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View Full Version : How much tractor do I need? And maintenance??



cyndi
Mar. 26, 2010, 10:26 AM
UPDATE! Thanks for all the help. My (ok, our!) new Kubota B2320, with front end loader and bush hog is being delivered Thursday! My husband almost died when he found out how much tractors - even 'baby' ones - cost. But I think this thing will last years. I can't wait to start using it!



I am finally insisting we buy a tractor - after living on 12-acre farm for 8 years. My husband is the 'problem' here. He thinks mowing our pasture with a completely overfaced 22HP 42" Sears lawn mower is just fine. He thinks tractors are nothing but constant maintenance (despite the fact he spends a huge amount of time fixing our poor beat to death mower.)

I've had enough of trying to maintain my arena with a chain link gate with cinder blocks tied to it.:lol:

Push has come to shove. :lol:

We are getting a tractor. I know nothing about tractors and he insists the tractor will be MY responsibility - purchasing, maintenance, etc. Says he will have NOTHING to do with it.
Fine.

So, how much tractor do I need? Everyone has said you must have a front end loader - I agree - then we won't have to hire someone when we need more crushed concrete under the gates or to fill in holes on the driveway. And there is the 12 acres of mowing, with lots of trees on about 40% of it. And I will want something that can pull some sort of 'real' arena drag.

How many HP? tips on shopping for used tractors? Is the year less important than how many hours it has? What are some good brands? What sort of regular maintenance is required? Are they really a maintenance money pit as my husband claims? (he has a Ph.D from MIT and is used to being the 'smartest guy in the room' so I have to approach everything with enough scientific evidence to win a debate!)

carolprudm
Mar. 26, 2010, 11:21 AM
We had a Massey Ferguson for about 25 years, traded it in on a Kuybota.

They are not a big deal to maintain, About all we ever did was an oil and fuel filter change once a year. However choose a brand that is supported by a nearby dealer, unless you get one that is small enough to fit on your trailer. If it has to be hauled off for repair closer is better.

Right now we have 2 tractors, one 25 and 1 50 horse. For the most part the 50 horse is overkill, but came in real handy to move snow after the blizzards. We also use it to drill fence post holes, plow the garden, turn the compost heap, move pallets of bedding and round bales and bush hog. It gets used at least once a week, year round.

The smaller one has a belly mower and also a back hoe. We used the back hoe to renovate landscaping and I hope to dig some drainage ditches with it. It gets less use however than the big tractor, being used mostly for mowing the lawn in the summer.

We have 20 acres and 10 horses, plus 44 acres in the next county

Tamara in TN
Mar. 26, 2010, 11:26 AM
How many HP? tips on shopping for used tractors? Is the year less important than how many hours it has? What are some good brands? What sort of regular maintenance is required? Are they really a maintenance money pit as my husband claims? (he has a Ph.D from MIT and is used to being the 'smartest guy in the room' so I have to approach everything with enough scientific evidence to win a debate!)

I suggest a JD in the 6400 series...
wonderful, gal friendly...owners manuals with complete maintenance instructions AND holds a resale value better than any other out there...so if in 10 yos you sell off you still have a lot of nice,desirable tractor under you

Tamara in TN

Alagirl
Mar. 26, 2010, 11:40 AM
Diesel are lovingly easy in maintenance.
Keep the routine work on schedule and you should not have a lot to do.

(and I bet once the beast is in the barn, you will have to fend Hubby off with a stick. Driving one is a blast)

Just one thing: I am not sure how far they are mandatory, I still see some without, but do, do, DO have a roll bar on the tractor!! Under certain circumstances a tractor can tip over and without the bar roll over. Many people have been killed that way. (I think in Germany it has been mandatory for well over 20 years!)

sk_pacer
Mar. 26, 2010, 11:54 AM
Get to know a dealership that has real tractors, and handles everything from large garden tractors to 250hp behemoths with all wheel drive. Talk to local farmers - real farmers, not other acreage owners, they can be helpful and may even have an undepowered (for their purposes) tractor they are willing to sell, and may even give you handling lessons. I would suggest something at least 35hp that has front wheel assist, and if you plan on lifting anything heavy with the FEL, you will need more than 35hp. Get something with a good PTO hp rating (it is always a few hp less than base hp) because you will want something to run a gyro mower with, rather than a silly belly mount mower with all its belts and chains that come off on rough terrain.

Routine maintenance is the same as any vehicle, including the family car - change all filters at least once a year, change oil and oil filters as required (by hours or by how dirty the working conditions are), maintain belts, keep things greased, change hydraulic fluid as required and same for brakes. Everything costs more, particularly fluids because of the sheer volume - don't have my papers here but complete fluid change on my JD was around 500, including oil, hydraulics, brakes and anti-freeze and tires. Filters were extra but flushing all mechanical systems was part of the Green Light Maintenance package as was pick up and return of the tractor. Maintenance over the last 10 years has been probably 5K for routine but that includes everything I have done to the tractor over the 10 years, including replacing the top of the cab (1,000.00 for parts plus installation) flood lamps (50.00 each) some wiring fixed, new blower motor and fan switch..just like a car, things like lamps and switches go, and need replaced.

Hours are more important, provided the beast hasnt been abused or over used and properly maintained. Proper brands will give you better service in the long run and longer life than the off-brands, including everyone's favourite Kubota - they have problems once you get to the larger stuff, and take a long test run with one if you think it may be fine - they ride funny and have odd control placements on some models.

That long ramble said and done, buying a tractor is almost as personal as buying a car - it MUST be comfortable for the one doing the work, it must have certain amenities for certain people (radio with clock is great for those of us who spend hours in fields), a cab is a must in some climates whether for protection from heat, cold or just plain dirt - I could NOT survive winter without a cab because I spend hours in sub-zero temps removing snow. Hydrostatic drive is nice but not needed - I compromised and got the Powereverser on the JD - don't need to clutch going from forward to reverse, just push the lever from forward to stop to reverse - but still need to use the clutch to change gears up or down, but that isn't a huge deal, there were no automatic transmisions when I learned to drive.

Aside from JD, Case-IH, Ford/NH and whatever major brands I missed, do check for Lamborghini dealers - they do make a nice reliable tractor, nearly bought one but it was too big (175HP) and I needed 80ish hp but we had the Lambo on trial for 2 weeks - too big for small jobs and too small for big jobs, but it sure was nice.

sk_pacer
Mar. 26, 2010, 12:14 PM
Just one thing: I am not sure how far they are mandatory, I still see some without, but do, do, DO have a roll bar on the tractor!! Under certain circumstances a tractor can tip over and without the bar roll over. Many people have been killed that way. (I think in Germany it has been mandatory for well over 20 years!)
ROP is mandatory in Canada for anything over 25hp.

HunttoLive
Mar. 26, 2010, 12:25 PM
They are certainly not a money pit unless you buy too small.

Mowing is pretty easy work for a tractor. We have both a finishing mower and brush hog that run off the rear PTO. Front end loaders are very handy to have.

The terrain you are dealing with can make a big difference. We went from rolling hills to mountain type territory and that was wearing the old tractor out.

If you're property is flat and you are mostly just mowing and carting some gravel around, 25 HP diesel would work. Keep in mind that HP is not just HP. A diesel engine will produce a lot more torque than a gas engine.

If you've got hills then something in the 30-35 HP would probably work.

cyndi
Mar. 26, 2010, 12:27 PM
They are certainly not a money pit unless you buy too small.

Mowing is pretty easy work for a tractor. We have both a finishing mower and brush hog that run off the rear PTO. Front end loaders are very handy to have.

The terrain you are dealing with can make a big difference. We went from rolling hills to mountain type territory and that was wearing the old tractor out.

If you're property is flat and you are mostly just mowing and carting some gravel around, 25 HP diesel would work. Keep in mind that HP is not just HP. A diesel engine will produce a lot more torque than a gas engine.

If you've got hills then something in the 30-35 HP would probably work.

We are flat as a pancake here! The only "hills" are the freeway overpasses! LOL! Great advice, please keep it coming!!

Are the rollbars more important in hilly terrain? Can't really imagine a scenario where I would manage to flip one over just driving it around our flat fields...

Poniesofmydreams
Mar. 26, 2010, 12:31 PM
Please be sure to post a photo of your husband with a BIG GRIN
on his face as he plays with your new tractor. I am betting he will be racing you to the barn to play with it!

cyndi
Mar. 26, 2010, 12:34 PM
Please be sure to post a photo of your husband with a BIG GRIN
on his face as he plays with your new tractor. I am betting he will be racing you to the barn to play with it!

Really, probably not...he would rather be driving a computer! But I will have tons of fun with it! Like pushing over dead trees, pushing downed trees to burn pile, spreading manure pile -- things we had to hire a lot of times, or just did not get done because there just wasn't ENOUGH work to justify hiring someone...

Alagirl
Mar. 26, 2010, 12:35 PM
Are the rollbars more important in hilly terrain? Can't really imagine a scenario where I would manage to flip one over just driving it around our flat fields...

A ditch can do it.
don't skimp on that, it could safe your life!

It's like a helmet for riding...99% of the time you don't need it, but that 1% you will be glad you got it.

Guilherme
Mar. 26, 2010, 01:06 PM
I gave my wife a JD4320 about six years ago for Mother's Day. It was a well appreciated gift!!! ;)

For small acreage you need enough tractor for a medium duty FEL and that's going to mean something in the 23-28hp range. That range will also do a bush hog, spray rig, small manure spreader, etc. If it's for a person of limited physical strength then you want to add the various assist devices (like automated tranny), good hydraulics, and ensure decent ergonomics. This is likely going to argue for a Deere, or maybe a New Holland.

But shop around. For both features and price. Buying a tractor is not like buying a car or pickup. They are very long term investments and you want them to be right both operationally and financially.

G.

carolprudm
Mar. 26, 2010, 01:09 PM
I think ROPS have been mandatory on anything bigger than a lawn tractor since just after we bought our first tractor. Our old Massey didn't have one and I was always nervous on it. We do have hills and one time I was bush hogging up a hill when the rear wheel dropped into a woodchuck hole, scaring me half to death.

My dad's uncle was killed when his old tractor rolled over on him.

Here's Mr P, nuclear engineer, and two weeks post total hip replacement
http://picasaweb.google.com/carolp3231/March2010#5452974814127031330

Demolition is so satisfying!

Kate66
Mar. 26, 2010, 01:34 PM
Cyndi,

if you do come over to see our fencing, I will happily talk to you about tractors. We have 2 - an old Ford 38hp, no power steering, 2 wheel drive, without a front loader and a New Holland 30HP, 4 wheel drive, power steering, with a front loader - there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both. We are also waiting for the delivery of a 1953 Ford Workmaster. If I had to just buy one - it would be the old Ford but with a front loader on it - which is what we are getting with the Workmaster.

I also have a fantastic, very reasonably priced tractor mechanic, who will take your tractor away, fix it and bring it back for about 30% of what the dealership in Dickinson would charge you.

philosoraptor
Mar. 27, 2010, 08:45 PM
I got a 23 hp Kubota BX 23. It's a million times more reliable than the gas-powered "garden tractors" (riding mowers). It's big enough to do most anything, but small enough to do tight turns and be easy to handle. I also opted for backhoe, loader, and mower attachments -- and it's really earned its keep!

The hp thing is confusing. My 23hp diesel is able to do much more work than a 23hp gas engine -- LOTS more torque! I mow, put out round bales, pull stumps, put in fencing, knock down smaller trees, grade, and snow plow.

I will warn you if you go to a tractor dealer, they may try to scare you into the biggest model in your price bracket. The NH dealer wanted me to buy a massive 30hp that cost $10,000 more and had no backhoe because he said the little diesel ones were "too small". :lol:

I bought mine new because it was my first diesel tractor, and I had no clue how to fix things. It's maybe 4-5 yrs old now, and I've been so happy with it. And I admit, it sits out in the rain and sometimes doesn't get its oil changed right on time.

If you get used, don't consider anything without a rollbar. Just don't do it. (Mine has fold-down rollbar for parking in a garage, but all new tractors must have them). I'd advise against the really old "tricycle" style tractors, as they aren't the most stable. If you don't know how to fix diesel or hydraulic things, you may be better off looking for a small new or slightly used model rather than a really old thing.

I personally would never buy a tractor that wasn't 4WD. If you have a choice in tires, never go with "turf" tires; always pick the off-road bar-tread ones.

Why not just look at the local new dealers and sit on a few ? See what you might like or dislike in a tractor. Then start narrowing your search.

Frank B
Mar. 28, 2010, 11:18 AM
(he has a Ph.D from MIT and is used to being the 'smartest guy in the room' so I have to approach everything with enough scientific evidence to win a debate!)

I once knew one of those, an electrical engineer. I installed the running lights on his boat trailer because he was completely clueless as to how to accomplish the task. As a matter of fact, the thought of him running around unsupervised in that boat made me very thankful I rode horses for relaxation!

Tractors are very easy to maintain if you follow the recommended schedule and don't abuse them. Witness the fact that 20-30 years is considered "young" for a tractor.

If you decide on a diesel, make sure there is a competent diesel mechanic in your area, although routine service is not that hard to learn for someone that's willing to read -- and follow -- instructions!

saddleup
Mar. 28, 2010, 11:53 AM
I bought a Kubota 26 hp diesel tractor with a front loader and back blade three years ago. I use it mostly for snow removal and to move hay, so it's very lightly used. When I was shopping for a tractor, I asked around, and the majority of people with whom I spoke had Kubotas, because of the local dealer's reputation.

Since I'm doing this on my own, and have no mechanical skill whatsoever, this was a huge consideration. The dealer was fantastic, and they've patiently helped me learn how to use it, and also maintain it. I haven't had one minute of trouble with my tractor. There was only one day when I wished I'd bought a bigger tractor (snow, with three foot drifts!), but other than that it's been perfect for my needs.

ToiRider
Mar. 28, 2010, 12:48 PM
Are the rollbars more important in hilly terrain? Can't really imagine a scenario where I would manage to flip one over just driving it around our flat fields...

Rollbars come in handy if you get rearended by a driver on a cellphone or jammng out to their favorite tunes when you are just scooting down the road from field A to field B. We were at home and my Dad was on the tractor in the field just down the road. He was driving the tractor down the road towards home when some teenage fool came blasting around a curve and THEN through a straight away going way too fast and drove right into the back of him. The tractor was pushed into and through a medium size ditch, and it is truly by the grace of God that it did not flip or roll. My Dad managed to hold on and was miraculously OK (and so was the fool). The car was totaled, and so was the piece of equipment my Dad was pulling. I don't remember what it was. And No, the tractor did not have a rollbar. My Dad would have been crushed if he had not somehow kept the tractor upright.

I was at home in my upstairs bedroom, and I actually heard the fool accelerate through the curve (from a dead stop at a stop sign). I also heard the crash. We think the driver had to be going 60 mph when he hit my father.

This is also the reason I don't like to ride a horse on or even on the shoulder of the road. You can be doing everything right, but the driver of that huge vehicle accelerating towards you isn't paying attention.

jcotton
Mar. 28, 2010, 03:56 PM
Cyndi,
I love my John Deere tractor.

For your sized place, something in a 50-65 horsepower. With a front end loader and 8' bush hog. Roll bar is a very sensible thing to have or a cab tractor is great.

I totally understand using the 7 step scientific method proving why said object is needed. I had to use that method with my father (a brilliant chemist with not a lick of common sense --also MIT).

Berkley
Mar. 28, 2010, 06:01 PM
I am in the midst of evaluating tractors; different brands, size and new versus used......

On the John Deere website you can configure a tractor and use the model help selector feature.....You answer a bunch questions about use, acres, terrain et.al.....It will suggest a model to consider.

I am looking at Deere, New Holland and Kubota......I have twice as much land, with more to come and rolling, hilly terrain.......As someone posted, the best for me will likely be a JD 4320 or 4520

Good Luck

suzyq
Mar. 29, 2010, 10:12 AM
Hi Cyndi,
We're tractor shopping too! Hubby wants a new tractor for once, he's tired of maintaining old ones. We looked at the Ford dealership, then JD and still need to do Kubota. The dealers seem pretty good about helping us get the proper size. There are some good specials right now :) JD has the USEF discount but their own specials are better right now.

I can't believe you're taking care of 12 acres with no tractor!

foggybok
Mar. 29, 2010, 04:30 PM
Really, probably not...he would rather be driving a computer! But I will have tons of fun with it! Like pushing over dead trees, pushing downed trees to burn pile, spreading manure pile -- things we had to hire a lot of times, or just did not get done because there just wasn't ENOUGH work to justify hiring someone...

You'd be surprised...my IT geek hubby loves the tractor and goes out to do things just to drive it....

I'd suggest something on the line of the 35HP Kubtota we bought. perfect for most everything around here. occasionally I overface it trying to move a little too much dirt, but just back off and it's fine. There is nothing I have not been able to do.... Anything less, I wouldn't be happy, more power probably isn't worth it for a property our size (14a)

I sprung for the HST even though I thought is was not needed, but since i have it, I LOVE it!

We bought new and have had no problems.....

If you buy from a dealer that is close, you can have them do your maintenence if you want...

Have fun!!!

shortbusgeek
Mar. 31, 2010, 05:05 PM
As foggybok said, you might very well be surprised. I'm a geek for a living while my wife runs our farm. We're currently operating off 5 acres, but have a contract on 30+ acres that we're trying to move into as quickly as the lender will close. I love going out and playing around on the tractor. I actually took the last 2 days off and spent a good 4 hours or so on it yesterday, though I wish it was for better reasons. (Digging a 6 foot deep hole for a friend's horse. :( )

We have a Kubota Grand L 3240 and it's certainly suited our needs... from bush hogging to the scrape blade to setting fence posts...

LostFarmer
Mar. 31, 2010, 11:03 PM
I am not a fan of front end loaders on small tractors. I farm 454 acres this year. The new tractor is a 1983 model. Tractors will last a LONG time properly maintained. The new ones are cool with the 4 wheel drive, hydrostatic transmission and all that jazz but at what cost. My brother bought a 1996 ford 29 hp little diesel tractor. He uses it on his 5 acres all the time but for real loader work he rents a Bobcat for the weekend. I know it is fun to have the tractor but to mow a pasture get a big lawn mower and then rent a loader 3 times a year to turn the compost and regravel the gates. Sorry to be a kill joy but I am with hubby on this one. LF

cyndi
Apr. 1, 2010, 03:24 PM
I am not a fan of front end loaders on small tractors. I farm 454 acres this year. The new tractor is a 1983 model. Tractors will last a LONG time properly maintained. The new ones are cool with the 4 wheel drive, hydrostatic transmission and all that jazz but at what cost. My brother bought a 1996 ford 29 hp little diesel tractor. He uses it on his 5 acres all the time but for real loader work he rents a Bobcat for the weekend. I know it is fun to have the tractor but to mow a pasture get a big lawn mower and then rent a loader 3 times a year to turn the compost and regravel the gates. Sorry to be a kill joy but I am with hubby on this one. LF

The problem is, no 'lawn mowers' are really made to mow 12 acres on a regular basis. At least none that I have seen - most say 'for yards 2 acres or smaller.'

Plus I need something powerful enough to pull a REAL arena harrow - and even our almost-as-big-as-they-make garden tractor won't/can't do that. My arena is trashed from only being dragged with a chain link gate with two cinderblocks tied to it for the past 8 years. I would also like a box blade to help cut down the build-up around the arena corners.

And, since I am a small person, and can't wrestle much around I need a tractor with power steering, and auto transmission since I have a bad rotator cuff.

If we have to rent equipment - ithe chores I would like to have done, just do not get done.

So far, I've talked to dozens of people who have farms/horses and tractors. And they pretty much unanimously tell me the same thing:

definitely diesel
big enough for front end loader
hydrostatic transmission
power steering
4WD

A neighbor has a Kubota subcompact and has had it for 3 years and loves it. I stopped at the Kubota dealership yesterday - less than 3 miles from our farm, and talked to a salesman. Looking at about $15K for subcompact tractor (can't remember how many HP - high 20s) with front end loader and either belly mower or pull behind. They have a 5 year, 0% financing thing right now, which is more attractive to me than taking the $ out of savings.

Talked to JD dealer on the phone - basically same thing as above there runs about $3K more. But with USEF discount, should be close to price of Kubota. Kubota guy was definitely more helpful, but I will actually go to JD dealer this weekend.

I've browsed used, and they aren't much cheaper used for a newer model, and not easy to find exactly what you want. Want to buy newer or new because I do not want to hear DH gripe about maintenance.

Have friends with both Kubotas and JDs who are bugging me to come test-drive theirs - both purchased new.

shortbusgeek
Apr. 2, 2010, 11:12 AM
Yep, we took advantage of the 0% financing this past December. We've had our tractor for just over 3 months now and absolutely love it. I've heard of so many people having issues with the comparable size JD's that we decided to go the Kubota route. (A neighboring farm's 23 hp tractor actually had to go to JD to have it fixed 9 times last year.)

Yes, tractors are expensive (I think we paid $25k for our 3240 with loader, bush hog and tiller) but they hold their value well. As someone else mentioned, it's a lifetime investment. You'll probably have that tractor for a LONG time!

As for LostFarmer, I'd have to disagree. We use our loader on a very regular basis. We basically took a look at the various chores we do around the farm and things we'll need to do at our new property. With the number of times that we'd have to rent equipment, we'll basically pay for the tractor. You could rent a loader 5 times a year at $100 a day (guestimate, as it varies by where you are, size of the loader, etc.) or you could make one tractor payment of $420. You could rent a post hole digger for a few hundred bucks a year, or you could make a tractor payment. We could rent a tractor with implements to level out the riding ring and spread new footing... or we could make a tractor payment. You get the picture.

I'd much rather use someone else's money for the 5 years of financing at zero percent than to rent equipment any time I needed to perform a task. It's really just dependent upon your needs and your finances.

As for options - yes, HST is great. 4WD was a must (It's already come in handy a couple of times.) Diesel is the only way to go... ours is super fuel efficient. And we love the Grand L... the seat is much more comfortable!

Rabtfarm
Apr. 4, 2010, 01:12 PM
I am using a second-hand Deere 955(older model compact utility tractor). Things I like: It has the turf tires so I can go on the lawn without gouging herringbones everywhere and mow with the 6 foot wide finishing mower which reallly does a great job mowing. I use the mower to maintain the paddocks, mow trails and mow our lawn. Last night I used the wide turf tires to "roller" flat the paddocks that are drying out after mud season. I also like the hydrostatic "automatic" push to go forward, push the other pedal to go back...shifting is a waste of time. It's fairly compact so I can get into tight spaces and trailer the tractor if need be.
The FEL is 5 feet wide and great for mucking. Other attachments I like: I snowblower, post hole digger, fork lift and york rake as well as a lighter chainlink fence section I tow for light arena smoothing. I also have a draw bar so I can move trailers(like the muck trailer or horse trailers) and a small backhoe attachment that helps me build jumps. I cannot imagine running the farm without a tractor like this. I think that the new Deere model would probably be the 3000 or 4000 series of CUT's. I am working a 65 acre farm with cross country jumps, trails, haying and 5 horses. The rollover protection is unavaoidable from a reputable tractor dealer. They do have foldable ROPS which might get you into a 7' high garage.
Your reluctant husband needs therapy! I get it running the tractor..LOL

George

Rabtfarm
Apr. 4, 2010, 04:36 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I am using a second-hand Deere 955(older model compact utility tractor). Things I like: It has the turf tires so I can go on the lawn without gouging herringbones everywhere and mow with the 6 foot wide finishing mower which reallly does a great job mowing. I use the mower to maintain the paddocks, mow trails and mow our lawn. Last night I used the wide turf tires to "roller" flat the paddocks that are drying out after mud season. I also like the hydrostatic "automatic" push to go forward, push the other pedal to go back...shifting is a waste of time. It's fairly compact so I can get into tight spaces and trailer the tractor if need be.
The FEL is 5 feet wide and great for mucking. Other attachments I like: I snowblower, post hole digger, fork lift and york rake as well as a lighter chainlink fence section I tow for light arena smoothing. I also have a draw bar so I can move trailers(like the muck trailer or horse trailers) and a small backhoe attachment that helps me build jumps. I cannot imagine running the farm without a tractor like this. I think that the new Deere model would probably be the 3000 or 4000 series of CUT's. I am working a 65 acre farm with cross country jumps, trails, haying and 5 horses. The rollover protection is unavaoidable from a reputable tractor dealer. They do have foldable ROPS which might get you into a 7' high garage.
Your reluctant husband needs therapy! I get it running the tractor..LOL

deacon's mom
Apr. 5, 2010, 04:25 PM
I wanted a JD but am going with the Kubota 26HP B series because the pricing is better. I have so much tree damage from the winter storms, I'm pretty much over the "people power" mode of farm chores.

cyndi
Apr. 5, 2010, 05:53 PM
I wanted a JD but am going with the Kubota 26HP B series because the pricing is better. I have so much tree damage from the winter storms, I'm pretty much over the "people power" mode of farm chores.

I found that too, for the similar models of tractors - however, if you are a USEF member you can get up to 18% off list price. However, if you use that discount, you cannot also get the 0% financing offer.

which is why I am also leaning toward Kubota.

foggybok
Apr. 7, 2010, 08:24 PM
I am not a fan of front end loaders on small tractors. I farm 454 acres this year. The new tractor is a 1983 model. Tractors will last a LONG time properly maintained. The new ones are cool with the 4 wheel drive, hydrostatic transmission and all that jazz but at what cost. My brother bought a 1996 ford 29 hp little diesel tractor. He uses it on his 5 acres all the time but for real loader work he rents a Bobcat for the weekend. I know it is fun to have the tractor but to mow a pasture get a big lawn mower and then rent a loader 3 times a year to turn the compost and regravel the gates. Sorry to be a kill joy but I am with hubby on this one. LF

I see your point of the FEL, and if I really had a project needing a loader, I'd rather be on a bobcat, but that said, we've used the loader plenty and it's been just fine. Moving gravel, moving manure.....etc... Also good for snow removal...

And you can't mow this place with any lawnmower (well you can for a little while, and I did...and the lawnmower paid the price....). And we have been digging post holes, digging horse holes :(, harrowing and shredding pastures... none of those can be done with a lawnmower....

I'd say though, get the biggest you can....you'll find you need it. OUrs is 37 or so HP and just about right for this place...

And while I thought all the HST and stuff was just overkill, now that i have it, I LOVE it!

anchodavis
Jun. 21, 2010, 06:22 AM
Cyndi,
How is your tractor working out so far?
I'm in the same boat - trying to decide what I need for 25 acres. It's an old fallow field - rolling, but nothing steep - that is going to need some major loving from a bushhog and field mower to get the weeds and brush and goldenrod under control and get good pasture grass growing instead. I'll probably need a snow blade and the ability to lift and move the usual stuff - manure, gravel, hay, etc., plus auger postholes and maybe till. I'll probably buy new simply because we've about killed ourselves to build the house (construction loans are not easy to come by in Michigan these days) and most of the dealers seem to be running zero-percent financing specials on a routine basis. Plus, like Saddleup, I don't know much about mechanics, and I might as well be doing this on my own. (Husband is not handy nor mechanically inclined!) So having a warranty and service plan will be a big plus until I learn more about how to take good care of the tractor.
Anyone have thoughts on brands? I've been looking at JD and Kubota, but Kubota seems to offer as much machine and reliability with a smaller price tag than JD. Haven't looked at New Holland.
Anyone have thoughts on 4wd?? is it necessary? Anyone ever regret NOT having it? We get a decent amount of snow in winter, and our soil is greasy clay in a lot of places too...
Tracy

cyndi
Jun. 21, 2010, 09:38 AM
LOVE LOVE LOVE my tractor! I have pushed over and "driven' to burn pile no less than 10 20' plus trees that were downed by the hurricane almost two years ago that hubby had not 'gotten around' to clearing - because before tractor, he had to chainsaw them into sections, load onto truck and drive truck to burn pile and then unload.

Now wifey does it by herself with her trusty "Bevo" Kubota. :lol:

Not only that, I've discovered I can 'clear' land with it, too. Since we bought this place there has been about a 3/4 acre 'thicket' that has gotten bigger over the past 8 years since we had nothing to remove underbrush, etc. I've slowly been working on clearing it and by the end of summer i think I will be finished. I can drive the tractor into it, lift front end loader and drop it over the brush, to the ground, then back up, 'scraping' the underbrush off at the roots. When I was able to get to the middle of the thicket, I found many partially downed trees that I'm dragging out one by one. I also got a tow rope for trees that are in tight spots where I can't maneuver them around well enough to 'push' them out -- so I can pull them.

Oh, yea, and it mows, too! LOL!

Hubby STILL has NOT even SAT on it!

I bought myself a grease gun and learned how to use it to do the required maintenance as far as that. (He is being 'passive/aggressive', refusing to do any maintneance, etc. since he is still 'pouting' over getting it in the first place. He was quite surprised when I arrived home with the grease gun and lubed it without even consulting him. :lol:)

I have hydrostatic transmission, four wheel drive and power steering and as a fairly small person, I think all of that is quite necessary for me. Our land is perfectly flat, but the 4WD has proven handy when needing to back over small logs/branches, etc. in my 'thicket clearing' operation.

To deal with snow you probably need a bigger tractor than mine. Mine is the B2320 - only 23 HP, but has a beefed up transmission and the front end loader capacity was much more than the one-size-up 26 HP B series...700 lbs vs about 400. Have not tried the FEL out on gravel yet - just moving/spreading manure pile, which, as it's quite dry now, is not heavy at all.

To paraphrase Scarlett O'Hara, "As god as my witness, I'll never be tractor-less again!"

Tom King
Jun. 21, 2010, 09:55 AM
quote: "I bought myself a grease gun and learned how to use it to do the required maintenance as far as that. "

This was the part I was most impressed with. It always amazes me when I see a fairly new tractor on a horse farm (don't see them anywhere else like this) that has never been greased and pins are already starting to wear.

Almost Heaven
Jun. 21, 2010, 06:14 PM
Amen.

And it might be too subtle at this stage, but hp isn't a total description of tractor capabilities. JD 5303 and 5325 have about the same hp, but one is lighter duty (5303).

Make a list of what you NEED (not what you want), what your acreage is, and what/how frequent the tractor will be used. Then go to a reputable dealer. As one post noted, they bought a Kubota because of the local dealer. I bought a JD for the same reason.

cyndi
Jun. 22, 2010, 09:28 AM
Amen.

And it might be too subtle at this stage, but hp isn't a total description of tractor capabilities. JD 5303 and 5325 have about the same hp, but one is lighter duty (5303).<snip>

.

Yes. And thank goodness I found this out before I bought....a knowledgeable and MOTIVATED sales rep can really help you get the amount of tractor you need...not just what they have on the lot and need to move. I almost bought a subcompact...dealer closest to me (just down the street!) did not 'adivse' me at all or ask what I planned to do with it...dealer 40 miles away pointed me toward the tractor I actually bought, and also explained the higher HP vs lower HP but beefed up tranny and higher FEL capability.

Also, once I talked to a bunch of people -- including sales reps at dealers - and decided exactly what I needed as far as tractor + implements, I called every dealership within 50 miles and basically let them 'bid' for my business. The most helpful sales person also ended up being the cheapest, by $800.

Rabtfarm
Jun. 22, 2010, 10:11 AM
Since you mention brush clearing with the new tractor: I did the same with using just the FEL, but then found a pair of clamp-on forks(about $150 maybe on eBay) that greatly increased the amount of brush I could move, as well as logs. Enjoy the tractor. If you can change the oil at least every 50 hours, grease it and keep it out of the weather it should last "forever".
Lastly I like my turf tires as it allows me to go anywhere on the farm or lawn without much or no damage..especially in early mud season...and I am lawn mowing as well as all the other activities like digging, plowing, mucking, fence building, etc.