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Which tractor?

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  • Which tractor?

    Lawn tractor? Tractor tractor? Compact tractor?

    What do you have and what do you wish you had bought?
    Patience pays.

  • #2
    It depends on how much land you have and what you need to tractor for.

    I have 19 acres. I bought a JD 3320 compactish tractor (32.5 hp). I use it to do farm work, mow grass around the house, and will push some snow.

    So far I love it. It has all the power I need, but isn't so big that it damages the grass. I bought it on recommendation from my brother, who used to work for JD. He has one too for his 40 acres but also has a 100 HP tractor-tractor. He says he only uses the big one when he has to because the little one is so nice.

    Lawn tractors are not made to stand up to any serious work. If you have more than a lawn, you probably need more than a lawn tractor. You will save money in the long run because you will wear out a lawn tractor quickly if you stress it.


    • #3
      I too have a second-hand compact Deere(955) which has a few features I like: the tires are turf so I can mow my lawn as well as all the farm chores. I ONCE in 3 years got stuck and I am not convinced that classic "herring-boned" farm tires would have made any difference. You can always tell exactly where a farm-tired tractor has been on your lawn. There are also "Industrial" type tractor tires which are sort of a compromise...still not convinced that a horse farmer needs that much traction.
      The other feature: hydrostatic transmission. Push the pedal forward for forward, hit the reverse pedal for reverse. No shifting. This is a huge labor and time saver when plowing, mowing...just about everything except hay tedding or hay mowing when you can put lock her in gear and go forward for 3 hours...
      Another feature: diesel: like Fordtraktor my Deere has the 3 cylinder diesel 33.5 hp engine...this is a very powerful tractor and can do a lot when 4WD is included.
      Things I am doing with the 955: jump building, posthole digging, snowblowing(5 ft wide), backhoeing, york raking, finish mowing(6 ft wide), bushhogging(4 ft wide), muck loading, gardening, brush hauling, wood hauling and road/trail building.
      There are many attachments and toys for your tractor. One of the best was a pair of forks I can clamp on the bucket and move a lot of logs, jump poles, or brush with.
      One attachment I wish I had and plan to add: I would like to be able to bolt on a 2 5/16ths trailer ball on the tractor bucket and move trailers that way.
      The CUTs(compact utility tractors) with more than 20 hp should be able to mave any bumper-pull horse trailer.
      All of my tractor technology is more than 20 years old. Your local tractor dealer will undoubtably share with you all the new features tractors have now. Some I am not so sure are big improvements but I haven't spent 2-3 hours with a tractor salesman in the last 20 years either.

      George with 65 acres and 4 horses and an eventing schooling field.


      • #4
        I have 2 farm tractors- one 50+ HP IH with a bucket, and a 70+ HP MF. We use the Massey for almost everything, in part because the International can be tempermental- especially in cold weather. We bale our own hay, thus the need for the Massey. It's not big enough for tillage work, but we can borrow a tractor for that if need be.

        When I finally become employed again, one of the first major things we need to purchase is something to mow the lawn (we've been using the bush hog!). I'm leaning towards a compact tractor with turf tires and a finish mower. I'm pretty sure a compact could also spread manure (we have a decent size spreader-not a dinky hobby farm spreader), rake hay and haul hay wagons, and maybe move round bales. Yard tractors are not made for farm use and the larger ones are expensive. I figure most ag tractors last almost a lifetime, even the compacts. I've seen compact "packages" that include a mower, grader blade, loader, etc. for reasonable prices (under 20,000). If you have a small farm, I think a compact might fill most of your needs best. If you're going to do any real work or lots of acres of bush hogging bigger might be better.

        Personally, I'm not fond of a hydrostatic transmission. I'm perfectly capable of shifting thankyouverymuch. It's just more crap to break. I also would not opt for 4WD- but I have other tractors to pull me out if I were to get stuck somewhere.


        • #5
          quote: "Personally, I'm not fond of a hydrostatic transmission. I'm perfectly capable of shifting thankyouverymuch. It's just more crap to break"


          I do like power reversers though for loader use. That's the little lever you flip back and forth with your left little finger to go from forward to reverse. The only trouble with them is that after I've been operating the tractor, when I get in the truck to back up, I look over my shoulder and inadvertantly put on the left signal light.

          For me, I don't want anything less than a real tractor. We started with a 35 horse years ago. Now my utility tractor is 70 hp and I wish I had bought one that size to start with.


          • #6
            I love my hydrostatic transmission. I grew up driving a Ford 70 HP (back before they became all NH) without it, and my 5'10, strong farmgirl self would have to leverage my weight against the steering wheel every time I needed to push the clutch in. No thanks. I traded the HP for the nice driving when I bought this tractor, and am very glad I did.


            • #7
              I was asking this same question a few months ago. We have 12 acres, 5 horses, no snow and needed mostly for mowing and front end loader for spreading manure, sand, gravel, pulling arena drag, etc.

              I did not want to spend a fortune and since we've had this place 8 years and did 'ok' without a tractor, figured anything better than nothing - plus my husband almost divorced me when I finally said we ARE getting a tractor - mostly so I could have a REAL arena drag.

              I talked to tons of people and priced JD, Kubota and New Holland. Kubota dealer and price/financing won hands down. I got a compact tractor, the B2320, just 23HP but with beefed up transmission, heavier duty front end loader, 4wd and HST. I am glad I listened to everyone. I hurt my shoulder (rotator cuff) getting bucked off a greenie last fall and my shoulder has not been quite the same since - even shifting our riding mower for any length of time irritates it. My new tractor drives easier than the riding mower and I never knew how much stuff we needed a tractor for until I got one. It is sure a labor saver and can push over dead trees and shove them whole to the burn pile. I've even been using it to clear brush from a small overgrown part of our pasture - who knew how handy a frong end loader would be for that!!

              We will save a lot of money on just tree work and lots of labor not having to chainsaw them up to move them to the burn pile! I do have 'bar' tires and have driven it on our lawn and it made no tracks whatsoever. I did not want turf tires - thought I might get stuck in the mud - we get about 50" of rain a year.
              Donerail Farm


              • #8
                I have the New Holland version of the Deeres listed here. TC 33 DA, diesel HST 4wd.
                Love it, easy as heck to operate and maintain and for simple repairs. (once you get past that NH does NOT put much info in their owner's manuel on purpose to make sure you come to the dealership to get charge 1000% mark up on every repair)
                However, I have 4.5 acres that all slopes, drop offs, some flat, ledge and lots of heavy woods.
                I could have done a bit better in useability had I gone with a small frame instead of the mid frame size. I'm betting like Cyndi above a 23 range hp would have been a little more ideal for me and my property. It would fit in more tight spots and I'm not doing much major heavy work. Although it's nice that my front loader can lift 1200 lbs I haven't come close to that amount in 6 years.

                The main things to look at is size of property *and* what you'll use the tractor for. Smaller property and less horses and a smaller tractor has most of the benefits of the large tractors plus extras like easily getting it in and out of the barn and through trees/woods, etc.
                I'm not plowing up acres, haying or logging with it. I will knock over small to mid sized trees, turn the manure pile and move snow with it. That's pretty much the extent of the heavy work I do with it. I don't mow with mine, I have so little grassy area that the ride on mower does fine. However if I had to choose between a ride on mower and a small to medium tractor I'd take the tractor hands down. Add a mowing deck and you're good to go.

                Also check out dealerships...not all dealerships are great to work with. New Holland makes a great tractor/product but the dealership I went through sucks out loud for customer service after the sale.
                You jump in the saddle,
                Hold onto the bridle!
                Jump in the line!