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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 20, 2013
    Posts
    279

    Default Equipment for small farm

    Hello everyone.

    My wife and I are getting close to buying a place for ourselves and our horses. The property we're most focused on is 15 acres on mostly flat ground. 5 of that is wooded/creek and requires little maintenance, but the rest is currently mowed grass or pasture. So it's time to figure a budget for equipment.

    Chores that will need done:
    - mucking stalls and moving manure
    - drag the rings
    - mow the pastures
    - mow the yard
    - plow the driveway (700' paved & 100' gravel) of occasional winter snow. In this part of the northeast the average biggest snow event might be 6". 12" comes every couple of years.
    - and it would be nice if we had the grunt to move and handle large square bales (under 1000lb) in the future with the right attachment.

    I've been reading about options and I'm thinking a 25-30hp compact 4wd tractor with FEL for dragging, moving manure, and plowing, and a zero-turn radius mower for the pastures and yard. Assuming good used equipment, this might do-able for around $15k? Are large square bales do-able on a compact tractor?

    How does that sound? Input appreciated.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 27, 2009
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    1,808

    Default

    I'm hoping tractor queen MistyBlue will weigh in. Looking forward to reading the responses.
    Trainer's website - photos of my horse Airborne under About and Francesca Edwards also in media page 1

    http://www.patricianorciadressage.com/



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    16,668

    Default

    I'd go for 32 hp and small lawn tractor for the yard.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2009
    Location
    Lyman, ME
    Posts
    401

    Default

    We are running a 33 hp Deere 955 from the late 80's with a lot of attachments: mid mount mower, snowblower, post hole digger, rake, backhoe, log splitter, drag/harrow, front end loader. We also have a small riding mower, an EZ Go Farm cart, and a power dump trailer and manure spreader. We are keeping 4 horses on 40 acres, paddocks are about 15 acres, riding arena(std), jump field 10 acres, 15 acres hayfields with the haying shared with my neighbor(he cuts and bales, I ted, rake and put them away). I could not imagine trying to do any of this without all of this, if you catch my drift.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 20, 2013
    Posts
    279

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rabtfarm View Post
    We are running a 33 hp Deere 955 from the late 80's with a lot of attachments: mid mount mower, snowblower, post hole digger, rake, backhoe, log splitter, drag/harrow, front end loader. We also have a small riding mower, an EZ Go Farm cart, and a power dump trailer and manure spreader. We are keeping 4 horses on 40 acres, paddocks are about 15 acres, riding arena(std), jump field 10 acres, 15 acres hayfields with the haying shared with my neighbor(he cuts and bales, I ted, rake and put them away). I could not imagine trying to do any of this without all of this, if you catch my drift.
    I can appreciate your point of view. As I scan down your list of activities, I do not foresee digging post holes, splitting logs, a backhoe, maintaining a hayfield, or spreading manure. I would like to produce hay but this property is not set up for it. Comparing our lists, mine appears to be much less power intensive than yours.

    An Ez-Go with dump would be a nice thing to have, but I figured that could come later.

    As far as mowing goes, it's not my favorite activity and there will be plenty of it. Can a riding mower or tractor with mower attachment compete with a zero-turn mower? Those zero-turn mowers can really fly and if things are laid out right, you won't need another mower for the trim work.

    David



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 16, 2012
    Posts
    197

    Default

    Go bigger and newer than you think you need. Moving bales that are at the max that your tractor can handle can be hard on your nerves. I am not an expert on tractors but I found a 45hp tractor was good with 1000 - 1400 lb bales, laughed at 600 -800lbs. If you are not experienced at driving tractors you do not want to be working at the edge of its capabilities, which I would suspect a 32 hp and 800lb bales would be. Make sure they weight the tires. 4WD and a FEL is a must in my opinion.
    Be aware that old tractors can be hard to drive - I have had a few that I had to stand on the clutch, and was known for driving around with my foot braced on the dash of one old beast because I slid around so much in the seat (no seatbelt). They also develope "personality" as they age so be prepared.
    I think prices on used equipment can vary wildly, auctions can give you a good price or a huge lemon, I have always bought from a dealer with financing.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 20, 2013
    Posts
    279

    Default

    Yeah the 800lb bales are still a bit unclear - in theory they're cheaper/lb and could be more efficient - but if it involves an extra $5k worth of the tractor there will be no savings vs. small bales. Also, if the best attachment for moving the big bales is not an FEL, then FEL lift ratings aren't the way to look at it.

    I will be buying from a dealer with financing. Something relatively new, but I suspect the price premium of brand new is not for me right now.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 16, 2012
    Posts
    197

    Default

    I have used a hay fork that attached to the bucket and a seperate hay fork. The attach to the bucket one worked fine, but puts the bale that bit furthur away from your center of mass - affects weight capacity and handling.
    Hay bales here run from 60lbs up to 1800lbs, 1200 -1400 lbs are common, so you need a real tractor unless you really limit your hay shopping. I have never used a zero turn but do use a roughing mower with the tractor - the advantage of this is it can cut anything you can drive the tractor over so if you want to clear out scrub its great, not so good in small paddocks though due to its size.
    Our first tractor was a used one from the dealers rental deptartment, so it had had good maintenance. Our current one is new bought on easy monthly payments for an eternity. (Kubota will do really long term financing plans)



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 4, 2009
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    4,073

    Default

    We move the 850 round bales with a hay spear fork attachment on the rear of our Boom 30hp 4x4 tractor we have a woods mower deck chain drag a FEL and box grader......depending on how much you like to be beat to crap riding a zero turn in the pastures determines if you would rather mow on a bigger beast with a larger deck...and a JD Gator with a dump bed will make mucking stalls a pleasure hauling hay feed firewood etc is more speedy with it than cranking up the Diesel Tractor..I use that and the JD garden tractor ..we mow yard fence rows and drag with it....more often than using the big Boomer and as tractors go it is not huge..50HP would have been over kill and we shopped for a full year...


    1 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2003
    Location
    somewhere. out there.
    Posts
    2,398

    Default

    We have 10 acres, with about 6 of that in pasture, 1 acre of "lawn" and the rest in future pasture and riparian buffer. I also have three horses who are fed small square bales inside and round bales outside in the winter.

    To manage it we have a 30hp Kubota with a FEL, bushog, pothole digger (more useful than I thought it would be), a chain narrow and a scraper blade. We also have a swank new zero turn that DH picked up cheap at an estate sale.

    I don't think we could live without the tractor, FEL, and chain harrow. The bushog is useful on the future pasture areas which don't get mowed or grazed much, but it's slow going, especially in midsummer. The zero turn is also quickly becoming indispesinble since it can be used to mow fence lines (yeah for me since the seedeater never fails to give me wicked bad poison ivy), and makes quick work of pastures that have been grazed, but need to be clipped to even them out. It's three or four times faster than the bush hog.

    I will say that I don't feel comfortable moving our round ales which I think are about 500lbs a piece with my tractor, I probably could, but the tractor starts to feel a little unstable, so we don't do it. The round bales are moved by hand, and I have yet to delve into the world of large squares. We do use the 30hp for snow moving and it works just fine.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    NorthEast
    Posts
    24,474

    Default

    If you set it up right, a 22-25 hp can handle that list. However, nobody with a farm ever says:
    I wish I had less horsepower
    I wish I had less power tools
    I wish I had less buildings for storage



    I have both a 33 hp New Holland and a 24 hp JD. Both new/newer. I recently bought the JD (last year) because the NH was a tad too large. Not too much hp, but too big in actual size. unfortunately, they do not make bigger hp in smaller packages. But my property is heavily wooded and very hilly. The NH doesn't fit between the trees when I try to go into the woods, hence the JD purchase. I didn't buy another NH because the only nearby NH dealer sucks for customer service, but the machine itself is fantastic.

    I say if you can find a 30-35 hp in your price range and good condition, go for that. The FEL lift capacity on the NH is 1650 lbs vs 1150 on the JD. Both have mid PTO so can mow under or behind. My issue with the difference the 9 hp makes is that the NH can pop small stumps out of the ground, plow through or pick and toss big snow piles, etc. The JD can drag a LOT of weight but has no "oomph" for yank-starting much. A stuck stump from a small shrub stops it dead. A medium stump from a 20' pine didn't even slow the NH down. I don't go logging with either one, I just run a small personal place. But you'd be surprised at how often you want that little bit of extra hp.

    Have to say the ease of swapping attachments on the JD is superior to the NH though. Most of them I can swap without getting off of the seat, and I'm little. I have the iMatch hitch on back, well worth it to have one! I was also able to retrofit other non-iMatch attachments to go on there easily. The NH I need my husband to help take the york rake on and off or to yank the pins out to remove the FEL bucket. The arms...forget it. The JD I can flip 2 lever and it uses it's own hydraulics to remove either the FEL bucket or the entire arm/bucket set up. Both are hydrostatic and extremely easy to run and maintain/service at home. If you go for a NH, if it's before a 2010 I'd think about replacing the hoses because their standard ones are a tad...flimsy? Not really flimsy but not the toughest ones out there. A simple and inexpensive swap though. I have Ag tires on both, necessary for the hills I have and helps in the snow we get in CT. I also use chains for snow to avoid slipping tires. You can easily mow fields with either size. Both can do a yard too, but my tires would chew up my turf a bit. Turf tires are better for yardwork, but stink in mud or snow or steep hills. And neither can do precision mowing, I hear ya on not wanting to go back and edge or trim later.

    Zero turns are nice, but pricey. Most who sell theirs seem to have beaten them like a rental car. At least around here. I have a regular ride-on mower X300 JD and I can zip around most anything with that without much edge trimming afterwards. But I also don't have flower beds or the like, too much other stuff to do. And flowers hate me. I'd plan on mowing fields with the tractor and use the mower of your choice for the lawn. I wouldn't want to mow big fields with a lawnmower. You can get a pull behind mower *feet* wide and make a LOT less passes rather than a zero turn or ride-on mower with a smaller deck. Even if it's fast, the wider the mower the faster it goes.

    Your pricing sounds about right for gently used equipment. My JD tractor was about $18k out the door with Ag tires, FEL, iMatch, snowplow blade, ballast box and york rake. The dealership included loading the tires for free. The NH new was $21k out the door with FEL IIRC. The dealership charges $900 to fill tires and we bought the york rake for that one somewhere else. (really bad dealership, usually NH is fine to work with though) Used would be less, be aware that tractors do hold value better than other vehicles. But they still lose a chunk of value once off the lot like anything else does. The lower the hours, the better.

    Oh, FWIW, I don't use the snowplow blade on the JD at all. Not even with our last snowfall, which was 37" in 24 hours. The FEL does just fine. And I sometimes follow that up by dropping the york rake and raking the driveway once after a snow if I know the weather will stay really cold for a while. That way it makes grooves in the little snow cover left, so when it melts a bit in sun and refreezes it's not a long narrow skating rink!

    Hope this helps...there are others with more experience though that may have better advice!
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 2, 2009
    Posts
    406

    Default

    You need at least TWO tractors. 'Cause one of them will always be "broken" when you want to use it!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2002
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    322

    Default

    Check out the forums over on tractorbynet.com, they are a great resource.

    I have a 25 HP Kioti and love it. Bought new. The implements we use are a 5' bush hog, post hole digger, and FEL.

    Also have a 48" zero turn mower.

    I use the bush hog to mow the field 2-3 times a summer.

    I use the zero-turn to mow the yard around house and barn, a strip along fencelines, etc.

    Unless your property is smooth like glass (or golf course) you will NOT be zipping along at top speed with a zero turn! I tried and it makes you feel like scrambled eggs! My front yard at house looks nice and smooth, but I still go the same speed I did when I had a regular riding mower.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    NorthEast
    Posts
    24,474

    Default

    Scrambled eggs....LMAO! Very apt description!
    Heck, there are times on the ride-on I feel like it's wearing a bucking strap and I should be riding one handed so I get a good score!
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2009
    Posts
    8,377

    Default This is Exactly RIGHT ! and two manure spreaders and two trucks ....

    This is exactly RIGHT ~ and two manure spreaders and two trucks and two of EVERYTHING !

    And then everything will be easy peasy !


    Quote Originally Posted by DressageFancy View Post
    You need at least TWO tractors. 'Cause one of them will always be "broken" when you want to use it!
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT"S A WONDERFUL LIFE !"



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 16, 2012
    Posts
    197

    Default

    Skid steer style quick attachments for FEL bucket and hay fork are great too. A set of pallet forks can very useful too. I covet a UTV with a dump bed. As you can see the list of equipment is ever expanding.
    Things I learnt the hard way - Anything that attaches to the PTO and /or 3 pt hitch will expand your vocabulary and cover you in grease as you hook it up. Any breakdowns will happen at the worst possible time in full public view. If something goes bang suddenly and things stop working check the shear pins first.
    Around here a 25hp is a lawn tractor - they like their tractors big here, my 50hp is considered weenie.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2003
    Location
    somewhere. out there.
    Posts
    2,398

    Default

    Re: my comment about our zero turn. Prior to owning it,DH used a nice old Cub Cadet to mow. But out new zero turn has a deck that is just as wide as the bushog attachment for the tractor, and is three times faster. And since it's a nicer model, it does acts ally have some suspension, so the scrambled eggs feeling isn't any worse than on the tractor.

    But yes, if you get a small one, they aren't going to be faster or better than a regular mower or the tractor. We lucked into a really nice one.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2009
    Location
    Texas Hill Country
    Posts
    514

    Default

    Before I bought it everyone told me it was a silly luxury, but if my 4X4 Gator with hydraulic dump bed were taken away from me, my life would end in agony. Just a thought.
    Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2011
    Posts
    904

    Default

    We have a Deere 4710 and I would not want to move big squares with anything smaller. Smaller tractors are going to be a real handful with those bales. I would also want the capability to lift pallets of shavings and such, which will put you in the 45+ HP range.

    We also have a 23 HP lawn tractor.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun. 27, 2010
    Location
    SE VA
    Posts
    1,192

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sherian View Post
    Go bigger and newer than you think you need. Moving bales that are at the max that your tractor can handle can be hard on your nerves. I am not an expert on tractors but I found a 45hp tractor was good with 1000 - 1400 lb bales, laughed at 600 -800lbs. If you are not experienced at driving tractors you do not want to be working at the edge of its capabilities, which I would suspect a 32 hp and 800lb bales would be. Make sure they weight the tires. 4WD and a FEL is a must in my opinion.
    Be aware that old tractors can be hard to drive - I have had a few that I had to stand on the clutch, and was known for driving around with my foot braced on the dash of one old beast because I slid around so much in the seat (no seatbelt). They also develope "personality" as they age so be prepared.
    I think prices on used equipment can vary wildly, auctions can give you a good price or a huge lemon, I have always bought from a dealer with financing.

    Agree. We just got a new Kubota, 54 hp, with FEL, 6'bushog, box blade and 20' trailer to haul it for 28k with 0% financing. We have 20 acres and use it for all the things you posted. You can also get a grooming deck to mow the lawn instead of a riding mower.



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