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Tractor/implement recommendations

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by semipro, Mar 30, 2009.

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  1. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I very much hope to buy a compact utility tractor and attachments soon and would like to get some general advice on considerations WRT make, size, HP, attachments, etc. given the following list of considerations:

    - Our 5 acres is hilly, rocky, and partially wooded. I need a stable tractor with 4WD. I've rolled my riding mower and though it was sort of exciting would like to avoid that kind of thing.
    - I need to mow grass, maintain my gravel driveway, bushhog, chip brush, move dirt, gravel, boulders, firewood so I"m thinking I"ll eventually need a FEL, belly mower, bush hog, PTO-powered chipper/shredder, rear blade, and maybe some forks for the front bucket (palletized firewood).
    - Local dealers are Deere, Kubota, New Holland/MF, Montana, Bobcat
    - I would strongly prefer not to buy a Chinese-made tractor. Order of preference is US, Japan, Korea. I know my 1st choice is unreasonable (sadly)
    - Once factory maintenance is complete I plant to maintain and repair the tractor and attachments myself if practical.
    - I think I'd like a quick-detach loader bucket. I've heard/read that some loaders allow connection of readily-available skid-steer attachments.
    - We try to heat with wood if possible so any insights on using the tractor and attachments for firewood handling would be greatly appreciated.
    - I will likely need a aux. front hydraulic connection for powered FEL attachments. I have a friend with a PowerTrac with lots of attachments.
    - I'm thinking 30 HP min. for the bush hog and chipper but am not certain about this. I plan to do a lot of chipping. I'm tired of burning brush and need the chips.
    - I'll need ROPS but need one that folds for work in the trees
    - I'm pretty sure I'm going Hydrostatic for FEL use.
    - Financing is a factor and one of the reasons I hope to buy soon.

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer whether related to the purchase or what I plan to use the tractor/attachments for.

    Thanks, Andy

    PS: I originally posted this request at tractorbynet.com, a forum I highly recommend if you're into that sort of thing. I figured I'd tap into all the wisdom and humor that this board seems to offer also. I know at least a few here own tractors. The original post and responses are here if you're interested.

    http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/...new-tractor-new-board-advice.html#post1627474

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  2. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I'm also a TBN member and I'm sure you got a lot of info there.

    You can tip a tractor over on flat ground no sweat. The easiest way is to try and grab a heavy item with the side of the loader and it will pop the opposite wheel up and over. Other ways to tip are just setting your wheel into a hole. The best thing you can do to stay upright is to go slow and be careful. I've been up on three wheels several times and it isn't fun.

    Mine is hydrostatic, 30 HP, and a FEL, ROPS folds, etc. You can do pretty much anything with a smaller machine that you can do with a larger one but it takes longer. For example, you can run a 5' brushhog easily with my 30 HP machine but you can run a 7 foot hog with a 45 HP tractor. You can run a chipper with a 6" throat with my 30HP but not with a 20 HP tractor.

    Even the John Deeres are mostly foreign built. Yanmar makes their engines as I recall.

    For 5 acres as you describe I think a 30HP CUT is the right choice. Bellymowers are not common on these larger tractors.

    Here's a pic of my Kioti CK30 with the stump it dug out using the equipment that you can see plus a saw one time.

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  3. sdrobertson

    sdrobertson Minister of Fire

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    I just bought a AGCO ST34a which is 33HP. I looked at Case, Kubota, and TYM and went with the AGCO as it was over 1000 lbs heavier than the Kubota and the finanizing was 0% for 72 months. I only have 14 hours on it so far, but I'm extremely happy with it. AGCO is made by MF. Good luck in your search as there is allot of choises to make and almost as many options out there.
  4. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    MF GC2310 TLB. 4WD, hydrostatic, mid & rear PTO's, 3PH. Both the FEL & the Backhoe can be removed in ~5 minutes. I didn't get the mower deck because I've nothing to mow. 22.5 hp (You may be looking for something bigger). 0%/72 mo financing through AGCO. Made in Japan. I'm very happy with it. Rick

    Edit to add: ROPS folds down on this one, right where the lights are mounted.

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  5. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    C'mon hunting season!
    Rick, that MF is basically a legacy by simplicity isn't it?
  6. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    I dunno...they come with Iseki Matsuyama 3-cylinder diesels in 'em? Rick
  7. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Semipro I'd recommend a 4WD tractor with a 3PH and FEL like a Kubota.

    Also consider substituting the MMM for a 3PH mower...a quicker put on/take off. that's means you'll take the time to remove it before going in the woods and dinging up the MMM.

    MMM's are a better solution for estates...that's not you.

    Also think twice about the back hoe attachment. Yes they're nice to have but for the few projects when you really need one you can rent a real one that gets the job done in a day...rather than dicking around for 3 weeks.

    Those CUT backhoes are fine for puttering but frustrating to make any real production. Besides they can be a PITA to take off/put on until you do it about 20 or so times. So that limits where and what you can do with your CUT.

    You can do a lot of light excavating with a FEL...that's a must have piece of equipment imo....

    ...my 2 cents.

    whoops almost forgot you live in a hilly area, means you have to wear seat belts for the ROPS to save you. Otherwise real bad things can happen if you do roll over without being strapped in.. Good luck.
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I agree, ditch the MMM. They are very expensive and machine specific, easy to smash and hard to hook up. A rear mount finish mower would be the superior if you need a finish mower. Really though, I mow lawns with a riding lawn mower and mow pasture or woods with a brush hog and a tractor. I have no need for a finish mower and don't know why you would need one on 5 acres. Consider trying the brush hog to mow the majority of your grass and then a mower up close. Once you set up the hog properly, it can mow really well.

    I also don't have a backhoe or support buying one. A hoe for a 30 HP tractor costs more than 50% of the entire tractor loader combo. Yes, they're like 6-8000$ and are nowhere near as capable as a rented case 580 or a hired excavator. A good sized excavator rents for about 200 dollars a day in my area and will outwork a small CUT backhoe anyday. I hire out the stump pulling and burning which is done by a large excavator.

    I love hydrostatic transmissions. There is no reason to get a gear tranny except to save a few bucks. I can plow, disc, mow, load, till, and everything else with extreme precision and comfort without the headache of clutching, stalling, taking my hands off the wheel, or shifting. THe ability to creep up onto something with the loader and then reverse direction rapidly is fantastic.

    You'll have to add that front hydro connection and by doing so you will not get a powertrac. The hydraulic pumps on the typical tractor are not nearly or robust or powerful as a powertrac or skidsteer. You can use the front hydraulics for a grapple which allows you to use your loader as a huge set of jaws to grab brush.

    I trailer my tractor a lot to my remote 15 acre property where I clear, mow, and log with it. It weighs 4500 lbs and I use four wheel drive all the time. Almost nobody buys a 2wd tractor these days. That would be a bad decision.

    Everybody likes pictures.

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  9. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Nice land and work as well highbeam.

    I have a 3 pt hoe that came with my old 4wd 35hp Ford. Even with its separate PTO pump, it is largely useless unless you have easy soil with few obstructions. I have considered turning it into a splitter. The FEL is a must and is a lot cheaper to do upfront as part of a package. The 4 foot rototiller makes quick easy work of my spring garden prep/fall cleanup. It is a very useful size machine. It replaced a 25hp 2wd Kubota which was a great lawn mower but not useful for much more. The 1 ton 2wd Kubota was an excellent machine but could not do what the 2 ton 4wd will. As someone else said earlier, there aren't too many American tractors in this class and havent been for a while. Even my 25 year old Ford was made in Japan.
  10. RJP Electric

    RJP Electric Member

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    Some excellent options here. My tractor is probably to big for your needs. It a a John Deere 110 TLB construction grade. It the size of the green Deere 4700 series. The Hydrostatic transmission is the way to go. Also a good idea to get the quick-detach loader bucket with optional front hydraulics. I bought a skidsteer trailer receiver plate from ebay and have a 3 point hitch log splitter with a 2X2 bar welded on it that slides into the plate. What a joy it is splitting wood, you can raise and lower it to any height. I had ears welded onto the plate for an old fisher plow that I use during the winter too connected to the hydraulics. My only complainant is if you get a backhoe attachment, you should consider having a thumb put on it for the moving of stumps and rocks, even a non hydraulic one would do great.
  11. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Sincere thanks to all those that have posted so far in response. I've got some reading to catch up on before responding with more questions.

    Andy
  12. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    LOL, is there such a thing? You might probably wouldn't mow a lawn with it, but the 110 digs, loads, runs the 3 pt stuff and is a 40+ hp 4wd that you can tow with a pickup. When you're ready to sell it in 20 years, shoot me an email.
  13. MarcM

    MarcM New Member

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    As long as we're posting tractor porn-

    [​IMG]

    Branson 3820i... so far so good, had it since December. I know you don't have a dealer in the area... but Korean tractors, from what I've seen and read, are every bit as reliable and durable as Japenese tractors without the price markup.

    The Branson is a very heavy tractor, made for farm use... but we looked at some made by Century/Long and they were all at least 500 lbs lighter and it showed, so remember, HP isn't everything, weight can also be a big factor, especially for using the FEL, and pulling stuff. Obviously, yes, power is important for running the PTO, but don't let that be your only focus.

    [​IMG]

    It really came into its own once we had the tires loaded.
  14. Stephen in SoKY

    Stephen in SoKY Feeling the Heat

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    As long as we're posting tractor porn...... I bought my JD 2240 new in 1980. I only put the FEL on about once a year. Rears loaded, fronts on foam, with a full set of front suitcase weights. I took this photo yesterday while breaking a potato patch in the river bottom.
    [​IMG]
  15. edinct

    edinct New Member

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    here is my Kioti ck20shst, great little tractor, does everything I need on our 8 acre mini farm.

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  16. jimmiller2

    jimmiller2 Member

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    I bought a Yanmar about three years ago. I have had no trouble with it (A YM2000 from a dealer who buys from agents in Japan) Very clean tractor showing 750 hours. I paid 2700 for tractor and for 3700 total got a bushhog and landscape scraper box. You probably already know this but if you buy a Yanmar buy a used one from Japan and not one that has been funneled thru some third world country and sold as "Reconditioned" Yanmar built smaller John Deere's for many years and still make their small diesel engines.

    Jim Miller
  17. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    HP sounds about right. If you're worried about tipping, see how wide the wheels will set out. Heed the warnings about tipping over while using the FEL. Happens quicker than you think. Rear weights on 3pt important. ROPS and a seatbelt a must

    But that all said, my small tractor is a MF180(74hp) with 7ft bush hog and my big one is a MF1135 (140hp) with a 9ft wide snowblower. Hopefully sell/trade for a 80 or 90 hp 4 wheeldrive. Financing is really good on this stuff.
  18. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Thanks to all for the responses. I'll post back when I have more questions or if I actually take the plunge and buy.
  19. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Lots of input here, so one more. I replaced my JD 50 with a Kubota L3400 (34hp), use clutch and shift, not hydrostatic, 4wd, industrial tires, FEL, 3pt, ROP. I added an accessory hydraulic for the rear, and then ran a set of lines to the front so that a 3rd line was available there as well. I'm now into my 5th year, and no problems of any kind, very satisfied. Principal uses: skidding and hauling logs out of the woods, loading logs onto a trailer, FEL bucket and grapple work, trail and brush mowing, plowing, discing, grading, and lots of misc. Attachments/accessories include block heater, FEL, bucket, grapple, pallet forks, brush mower, disc, 2 bottom plow, skids for 3pt (one for carrying stuff, one for counterweight), box blade, logging chains, seatbelt.

    Highly recommend a Bobcat compatible quik-tach for the FEL. Makes it really fast and easy to change from bucket to grapple to pallet forks or any Bobcat-type equipment. Also highly recommend a counterweight for the 3pt. These tractors are relatively light and without a counterweight in the rear you don't have much rear traction or lifting capacity. Mine is a barrel filled with rocks and cement and mounted on a skid that the 3pt can pickup when needed.

    The power is incredible, diesel fuel use is miserly, and SAFETY is the 800 lb gorilla. Can't over-emphasize safety because you can get yourself into a dangerous problem without even trying.
  20. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    jebatty makes a good suggestion,

    depending on you area, the block heater idea is a must. Even plugged in for 1 hour helps a lot. 2 or 3 hours is better, saves on batteries, starter, glow plugs, engine wear and tear. It's a cheap investment. They use a small amount of electricity, and I have the biggest one I can put on equipment when buying.
  21. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Ooooh, Jebatty. You have a grapple. I would love to have a grapple. I made the mistake of non specifying the extra rear remote and the standard loader is nnot a quick attach SS style so I need to spend 500-700 bucks just to correct those mistakes but the grapple would be immensely useful in my logging and clearing adventures.

    I have no block heater and find that modern tractors with glow plugs and in reasonably moderate temps start up just fine. I have started mine up in the 20s without a heater but I do agree that the block heater makes it easier on the engine and I do use one in my diesel truck. My old international dozer from the 70s had no glow plugs and would start right up in below freezing weather without the plug.

    Just yesterday I fell and skidded 11 logs out of the woods. The last several were 70 feet tall and I skid them out one at a time with the entire branch system connected. I was using all 30 HP on the uphills.
  22. Ducati996

    Ducati996 Member

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  23. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    Looks like a great web site, more time on the computer. :lol: The only other thing that I would add would be a cab if you get a fair amount of snow or even cold. It sucks to plow in the snow and cold wind. Be safe.
    Ed
  24. Ducati996

    Ducati996 Member

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  25. kscowboy

    kscowboy New Member

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    Wow i am out dated with my 1949 ford 9n with my 5 foot box blade(for the drive way) my 6 foot reversable blade, brush hog, three point scoop bucket but it get the job done most of the time
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