challenge but was certainly worth every minute, Chris says. No mechanical work was ever done to the engine, however, and it remains in excellent working condition.

“The 2840 exhibited excellent maneuverability, has always been reliable, was easy to get on and off, and comfortable to drive,” Chris adds. “For me, it has sentimental value because it was not only our first new tractor, but also my dad’s first new John Deere.” After purchasing that 2840, other Deere tractors on the farm have included: two 2940s, a 2950, a 4640 and a 7820.

Persinger writes from Milwaukee, Wis. To have your favorite tractor featured, email or send in a photo of yourself with your tractor, along with a 300- to 400-word write-up about the tractor, to: or Wisconsin Agriculturist, P.O. Box 236, Brandon, WI 53919.

TAGS: Tractors
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