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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 25, 2005
    Location
    best place so far
    Posts
    1,866

    Default gator vs. small tractor

    This has been a huge debate for me. I have a tractor with front loader and bush hog on the back. Love it, but i can't use it for dragging the arena as the front loader gets in the way of getting deep into corners. Also, the bush hog is attached 80% of the year and it is a huge PITA to remove so I can't attach a spreader or drag easily. So i want to have a second farm vehicle and am debating between a gator-type-utv or small tractor. The benefits I see of each:

    tractor: has 3-pt hitch for greater attachment options. It would not necessarily have a PTO but at least a 3-pt hitch. Maybe a bit stronger in the engine.

    gator: dump bed in the back for carrying stuff around. could still have attachments but would only be via a ball hitch.

    what I am looking for this vehicle to do: drag arena (right now I only have a harrow but one day hope to upgrade to a "real" drag. pull a ground driven spreader. haul grain/ hay from barn to run-in.

    we don't get a huge amount of snow where I live and the vehicle will mostly be driven on gravel paths so I don't think I need 4WD.

    what would you do?



  2. #2

    Default

    When I had my own farm, I had a gator and it did everything for me. But when I moved to Germany, everything was done by tractor and I even saw someone once use a horse to grate the jump arena.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2002
    Location
    Calera, AL
    Posts
    1,909

    Default

    I LOVE my kawasaki mule! But, like you, I also have a tractor. I don't keep my bush hog hooked up all the time so if I need the 3-point, it's usually handy.

    I don't know. I find my mule so handy that I don't think I could live without it.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 25, 2005
    Location
    best place so far
    Posts
    1,866

    Default

    The problem with the bushhog is I have to mow spring-fall almost every 1-2 weeks. Taking it on/ off gets really annoying so on it stays!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 16, 2005
    Location
    Elmwood, Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,398

    Default

    I have had three old ATVs and all died. I also have three
    tractors, a couple for "real work" and a little old 8N Ford
    for things like spraying and dragging the arena and moving
    grain around. A carryall on the 3 point of the Ford lets
    me move grain, jumps, tools and whatever else I need to
    cart around. The Ford is nearly as old as I am (and I recently qualified for Medicare) and it still is working fine.
    Tractors last, ATVs break. I'd choose a little old tractor.
    Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
    Elmwood, Wisconsin



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    NorthEast
    Posts
    25,491

    Default

    I'd also choose a tractor. I like the gators/small machines, but those are pretty limited.

    IMO the most bang for your buck would be a small tractor.
    What tractor do you have now? If your only real need is dropping the FEL to get into corners when raking the ring, why not just use a lawn tractor to rake the ring?

    I bought a smaller tractor last year, love it! But do wish it had more hp. Nice part it that the entire FEL and arms comes off in about 2 minutes. No muscles needed.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2008
    Location
    Glenelg, MD
    Posts
    973

    Default

    I have one of each (big tractor, gator and lawn tractor) and the gator by far gets the biggest workout each day. It's much more fuel efficient than any of the tractors, easier to load/unload hay, grain, and I think safer to drive into the barn than the other equipment when I need to move stuff around. I don't have a good drag for it though so I end up switching out a box drag with the bush hog on the big tractor.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2005
    Location
    Spotsylvania, VA
    Posts
    16,816

    Default

    I have an oversized gas powered golf cart.
    http://www.clubcar.com/commercialbus...rryall295.aspx

    It's 4/all wheel drive so rarely gets stuck. It's dump bed is bigger than those on the gator type vehicles and will carry 3 bales of hay..would carry 3 more if I could reach to stack them...or 4 manure tubs. It can pull my big Newer Spreader and would pull my Parma groomer if i had one
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2003
    Posts
    1,071

    Default

    My b/o is on the 2nd gator. When we had the first one, someone built a sort of "fence" around the dump bed with hardwood (probably oak) rough sawn 2x8s, which she shifted to the "new" gator. It is a great addition because it allows you to really load it up when picking stalls. You can drop 4 bales from the hay loft into it. She bought both of them used, one in a private sale and one from the local John Deere dealer.

    I've been around long enough to remember the days when there wasn't a gator, and it sure makes a big difference. It probably gets more of a workout than the big tractor.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2004
    Location
    Piedmont Triad, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,458

    Default

    The Gater is good for its designed use. Trying to use it to pull something like a drag is likely to break its transmission quickly.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 28, 2003
    Location
    KY, USA
    Posts
    1,983

    Default

    First requirement - tractor, big enough to pull appropriate sized bush hog and hopefully with a loader.

    Second requirement - UTV (Gator, Mule, etc.) to run around in, carry stuff, and do all the millions of miscellaneous chores. Ease of getting in/out, dump bed, cheap to run - PRICELESS. We drag the ring with it every day and it's the most popular vehicle on the farm.

    Third requirement - None. You've got it covered.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    52,523

    Default

    Since you already have a good tractor, get an UTV.
    JD here will let you try one out, why not see if that is what you can use best?
    Many farmers here irrigate and since all kinds of 4wheelers came to be, they have one to get around.
    Before, they had to use their pickups for checking and changing water, at a much higher cost, plus getting stuck when muddy.
    UTVs have been a godsend for farm work of all kinds, your imagination is the limit on what to use them for.

    As far as having trouble with any machinery, tractor or Gators, that is a given.
    We have been lucky not to have any tractor or pickup or Gator trouble ... yet, but that can start to happen today, it is the nature of machinery to sooner or later break down.

    Then, you can get a lemon in any you buy, we did once buy a lightly used 1988 Chevy pickup that was a lemon, didn't keep it long, as the previous owner evidently also did, but that is another story.

    Our JD tractors and Gators have been trouble free ... up to now.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2008
    Location
    The stars at night shine big and bright...
    Posts
    244

    Default

    I LOVE my Kawasaki Mule! Worth it's weight in gold!
    "Right is right if nobody is right, and wrong is wrong if everybody is wrong."

    -Archbishop Fulton Sheen



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2004
    Location
    Charleston, SC
    Posts
    1,336

    Default

    I recently purchased a Kubota rtv with 4wd and a long hydraulic dump bed. we also have a Kubota tractor but like the OP it is a pain to use to drag the rings. You need to get a farmboy 3 point hydraulic hitch for it and then it can use all the fancy drags...
    Fullcirclefarmsc.com



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov. 17, 2001
    Location
    Bryan,Texas
    Posts
    2,262

    Default

    I would go talk to a good John Deere salesperson(get recommendations from friends or fellow horse people). If needed, have the sales rep come to your place, show them everything that you want done with a smaller tractor or Gator.

    I have a 95 horse tractor w/FEL, does not work in small spaces but gets what I need done in the pasture. Also have two Gators, a 2X 4 and 2 X 6. In the winter, one is loaded with hay for the horses and the 2 X6 is loaded with hay for the cows. (Yes, I feed square for my cows...I can control their hay waste but feeding less> Round bales are fed when I am traveling).

    At times I wish I had a 50 horse tractor, but then I would need more stuff -for it.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2009
    Location
    Lyman, ME
    Posts
    406

    Default We use one of these too

    Quote Originally Posted by carolprudm View Post
    I have an oversized gas powered golf cart.
    http://www.clubcar.com/commercialbus...rryall295.aspx

    It's 4/all wheel drive so rarely gets stuck. It's dump bed is bigger than those on the gator type vehicles and will carry 3 bales of hay..would carry 3 more if I could reach to stack them...or 4 manure tubs. It can pull my big Newer Spreader and would pull my Parma groomer if i had one
    We use our EZ go to pull the small manure spreader and the simple chain link fence gate to groom the arena...works great!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec. 8, 2011
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10

    Default

    We have big tractors and a gator. The gator gets more use than anything....great for hauling ANYTHING (hay, water, gardening supplies, etc). I take it out to check the fence on our 10 acre pasture.... we use it to rake our hay, since it is smaller, easier to maneuver and takes up less gas than a tractor. Cutting trees along the fence line....the bed is a perfect height to get up there and get rid of any branches that a horse could smack their head on while playing...ours also has a dump bed, which has been useful for manure, or moving soil or mulch around. So, I use it for the farm, of course, but also for my gardening projects. And, if you have kids, it's safe enough for them to drive (supervised), and my son loves it. I can even have him out in the field raking hay while we're on the tractor baling it! Love the gator!
    Angie from Verona, Wisconsin www.glacierridge.com

    Owned by a grulla QH, 2 Fjords, and two mini geldings. RIP Kissy. Friend for 26 years...



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