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tle
Nov. 16, 2009, 10:24 AM
Background: we have a buyer on the line for our house. YAY!! There was a credit issue on their end that we're waiting to get cleared up. We started this process with a house in mind -- 3500 sq ft on 10 acres 5 minutes from a state park with riding trails. Unfortunately that house had been for sale for quite a while and the owner decided they had to do something -- it was put on a 1 year lease as of November 1st. So we went looking again and saw a place this past weekend that has us all drooling!! The house is quite a bit smaller at 1560 sq ft but has the amentities to start us off (3 bedrooms and 2 baths) and a LOT of potential not only for the existing house but for adding on. Plus IMHO it has more character (1905 built vs the previous love which was 1970s built). It's sound and all the bigger items are newer. Best part? It's sitting on 18 acres!! 18 acres with just enough roll to the land to not call it flat (the 10 at the previous house was dead flat). There's a small creekbed running through the property that is treelined as well as about 4 acres in trees and scrub at the back of the property. Most of the rest is in pasture -- they call it a grass-clover mix, but I walked a bit of it and only saw the tiniest amount of clover... so it's mostly grass. Barns on the property aren't much as they're really old and I think we'd probably look at replacing at least one of them with a new pole barn for stalls before getting horses but that would be at least a year - going to work on the house first as we would want to add a master suite.

Anyway, the reason for this post. I know next to nothing about tractors! I know one of the first purchases we'll need to get is some kind of riding mower with a snow blade on it to cover us in the short run (my old barn owner is maybe 2 miles from here and has hay making equipment and an interest in maybe baling the acreage til we use it). Figure a riding mower will cut the lawn around the house plus the snow blade to help get us out of the near 600' driveway in the winter. :-)

But eventually teh goal IS to have horses on the farm. So... in light of a recent thread I read on different tractor brands, I thought I'd ask. I was looking at a couple websites over the weekend (after we went to see the house) and they list different HP and other numbers. I don't even know what's considered big vs small! I was also looking on craigslist and there are quite a few older tractors listed for sale in this area. What kinds of things do I need to look into and learn about? Also... implements. I know we'd want a front end bucket and a bushhog... any other implements that you use and would recommend not forgetting about?

Thanks. Sorry for the book. I dont' mind looking things up on my own but in this case, having boarded and never having my own farm, I'm not even sure where to start!

NMK
Nov. 16, 2009, 10:58 AM
Don't bother with a riding mower. Get a mid range ag tractor (like Ford 4000) with a three point hitch and PTO. You will need a front end loader, a finish mower (Woods) and a scraper (for snow). If you feel flush get a brush hog.

A used one will run you 10K without implements. I almost killed my husband for buying one as soon as we bought our farm --you know that "we just purchased a farm wigged out about cost" sort of thing--and it was the smartest thing we have ever done. I think I use it at least three times a week. It's invaluable. Ours is big enough to get things done but not too big to handle mowing the yard.

There's a Baker & Sons Equipment yard near you. I would go and talk with them.

Nancy

tle
Nov. 16, 2009, 11:19 AM
Thanks.

So the Ford 4000 is the approximate size that would be good? Several of the CL listings mentioned hours. I know they're talking about hours used, but for someone who doesn't understand tractors (yet!), what does that really tell me as a buyer?

I'm also not finding the Baker & Sons Equipment that you mentioned. Do you have an address?

NMK
Nov. 16, 2009, 11:29 AM
That is hours used. Some of the older models are actually better IMHO.

chai
Nov. 16, 2009, 11:41 AM
I love my John Deere 4310. It is easy to drive and has a ton of safety features. Great tractor and I would highly recommend it. We use it mostly to drag the ring with a York rake and to plow snow on our farm.

Tamara in TN
Nov. 16, 2009, 11:43 AM
[QUOTE=tle;4500563] It's sitting on 18 acres!! 18 acres with just enough roll to the land to not call it flat (the 10 at the previous house was dead flat). There's a small creekbed running through the property that is treelined as well as about 4 acres in trees and scrub at the back of the property.

anything by JD in the 6000 series with cab,front end loader with grapple attachment, and a bat wing bush hog

best

tle
Nov. 16, 2009, 11:56 AM
That is hours used. Some of the older models are actually better IMHO.

is that akin to mileage on a truck? What kind of hours used can one expect from the types of tractors and useage that I'm considering?

as for Baker & Sons... they're actually on the other side of the state from me (I'm near Dayton).

Tamara in TN
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:05 PM
is that akin to mileage on a truck? What kind of hours used can one expect from the types of tractors and useage that I'm considering?

as for Baker & Sons... they're actually on the other side of the state from me (I'm near Dayton).



every make model and year of tractor has some quirk in it...sometimes it is something stupid like fuel lines with pinholes and sometimes it's things like badly bored transmissions ;)

check www.fastline.com and get a view of the tractors out there...and check with a service rep from said manufacturer of tractor you decide on once you choose about any odd things...

you can also hit

www.agtalk.com bigger players but they have some experience in the smaller tractors you are looking into

never ever ask the dealer unless they are known personally to you ;)

Sarabeth
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:31 PM
every make model and year of tractor has some quirk in it...sometimes it is something stupid like fuel lines with pinholes and sometimes it's things like badly bored transmissions ;)

check www.fastline.com (http://www.fastline.com) and get a view of the tractors out there...and check with a service rep from said manufacturer of tractor you decide on once you choose about any odd things...

you can also hit

www.agtalk.com (http://www.agtalk.com) bigger players but they have some experience in the smaller tractors you are looking into

never ever ask the dealer unless they are known personally to you ;)Wow, there's some good info in those links, thanks! :D

LAZ
Nov. 16, 2009, 12:31 PM
I recently bought a Massey Ferguson 253-2 52 hp diesel tractor. It's a 1993 model, has a 6' front end loader with hooks, a 8' offset bush hog, and a round bale spear. I bought it off a private guy who bought it 2nd had from the city of Westfield. It is lowish hours. I bought it for $10,500, they were asking $12,500 but took my offer.

I *LOVE* having my own tractor, and it is a perfect size for me. Big enough to run any thing I need it to do, it carries the 1200 round bales without whining and moves my x/c jumps around easily. I mowed my farm with it right after I got it in about 5 less hours than I did with the borrowed 6' mower.

What size you will need is going to depend on how much you're going to use it, what you're going to use it for. You'll quickly get frustrated at having to do things in very small bites if you get too small a tractor and one that is too big is hard to maneuver on small acreage (my friend John loaned me his big tractor to mow--the tires are taller than me & it has dual axles that stick out beyond the mower--I was scared to death I was going to run through the fences here).

I looked for a year before I found the combination of features I wanted at a price I could afford.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Nov. 16, 2009, 02:08 PM
I know someone with 45 acres (rented out hay fields)--probably 20 on the horse part-- and they do everything with their heavy duty skidster.

Their yard is a normal sized yard, the rest is trees or pasture.

They love their skid.

Of course where I board (actual farm) they have 3 different tractors a skid and a boom! All the horse chores get done with the wonder boom. The boom is the husband's toy but the wife wants to right a book "101 Uses for the Wonder Boom." OMG what a fun machine.

NMK
Nov. 16, 2009, 05:50 PM
Rats TLE, I thought they were on your side of the state. When Hubby looked into buying a tractor, he sat in a bunch of them before he decided. I would worry less about hours but more about general wear and tear --and whether you can get a warranty or not. A good dealer will help you out a lot.

Nancy

Hilary
Nov. 17, 2009, 12:26 PM
As far as hours go - it's kind of like a stop watch. The meter runs when the engine is on, so it's not quite like miles. And you don't know what the tractor was doing for those hours. 1000 dragging a riding ring is not equal to 1000 hours of mowing on a hill.

FWIW, I use about 100 hours a year - I do hay - 25 acres, 1 cutting, drag the ring, move the manure pile and use it for snow removal.

So our 2003 tractor has about 600 hours.

You want 4wd, especially if you're going to move snow. You definitely want a bucket.

And as someone already pointed out, too big is just as bad as too little.

A cab, to me, is a luxury we can do without. Plus, I like to hear what's going on with the machinery.

monalisa
Nov. 19, 2009, 08:03 AM
I am getting ready to buy my first tractor. I would recommend going to the local dealers and letting them help educate you. I have looked at JD, Kubota, New Holland and Massey-Ferguson. I just tried the New Holland yesterday and really liked it. Think you can get a good deal on a new one right now - all area offering 0% financing.

Not sure how I am going to end up, likely with the New Holland, but your size will depend on what you want do with it. Always buy more tractor than you think you need. There are some good threads on here about tractors. If you buy a used on make sure the owner has taken care of it. If it has any age to it you should be able to look at it and tell how well cared for it has been.

riderboy
Nov. 19, 2009, 08:46 AM
If my John Deere 45 horse diesel were a woman and I weren't already so happily married I would marry it. It's great. When I bought it, I was actually looking at a smaller version of it. The salesman talked me into the bigger model with the line "You can do a small job with a big tractor, but you can't do a big job with a small tractor." And boy, was he right. At the time I thought it was just a sales pitch but fortunately I listened and have no regrets.

JazCreekInc.
Nov. 19, 2009, 12:34 PM
My Kubota 5030 is amazing and does everything... just have to keep my dad off of it because he has almost flipped it on him self quite a few times.... We live on a bit of a hill... be careful with that.

deltawave
Nov. 19, 2009, 01:33 PM
Brands are personal, I don't think you can go wrong with any of the major brands.

Ours is 25 HP (John Deere, I forget the model number) and is all we need for our 12 acres. We do a LOT of snow-blowing (driveway is 1/4 mile long and we get 100-150 inches of snow per year) and mowing and manure moving. No hay-making--that adds a LOT to your horsepower needs and equipment and for us is NOT worth it. I let someone else have the headaches about haying weather, etc. Just to buy the minimum equipment for hay-making would've cost me more than I pay in 5 years to buy hay.

Must-have implements for horses and snow: front end loader, bush hog mower, snowblower attachment. Nice, nice additions that I would not WANT to live without: seeder, harrow. Optional for us: manure spreader. (I give away 90% of my manure via ads on Freecycle, etc.) Things that would've been cool but we're fine without: posthole attachment (way easier to just rent one than to use it 3x and then have no use for it), hay spear (tractor too small and I don't use round bales), finish mower (we don't have a lawn yet, LOL!) and box blade for surfacing the driveway (neighbor has one we can borrow).

Another must-have here is 4 wheel drive with all the snow. Even with that, we need chains on the tires when the snow is deep. We don't have a cab (yet) and that would be awfully nice when blowing snow as the Lake Michigan gales are blowing in your face . . . :eek:

vineyridge
Nov. 19, 2009, 03:35 PM
One thing that you have to think about is tires. I've had a 45 hp Ford 3930, which was wonderful but it had full AG tires. If the pasture or turf is the slightest bit wet, you can chew up things pretty badly when you have to make sharp turns. I now have a 25 h JD compact Utility 870 with turf tires. It doesn't chew anything up when I mow, but it has very poor traction. So it's not good for pulling and it's even gotten stuck. :( I wish it were bigger also.

There is an alternative, which is about halfway in the middle. It's the R3 Commercial/Industrial tire. Has treads, but they aren't as aggressive as the ones on Ag tires.

It costs over a grand to change tires on a tractor because the wheels are different. So make sure that you decide what kind of tires you want before you buy. You can easily get stuck with the wrong tires for your applications.

secretariat
Nov. 19, 2009, 05:04 PM
Tractor classes (mine, not standard but pretty close):
1. Less than 40hp - compact
2. 40-60hp - utility
3. 60+ hp - real tractors for farmers.
You will need either a utility or compact. For 18 acres, a compact is generally fine but utility can be very useful if you have some heavy duty work (dirt moving, lifting, etc) to do. I love putting my adaptor on the 3-point hitch and moving the biggest horse trailers around the farm. Compacts are not suitable for haying operations in general.

Brands: IMO, all compact tractors are now made in Pakistan or India or wherever, and they're pretty much all the same regardless of brand (except for some of the REALLY cheap ones, like everything else, which are useless). They're much lighter duty than what I normally call a tractor, won't last as long as "real tractors," but don't cost nearly as much to buy or run. And I wish I had one to take light duty hours off my utility machine. In 4wd mode with a loader, they're handier than a pocket in a shirt. I would be very, very careful about buying one used (remember, they wear out) and definitely would not buy a used one with more than 1000 hours. You'll be limited to a 5' (perhaps 4') bush hog with these machines so pasture mowing time will be increased over the bigger tractors. I would not recommend a tractor less than 25hp (my lawn mower has 27hp). Hydraulic capacity, tire size, and wheel base are more important than hp.

Older utility tractors from the major brands (including JD, Ford, MF, Case, IH, and Kubota) are usually good deals used; I've never bought a new tractor, couldn't afford one. My Ford 3000 is older than my daughters and outworks me (not always difficult to do); I expect it to outlive me as well. But my 3930 4wd with loader is a HOSS!! I just wish it was big enough to pull an 18' batwing mower (10' is as much as it can handle at reasonable speeds). And it's beefy enough that I can (and do) unload 1 ton pallets with the loader/forks from flat bed trucks.

In your case, I suspect a used 30-35hp Kubota 4wd with loader would be ideal. Get the Ag tires and a finish mower (hell, 1/2 the time I mow my yard with the bush hog); don't waste money on a riding mower. Just stay off the yard when it's wet. Trim with a push mower.

Good hunting!

Frank B
Nov. 20, 2009, 12:55 PM
Forget the riding mowers and garden tractors. For your applications, you need a "real" one!

A search on "used tractors" will turn up numerous buy/sell websites. Also see what the dealers have in stock.

With the economic downturn, many "city-farmers" are losing their taste for the country life and much used equipment is available. Good luck in your search!

WaningMoon
Nov. 21, 2009, 08:06 AM
Jeez, don't know how we ever got along if all this is so. I think maybe ppl think they need more than they do. We ran a 85 cow dairy for yrs. We did all our own hay, cut all our own wood, plowed our snow, spread our shit and anything else that needed done. It was in the shadow of Jay Peak which I believe had the highest snowfall in the Northeast. It was for sure a hill farm, and we had 470 acres.

We didn't have a bucket, we didn't have a brushog. The tractor was NOT 4wd and did not have PTO. We never had any problem at all climbing up into the mountain and pulling logs down. These were grand little Harry Fergusons, from the 50's, a pair of them, we bought from the University. Or I didn't, hte inlaws did. We had a pair of them and a 1949 Farmall Super C with the wide front end to pull the baler. Now we effectively ran a whole darn farm with those tractors. No 4wd,no Pto on any of them.

Hilary
Nov. 21, 2009, 05:03 PM
Well we also used to drive model Ts and managed OK. My old tractor is a 57 Cockshutt 540. It too did all the haying for us, in 2wd with no bucket. But my new tractor is better and I prefer using it now that I have it. I use the old one for raking and love having it.

tidy rabbit
Nov. 21, 2009, 05:28 PM
TLE, There is a guy in our area name Larry Pursley. He has a business of refurbishing and reselling tractors. He's kind of a wheeler dealer but I think you might find a good deal through him when you get serious about buying.

We bought a new Kubota L4400 4 wheel drive. Love our tractor. Before we bought the Kubota we bought an old Ford 80 something or other. It's a real workhorse but the old tractors are scarey as hell to drive, I think. The Kubota is more like driving a truck and I don't mind it at all. I also like that it has a safety belt and a roll bar.

The Kubota is reasonable for parts replacements. John Deere tractors are REALLY expensive for parts replacement.

One word of advice, if you don't know much about tractor safety, find someone to tell you what to look out for, how you can flip it over, etc. My brother is paralyzed from flipping a tractor over, if he had known more safety tips... well.....

vineyridge
Nov. 21, 2009, 05:52 PM
Difference between my JD 870 Compact Utility tractor, which has 27 hp and a PTO but is really just a big diesel lawnmower and the Ford 3930 that I had and wish I still did have is the weight. The 870 weighs about 2500 pounds, while the 3930 weighed over 8000.

Another thing to factor in, now that I'm thinking about it, is that it is very expensive to add a loader to a tractor that isn't set up for one in the first place. So buy a loader equipped tractor on the front end. The bigger tractors can be converted much more easily than the baby ones.

Also the hitch category is important. The baby tractors have either Category 0 or Category 1 3 pt hitches. That means you are somewhat limited in the heavy dutyness of the attachments because of the weight. Utility tractors have category 2 hitches which are usually part of farm quality equipment and so heavier duty but more expensive to buy new.

FLeckenAwesome
Feb. 28, 2010, 10:14 PM
So just hoping I can resurrect this thread for some advice for me :)

We have 11 acres of mostly woods and hills. There is probably about 4 acres of slightly hilly pasture. We have a "ring" if you could call it that and a manure pile. We made do with a riding mower and just paid someone to bush hog, someone to move poop now and then, and someone to make our "ring" and fix some of the hills to prevent the barn from flooding. We used the riding mower to drag the ring, spread liquid fertilizer, and drag poo. But...now the mower has died. And I don't think it's going to come back to life this time.

So... with money being REALLY tight... what's the best option. Ideally we need something to pull the arena drag, pull the fertilzer sprayer, and drag the chain link to spread poop. But... we could also potentially get something to move the poop pile, aerate, and do more farm work. The hubby is thinking more of an ATV/four wheeler and just mowing the lawn with a push mower, but I'm leaning more towards a tractor tractor. Although I know that will cost a lot more. Is there an in between type thing?

What would our best and most cost-effective bet be? We live in NE Georgia, so very little snow (if ever), but tons of rain. And it does get very wet here!

Thanks in advance!

Tom King
Feb. 28, 2010, 11:15 PM
Over the years we've had a number of tractors and now I wouldn't want anything smaller than our utility tractor now. It's 70 hp with a front end loader. Telescopic drag links make it much easier and safer to hook up attachments and a power reverser/shuttle shift makes loader work a breeze.

I prefer John Deere but would advise to get a brand that you have an experienced dealer closest for if there are not a lot of choices.

S1969
Mar. 1, 2010, 09:11 AM
Over the years we've had a number of tractors and now I wouldn't want anything smaller than our utility tractor now.

I prefer John Deere but would advise to get a brand that you have an experienced dealer closest for if there are not a lot of choices.

Agreed. I have a powerful lawn tractor as well but it is no where as useful as my tractor.

We bought a new Kubota utility size...40hp? I think somewhere around that. We got great financing and our dealer is the best. We are not especially near the dealership but they have come out to pick up & return it on very little notice when we've had problems (e.g. punctured tire). In our case, it's me using the tractor 99% of the time home alone, and I am not handy. If something goes wrong I will not be able to fix it myself and therefore getting a tractor through a reputable and helpful dealer was very important to us.

suzyq
Mar. 1, 2010, 09:42 AM
Don't some of the brands give discounts to USEF members? We are now tractor shopping too.

LauraKY
Mar. 1, 2010, 10:29 AM
Second, third and fourth, get the real tractor. You will want to keep the pastures mowed at least a couple of times a year. A garden tractor will just burn up.

Now, I do wish I had a small garden tractor for around the house and the fenc line along road, so if you find a deal....

Maybe you can find someone to hay your pastures (split the proceeds) so you don't have to worry about mowing them for a year or too. That might give you time to find the "perfect" tractor.

One thing I was told when we bought our farm...don't buy anything right away except for a round pen (if you have horses). She was so right. We use the round pen panels for emergency fence fixe, temporary injury pens, temporary gates and even as a round pen! Best investment ever.

Equibrit
Mar. 2, 2010, 01:16 PM
These are great, designed for your lifestyle and 0% financing; http://www.kubota.com/f/products/GL40/index.cfm
You never lose money on a tractor.

FairWeather
Mar. 2, 2010, 02:18 PM
I just bought the 3032e from John Deere for my 10 acre (rather flat) farm. If I had lots of hills I would have bumped up to the 40hp, but for my needs it seems that this will be sufficient.
While not cheap at all, I was shocked at how reasonable it was, and came with 0% financing.
I did my due diligence in searching for used tractors and found that for what I wanted, it did not save me any money to buy used. Additionally, the dealership was selling about 5 of these a week.

I cannot WAIT for it to get here!

JDufort
Mar. 2, 2010, 11:16 PM
Love my JD 4310 w.E-Hydro, 4WD. and the baddest 4in1 bucket in the SE!
www.tractorbynet.com discussion boards really help me decide what I wanted.

pcwertb
Mar. 3, 2010, 10:29 AM
We have 25 acres and are really happy with a 45 horse JD (I think it is a 5405?). We have a roof (I love being out of the sun when I mow) but not full cab. We use a 6' finish mower, but also a 5' bush hog, have a bucket, forks, box blade, seeder and fence auger. I can move rounds with the fork. Would never go to a smaller tractor. For around the house, arena and driveway (common areas) we mow with a zero turn gravely. The tractor would not be great for lawn type mowing.

katarine
Mar. 3, 2010, 11:35 AM
We have a 70 or so model Ford 3000 with PTO, 2 WD. No loader or front end hydraulics of any kind.

I would 'like' a front end loader but it's not a huge deal that we don't have one. With only 4 horses out 24/7 there's no manure pile to move.

We use that PTO to drive the auger, the Bush Hog.

We use the tractor to set out round bales on a spike on the back of the tractor.

We also use it to drag the box blade to smooth driveways, shape dirt, etc.

We use the Kawasaki mule for the 25 gallon sprayer (just put it in the bed), to pull the arena drag (small arena) and to drag the pasture (biggest field is maybe 6 acres).


Once every 3-4 years we rent a backhoe to tear out trees, tweak things, or move big dirt around. That's 500 bucks for a week, delivered. Works for me ;)

It's a bitchy old tractor to deal with in terms of shifting, it's tough to steer, and dangerous in terms of no roll bars. I don't do things on angles, LOL. But for the money, it's fine and stout. I could rig an umbrella, I cook when I mow as there's no cover, but meh, I have floppy hats and sunscreen. We use it about once a week.

Equibrit
Mar. 3, 2010, 03:08 PM
Another thing to factor in, now that I'm thinking about it, is that it is very expensive to add a loader to a tractor that isn't set up for one in the first place. So buy a loader equipped tractor on the front end. The bigger tractors can be converted much more easily than the baby ones.


Kubota Grand L's come all set up with hydraulic goodies.