Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki
Big Bud Tractors
Predecessor Northern Manufacturing Co.
Founded 1968
Defunct 1992
Headquarters Harve, Montana, USA
Products agriculture machinery tractor

Big Bud was a brand of articulated tractors built by the Northern Manufacturing Co., later renamed Big Bud Tractors, of Harve, Montana, USA. The Big Bud 747 tractor was for many years the biggest tractor in the World at 900 hp (670 kW).


The company has built a range of high horse power tractors for use in the prairies of America and the Canadian wheat belt.  The first two Big Bud articulating rubber-wheel tractors out of the Harve, Montana plant were the 250-series and were purchased by Leonard M. Semenza of Semenza Farms in 1968 (in the 'Golden Triangle' of the Montana plains) located between Fort Benton, Montana, and Chester, Montana, on his 35,000 acre farm.  The company went bankrupt in the early 1980s and was bought up by the Meissner Brothers in 1985. Production slowed in the late 1980s due to the farming recession and increasing competition from mainstream manufactures building ever bigger tractors. The last Big Bud rolled off the line in 1992.

Five different Big Bud models were built and painted in what has come to be known as "Bafus Blue" for the Bob Bafus of the Oregon-based Bafus Farms. These are unique in livery, and some of them have been rebuilt or customized. There were also models built in what is known as "Iranian-Gold" which were sent to Iran.

The Factory

In Early 2017 it was reported that the former Big Bud factory is being used by That Guys Fab Shop and owned by Torgerson's LLC. An implement company with locations around the state of Montana.

The competition

Several manufactures now offer tractors of 500 hp (370 kW) in their line-up after buying up some of the specialists manufacturers.

Case IH parent Tenneco bought Steiger in 1986, Ford bought Versatile in 1987, and John Deere put Wagner out of business after a contract deal that ended with Wagner no longer being about to sell tractors as a competitor during the late 60s and early 70s. Ford then sold out the tractor business to Fiat which then operated the agri business under the New Holland brand in 1993. Fiat then later bought out Case IH & merged it with New Holland becoming CNH Global. CNH had to divest Versatile and McCormick Tractors due to competition restrictions, as they also owned Steiger. Versatile was sold to Buhler Industries Inc. in 2000.

Fendt is testing a 6-wd tractor of a reputed 540 hp+ rating.

Challenger is a 'new' entry in the sector taking on the Caterpillar Challenger Tractor range when Caterpillar Inc. decided to exit the agricultural sector & divested its range of rubber tracked Crawler tractors that revolutionize the Ag crawler market in the early 1980s.   Caterpillar Inc. still holds the record for it's D9 crawlers ability to pull the world's largest plow at 110 feet across on Semenza Farms located outside Fort Benton, Montana.  The Big Bud 747 pulled a plow that was 80 feet across.

Big Bud 747

Main article: BIG Bud 747

The biggest Big Bud ever built is Big Bud 747. It was built in 1977 for deep plowing (UK spelling; ploughing ) on a cotton farm. The Rossi Bros Cotton Farms in Bakerfield, California had the tractor custom built at a cost of $300,000 in 1977. The tractor works at the impressive rate of 1 acre every minute whilst crossing the fields at 8 mph.  It could pull a plow that was 80 feet across.  World record is a 110 feet across plow pulled by a Caterpillar D9 by Leonard M. Semenza of Fort Benton, Montana.


The tractor is fitted with a 24.1 litre Detroit Diesel 16V92T engine that produces 900 hp. This immense power is transmitted to the wheels by a 6F + 1R Gearbox. The Tyres are a massive 8 ft tall. The tractor can potentially be opened up to 1100 hp by replacing the unit fuel injectors with higher flow models. Fuel is carried in a huge 1000 gallon (US) tank with a 150 gallon hydraulic reservoir for the steering and implement control system.


Big Bud 747 is;

  • 28½ feet long,
  • 14 feet high,
  • 21 feet wide
  • 16 feet wheel base
  • weighs is 45 tons with a full diesel and hydraulic oil tank.

Current owners

Big Bud 747 is owned by the Williams brothers of Big Sandy, Montana. The tractor is now retired and is on display at the Heartland Museum in Clarion, Iowa.  Oct 10, 2020 returned home to Big Sandy and back to work


See also


External links