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monalisa
Nov. 13, 2009, 10:03 AM
Hubby and I are tractor shopping (our first tractor) and we have looked seriously at the JD and Kubota already. Before we take the plunge, are trying to thoroughly educate ourselves and are now looking at the New Holland and Massey Ferguson.

Any stories, advice, good or bad, about these brands? Will probably buy new or totally refurbished. Looking at a 30-35 HP model (in that general area) with a 5-ft bush hog.

Would love to hear your comments, suggestions, experience, etc. Thanks!

Tasker
Nov. 13, 2009, 04:37 PM
I have a 2006 or 07 NH TC45DA...it is great on a hot summer's day to take the 5' mower out, turn on the AC & radio and putter along. It is fairly useless in mud and pulling a full manure spreader (wheel base is too narrow for the 180 bushel spreader), especially on an incline. That being said, it does a great job dragging the rings, pulling wagons and mowing. It's fine for raking hay and pulling the flat wagon with 6 3x3x8 bales stacked carefully. Ditto with the full kicker wagon of hay...it does fine. I am a chicken and do NOT take turns at speed, etc though. I do get poison ivy without any real 'contact', so the cab is essential for mowing pasture and raking hay for me. The AC is almost too cold on a 105* day, though...not that I am complaining.

My mom has a JD 970 (older model) with a loader, no cab or any bells & whistles and it is the real work horse of the 2 smaller tractors. I think it is a 35 HP. It has the standard wheel base, so it fits in the lane ruts like a truck or the big 115HP New Holland. It is scarier to pull a full kicker wagon than the little tractor and I won't pull the flat wagon with the big bales either.

Of the two, I usually pick the one that is hitched to the implement that I need and go with it...The JD uses less diesel usually if that is of any importance.

Hilary
Nov. 13, 2009, 04:45 PM
We have a MF 451 we bought in 2003 - we do our own hay so I needed somthing beefy enough to deal with the mower and the baler and the big hill.

The 400 series for MF is their more "farm-y" tractor - as opposed to the "subcompact" tractors that are smaller, lighter, and easier for the average person to drive. Our neighbor has a Kubota which feels to me like driving a car, not a tractor. And something to think about - it has a "safety" feature that it will cut the engine if it feels no weight in the seat. Well, my mom, a small woman, was trying to rake the hay once and it kept stalling because she would get bounced up, the seat would feel no weight and cut the engine. Pretty hard to do any work with the engine cutting out on a regular basis!

For the money, MF offered us the most tractor. Ours is 50hp, so bit bigger than what you're looking for.

You will need to have a good dealership - because eventually you need help fixing it. So go shop and see who treats you best, who has the best hours and who is close enough by to come help when it breaks, and who understands what you want to do with the tractor. And price. Deere is the priciest.

My only experience with NH is that the same dealership also sells Kubota and they wouldn't show me the NH tractors. So I got turned off.

monalisa
Nov. 13, 2009, 05:09 PM
Interestingly enough, I am finding no difference in cost between JD and Kubota. The M-F is cheaper.

Romany
Nov. 13, 2009, 07:44 PM
Spend some time chatting to the locals about what brands they use, and how good the local service is.

A nice tractor is utterly useless if and when it breaks and the local service people are nbg!

Our local service shop - call me back with info on the weekends, stop by on their way home from work to fix stuff, custom-build attachments, and are generally worth their weight in gold (Ford NH).

See who has good financing and trade-in/upgrade options, also.

secretariat
Nov. 13, 2009, 09:04 PM
Keep in mind that I'm a Ford man from way back (I have 2 Ford Tractors, 2 Ford trucks, and a Ford car) - so I'm biased by experience.

Essentially all of the smaller new (post 2000) tractors are made in India or Pakistan or wherever the hell and are pretty much equivalent brand doesn't mean anything. They're priced well, but aren't the "old style" rugged. They won't last as long as my Ford 3000, which is now almost 40 years old and which I expect to outlive me; it already outworks me.

Of the older tractors (made in US), JD was clearly the best at a premium price. Ford was next for those of us who couldn't afford JD's. MF and Case and IH were good workhorses, not quite as good but they could do a day's work. Decision maker was frequently best dealer, closest.

Kubota's a good tractor, but $ for $ I'd go with the JD for the dealer network. When I was pricing new 55hp tractors, JD was about $2K more, Ford and Kubota were equivalent pricing.

monalisa
Nov. 13, 2009, 10:35 PM
Thanks Secretariat for your advice. I am a Dodge person myself- just personal preference.

Sounds like the dealer network is incredibly important. There are far fewer M-F and New Holland Dealers. I have already decided against a Kubota - will do JD before Kubota.