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Lawn tractor advice for farmette

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  • Lawn tractor advice for farmette

    Yes, I know. Most people are going to suggest a R E A L tractor.
    But...its just NOT in the cards, certainly not now, and now is when we need a new riding lawnmower.

    Little farm is just shy of 5 acres, but MOST of that is wooded ravine/creek area behind house. 'Pastures' are really big paddocks, but I have set them up as best I could with / for rotation and sacrifice area. we will have 'down the lane' to mow, probably most of that with a walk behind...and then the 'pastures' which are maybe a total of 2 acres?

    Not a lot. And, that area is pretty flat, but IF it wasn't an outrageous upgrade, for some extra stability, I could see times when ride on mower might venture around house for some cutting, and that area will have slight inclines----But like I said, a walk behind will always be needed, and most often used back there, I guess.

    Serviceing is going to be a biggie for me. There is a certified John Deere / and service maybe 3 -5 miles from the property...so, I will admit, that will probably be a HUGE factor in what I go with.

    Are there those of you with 'farmette' type properties that use more of a lawn tractor/mower ? Do you find any of the 'accessories' help you to achieve some 'tractor' like functions with one?

    Anyone have any input on: lawn tractor vs. zero turn and why?

    We've been limping the old Snapper along repair after repair, and often get caught in a big growth spurt with grass getting too high and it not running this season too many different times! We always thought it would be a tractor we'd look at, but really.....I can't justify it just to have the beefy toys I'd probably SELDOM use....(Two stall barn...Ramm fence)

    I know we need a good mower no matter what, and I'm trying to find out if any of you have gone that route and still been able to use them in attachment/farm chore ways?

    TIA!!!
    ayrabz
    "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
    --Jimmy Buffett

  • #2
    I have a 10 acre "gentlemans" farm, one acre of yard, 9 acres of pasture, with gentle slope to the land.

    First rider was a Troy Bilt - stay away, damn thing was constantly breaking down. Repair guy finally told me I was asking too much of it (mowing the pastures and pulling a Newer Spreader).

    Bought a big John Deere Garden tractor on the advice of the salesman at the dealer. Bought it on payments. You can get discounts through some horse associations like AQHA. I've had it for 6 years now, with (knocking on wood) nothing other than routine maintenance (oil change, lube, mower blades). Mine is the GT245, they probably don't make that particular model anymore, but something newer I would guess.

    If you have any plans on using the tractor to haul anything, I would steer away from a zero turn, as I hear most of them either cannot be used to tow anything, or have issues due to the weight distribution.

    I'm very happy with my purchase. My husband replaced the Troy Bilt with a Cub Cadet, just for the one acre "lawn" around the house, I think the JD is a better tractor.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

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    • #3
      Go with the John Deere garden tractor. Get the largest mowing deck you can. Extended warantee. I also like the little sun canopy you can get for the JD garden mower, no need to wrinkle while mowing

      With the garden tractor I can mow, drag and pull a good size manure spreader. I don't know if you can do that with a zero turn.

      The JD garden mowers at lowes & homedepot are now the same ones as the JD dealer. For awhile they weren't.

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      • #4
        I've been mowing about 2-1/2 acres of fairly hilly ground with a J-D GX255 for 6 years with no problems. The serpentine belt on the mower deck does have to be replaced every other year. The power steering really helps the arthritis in my upper body. I got the locking rear end, but have never needed to use it -- except the time I backed it into the creek.

        I don't tow so wish I'd have gotten a zero turn, but they were a lot more expensive then than now.
        The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
        Winston Churchill

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        • #5
          We have 3.5 acres and a John Deere 2320. They go perfectly together like Barbie and Ken!! It is a chic friendly tractor and you will use it for so much more than mowing! They lift, drag and push heavy things easy peasy so you don't have to wait for hubba or a crew of teenagers to come along and help you move that log or bags of cement. We went with the JD for the same reason you are considering it, the proximity of a JD shop.

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          • #6
            Definitely stay away from Troy Built - we killed 2 of them just mowing the pasture before we had a tractor - it just cannot take lumpy ground.
            ______________________________
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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            • #7
              I have a John Deere 445 garden tractor with a 60 inch mower deck and a loader. It is a 22 horsepower. It was a demo unit with 56 hours on it when I bought it in 1997 and it has been great. It has about 820 hours on it now. It is gas and does not have all wheel steering due to the fact is it equipped for a loader.

              My first farm was a hilly-5 acres and my current place is 16.5 flatter acres. I use the loader for everything from cleaning stalls to snow removal to moving hay, shavings, and feed. The loader can lift about 400 lbs. One of the things I really like about it is I have a bank barn now and I can get this tractor in and out even in tight space. A skid loader would be nice but it is not in the budget. This little tractor is so versitile and hearty I would hate to be without it!

              The 60 inch mower makes lawn mowing go fast and the mulch kit puts a nice finish on the lawn. I even use it to mow the fenceline in the pastures.

              I service it regularly and replace the mower blades/ mulch kit yearly. My dad told me when I bought it that it may cost more than some other brands but the John Deere is worth it. I do have to say he is right!
              "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White

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              • #8
                I went through two "lawn tractor" mowers in the first few years I lived where I am. They're built to last exactly 12 months (the length of their warranty). Then pieces fall off. One of then lost a c-clip and the front wheel fell off when I was driving. Store them over the winter and sometimes they don't want to start next spring, no matter how you winterize them. The mower decks are almost always belt driven, and you know that belt falls off or breaks, just as you're hurrying to get chores done. The tires are for "lawn" use, as in flat smooth suburban yards. At $1500 - $2500, I'd expect something a little better. STAY AWAY from the Lowes and Home Depot machines - I don't care whose brand-name sticker is on them - they're basically crummy little pushmowers you sit on.

                I bought a 23hp Kubota BX23 with 5' mid-mount mower, FEL, and backhoe. It was $14k but 0% financing and a multi-year warranty. I forget when we got it (7-8 yrs ago), and it starts the first time EVERY time. It doesn't stall in damp grass. It's small enough to maneuver around my little dwarf fruit trees & ornamentals to be a mower. But it's big enough to plow snow, carry muck, put down gravel, and remove stumps. It's 4WD. And did I mention it never fails to start!

                Bottom line: forget the "lawn tractor" and go straight to a small diesel tractor. You won't regret it! If price is a huge issue, wait for a clearance sale or shop for used ones. While it's great you have a local JD dealer, don't be afraid to look at Kubota, NH, etc. If you have a small lot, focus on their "compact" tractors. The nice thing about a little diesel tractor is that they have resale value, unlike the Home Depot's gas powered putt-putts.
                Veterinarians for Equine Welfare

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                • #9
                  I'll have to ask Dad what he has--the lawn tractor gets used for mowing around the house and hauling loads in the little trailer (wood, tools, grass clippings, when Old OTTB was alive the muck buckets), which is a lot more practical than using the big (compact, not big-big, but still, big) New Holland. That's reserved for things like large-scale brushcutting or discing the field or moving REALLY big things with the loader (they have 120 acres.) The little red mower's lasted a few years now, and technically the old little blue one still runs most of the time, but the mowing deck died a while back.

                  ETA: The red lawn tractor's a Craftsman. His suggestion is make sure there's a removable/cleanable deck, and think about if you want attachments for things like snowblowing/plowing. (I may buy a riding mower not because I need one for the lawn but because where I live I sometimes get more snow than the walk-behind blower can handle.)
                  Last edited by danceronice; Aug. 14, 2011, 11:10 PM.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by philosoraptor View Post
                    STAY AWAY from the Lowes and Home Depot machines - I don't care whose brand-name sticker is on them - they're basically crummy little pushmowers

                    Bottom line: forget the "lawn tractor" and go straight to a small diesel tractor. You won't regret it! If price is a huge issue, wait for a clearance sale or shop for used ones. While it's great you have a local JD dealer, don't be afraid to look at Kubota, NH, etc. If you have a small lot, focus on their "compact" tractors. The nice thing about a little diesel tractor is that they have resale value, unlike the Home Depot's gas powered putt-putts.
                    The JD mowers at homedepot and lowes are the exact same mowers sold by JD dealers now. For a while they weren't. I was at the JD dealer last week and this is what they told us. Also JD is going to be making a gator in pink now

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If you have hills to mow, forget the zero turn mower. All the steering is done through the drive wheels. Once the wheels loose a bit of traction on wet grass, you'll get a wild ride to the bottom of the hill. A zero is great for flat mowing...

                      I deal with three sectors of Deere machine dealers... Lawn & garden, agriculture and construction. I didn't mean to own a Deere fleet, it just happened.

                      Be aware ... John Deere mowers in a given size (say 48 inch cut) are not the same. JD makes mowers in all the price points. Old saying that has much truth : You get what you pay for. Make sure you're comparing model numbers not engine hp or cut width when you're pricing machines. The Deere models sold at the big box stores are about equal to the other brands sold there too. (not tough enough for horse keeping)
                      Equus makus brokus but happy

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ditto the JD riding mower. I have a 52" deck and it's a work horse. I can pull my harrow with it (although it does better with only 1/2 the harrow, both sections really tax the engine), I tow my spreader (the smaller Fimco), and my 25 gallon tank sprayer.
                        It's great on hills, my front paddock is pretty steep down to the lake - I haven't tipped it yet!

                        Between my riding mower and an old golf cart I can do about everything on the farm, except move round bales
                        You're entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have Made-Do for 7 years now with the YardMachine (MTD) riding mower that came with the house when I bought it. Probably at least 10yo by now.
                          17HP, 42" deck.

                          I mow about 1ac lawns regularly and 3ac pasture infrequently.
                          Every year it gets a tuneup and sharpened or replaced blades from my local repair guys.
                          This year the carbuerator died so he put in a rebuilt one.
                          Ask your neighbors who works on their equipment - my guy works out of his garage and picks up & delivers for $25.

                          I can pull a metal dumpcart loaded with 300# of whatever - usually composted manure going to the gardens from the pile.

                          I'd LOVE to have a Newer Spreader, but so far budget does not allow.
                          I "spread" manure in the pastures when I mow by lowering the deck & shredding the piles as I go.

                          I would like to add a snowblade, but so far neighbors with real tractors have done my plowing for me.
                          Yay Neighbors!

                          The only thing I miss is the ability to add a FEL. That bucket would make my life a whole lot easier.
                          *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                          Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                          Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                          Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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                          • #14
                            PSA - for those of you with lawn/garden tractors, grease the bearing in the mower deck! My husband just fried his 2-year-old Cub Cadet deck, burnt up one of the bearings, I'm fairly sure he was not greasing it (he is very handy, but not very mechanically inclined).

                            So, now I get to mow the lawn with my JD until he gets his fixed.
                            There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
                              PSA - for those of you with lawn/garden tractors, grease the bearing in the mower deck! My husband just fried his 2-year-old Cub Cadet deck, burnt up one of the bearings, I'm fairly sure he was not greasing it (he is very handy, but not very mechanically inclined).

                              So, now I get to mow the lawn with my JD until he gets his fixed.
                              I wish you had mentioned this last week!!!!!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by ToiRider View Post
                                I wish you had mentioned this last week!!!!!
                                Sorry, his just died yesterday after he had made two circuits around the back yard.

                                Since he does not take advice from me well, I have not mentioned it to him.
                                There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  One more tip for those of you with lawn/garden tractors. Get an inexpensive leaf blower, and blow all the grass out of the mower deck after you mow, especially around the pulleys and the belts.

                                  If you don't, eventually you will have a fire in the mower deck. My father in law killed the Troy Built that way, by never cleaning the deck.
                                  There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    thanks EVERYONE!
                                    I really do appreciate it. I have been making notes, and revisiting the JD site and reviewing specs. (and GEEEZE it can get confusing! they make a bazillion different model levels and specs)

                                    While I've spent a little bit of time looking at other makes...I'm leaning more and more to going with my gut and sticking with JD. Not because I prefer the product, but because I really want easy, local servicing.

                                    That said...I'm still not 100 percent sure on : trying to make do with a lesser garden tractor, or face financing on a sub compact. I guess? the zero turn is just not practical, unless we had bucks for two machines.

                                    I really 'believe' we need a lawnmower on this type of property. I'm not at all sure we 'need' a real tractor, but the issue is the timing. Mower is on its very last wheel...and I won't be 'horsekeeping' full time there for sometime.....

                                    I think? the higher /beefiest end of lawn tractor does ? come with a front loader option accessory? but then...would it even be worth it vs. the smallest tractor....SIGH. I think we'll probably go with a mid size JD lawn tractor.....
                                    ayrabz
                                    "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                                    --Jimmy Buffett

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Ditto what MunchkinsMom says about cleaning the deck.
                                      I have a long-handled brush I use after every use.
                                      Also check the air filter if you've been mowing someplace dusty.

                                      & a tip from my repair guy - if the mower seems to be overheating (mine will then shut down until it cools off) try loosening the gas cap. Not loosey-goosey, but just not screwed down tight.

                                      ayrabz:
                                      if you can recall which mower can take a FEL please let me know!
                                      I'll be needing a replacement eventually & that option would sell me pronto!
                                      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        2DF:
                                        I really tried (!) this morning to cut/paste/ either the link, or the description here, but for some reason? couldn't get it to work.

                                        If you go to John Deere....click on lawn tractors....click on accessories....they have one FEL, and they list the models it can be used on.
                                        Seems their BEEFIEST (the 700s ) all 700 models can use this. But then, it shows some X400s and X500s that seem? to be able to utilize this IF you get them in the 2w vs. the 4wd. ?
                                        ayrabz
                                        "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
                                        --Jimmy Buffett

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