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  1. #1
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    Dec 2012
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    Baton Rouge, LA
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    JD 4020

    Default How much tractor do I need?

    I'm getting conflicting information from dealers- who of course have a vested interest in "up-selling"- on what size tractor I need and I'm looking for some unbiased advice.

    I recently purchased 160 acres of land that includes about 95 acres of cutover pine that I want to clean up (remaining property is mature hardwoods). A fair amount of slash is on the ground and also a large number of stumps that were dug out for roads and food plots. My plan is to install a grapple on whatever tractor I buy and start picking up and piling all of the logging trash.

    After reading everything I could find about grapple operation I started looking for a 40-50hp 4wd tractor, but the salesman at a local kubota dealership told me I should look at a 60hp or larger tractor. He said that a 40hp tractor would be "too light in the britches" for a grapple and that I wouldn't be satisified with it for clean up use. Of course then he told me that he had no experience with grapples and didn't know if they had ever sold one before.

    Can any of you guys running grapples on your CUTs give me some advice on your experiences and recommendations on how big of a tractor I should be looking for?

    Brian

  2. #2
    3v0
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    Platinum Member 3v0's Avatar
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    Oklahoma Pan Handle, United States
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    Kubota BX2200

    Default Re: How much tractor do I need?

    Not a clue here but I would look at the loader spec for each tractor. Headroom is good thing.

    Stumps can be heavy especially if there is much dirt on the root ball.

  3. #3
    Gold Member unbidden's Avatar
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    R.I.
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    Kubota BX2660

    Default Re: How much tractor do I need?

    I'd move this question over to Buying/Pricing/Comparisons
    I'm sure you'll get some suggestions with'in the hour.


    Foster Center, RI

  4. #4
    Veteran Member nybirdman's Avatar
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    north of upstate ny
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    Kubota L4240 HSTC,L3000DT

    Default Re: How much tractor do I need?

    I use a L4240 kubota(44HP) with loaded rears and no problems.If you use a full grapple(500+lbs) you may have to add more ballast.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
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    Greensboro, NC
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    Didn't intend to have a Deere fleet - it just happened

    Default Re: How much tractor do I need?

    No one I know has ever been unhappy with a too large tractor. Lots more unhappy with their too small tractor.

    Be aware stumps are the hardest work a tractor is faced with. That "small" stump can frustrate the largest tractor and its owner. Broken chains are dangerous too.

  6. #6
    Silver Member paulemar's Avatar
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Kubota BX25, 60" MMM, 3 point hitch

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleBuck1 View Post
    I'm getting conflicting information from dealers- who of course have a vested interest in "up-selling"- on what size tractor I need and I'm looking for some unbiased advice.

    I recently purchased 160 acres of land that includes about 95 acres of cutover pine that I want to clean up (remaining property is mature hardwoods). A fair amount of slash is on the ground and also a large number of stumps that were dug out for roads and food plots. My plan is to install a grapple on whatever tractor I buy and start picking up and piling all of the logging trash.

    After reading everything I could find about grapple operation I started looking for a 40-50hp 4wd tractor, but the salesman at a local kubota dealership told me I should look at a 60hp or larger tractor. He said that a 40hp tractor would be "too light in the britches" for a grapple and that I wouldn't be satisified with it for clean up use. Of course then he told me that he had no experience with grapples and didn't know if they had ever sold one before.

    Can any of you guys running grapples on your CUTs give me some advice on your experiences and recommendations on how big of a tractor I should be looking for?

    Brian
    I agree with your dealer. You're talking about nearly 100 acres to clean up. That's a lot of work for one guy on a tractor and is going be a major project. It's been said on this forum many times that you never hear of someone complaining of having too much horsepower. More horsepower and weight will be your friend for what you have to do. Whatever you decide, make sure that you have an appropriate counterweight on the back of your tractor to offset the load in the grapple.
    BX25, "60" MMM, 3 point hitch, Brinly 12" cat 0 1 bottom plow, TSC Countyline carry all, Kubota ballast box, 4X4 Loyal drag harrow, BXpanded Piranha tooth bar, Bro-Tek rear skid plate, Bro-Tek wheel spacers, Bro-Tek backhoe ripper tooth. Kubota BX2763A front plow, Phoenix T4 48" rototiller, Harbor Freight Quick Hitch, BXpanded Quick-on Work light Kit.

  7. #7
    Advertiser EverythingAttachments's Avatar
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    Newton NC
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    Which One do you want to know about?

    Default Re: How much tractor do I need?

    One important thing to keep in mind when selecting a grapple is to make sure you get one that is the right size and weight for the tractor you decide on. A 40-50hp compact tractor will be best fitted with a 400-500 pound grapple rather than a 700-800+ pound grapple that is best suited for a 50+hp larger framed utility tractor. You'll be able to lift more and maneuver a compact tractor better with the compact grapple. Like paulemar and your dealer said, you may be better off with a larger tractor for the amount of acreage you have.
    Ted Corriher
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    A family-owned American Company that also sells quality Made in USA Implements every chance we get! We pride ourselves on giving good product information and putting the needs of our customers above our own!

  8. #8
    Elite Member newbury's Avatar
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    From Vt, in Va, retiring to MS
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    Kubota's - B7610, M4700

    Default Re: How much tractor do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleBuck1 View Post
    <snip>
    I recently purchased 160 acres of land that includes about 95 acres of cutover pine that I want to clean up (remaining property is mature hardwoods).
    Congrats! And how mature are the hardwoods? 100 yr old? 30? How much underbrush? What's the tree spacing like? How low are the limbs? How big were the pine? Did the stumps come from trees 5' DBH or 2' DBH?
    And what about the pronoun "I", how large is your workforce? Are you doing this by yourself or do you have 5 dedicated 20yr+ old sons helping you?

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleBuck1 View Post
    A fair amount of slash is on the ground and also a large number of stumps that were dug out for roads and food plots. My plan is to install a grapple on whatever tractor I buy and start picking up and piling all of the logging trash.
    Why? Are you going for pasture? Forest? WalMart?
    Quote Originally Posted by UncleBuck1 View Post
    After reading everything I could find about grapple operation I started looking for a 40-50hp 4wd tractor, but the salesman at a local kubota dealership told me I should look at a 60hp or larger tractor. He said that a 40hp tractor would be "too light in the britches" for a grapple and that I wouldn't be satisified with it for clean up use. Of course then he told me that he had no experience with grapples and didn't know if they had ever sold one before.
    Speaking of "too light in the britches" - how much do you want to lighten your wallet? Is this for fun or profit? Will you be doing this after a 10 hour workday/commute and on weekends or is it a fulltime job?

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleBuck1 View Post
    Can any of you guys running grapples on your CUTs give me some advice on your experiences and recommendations on how big of a tractor I should be looking for?
    I don't have a grapple yet, but I just got my 50HP Kubota (due to pickup Monday). But I've stayed at a Holiday Inn Express

    I'd recommend you talk to your forester and determine how fast the "trash" will rot, versus cleaning up 95 acres single handed.

    In northeast Mississippi most of my scattered pine trash was in advanced decomposition after about 5 years. Stumps are still rotting. If you plant it back to fast growing pine it may not make sense to clean it up.

    If you are going to make it your lifes work to clean up the 95 acres part time and it's all BIG stumps you'll probably need 70HP plus, if it's from matchstick size trees, your doing it full time and your only cleaning up a few lanes 50HP will likely do.

    If your going to have to drive the tractor thru dense mature woods size does matter.

    Lot's of tradeoffs, give TBN some more info and we'll try to help you out.
    My rides - '95 Kubota M4700 w/ PEC, LA1001 FEL :'07 B7610, LA352 FEL, Bush Hog SBX 48 box blade, '09 Woods BH70-X w/ 16" bucket and thumb, 3pt pallet forks, Dale Phillips PHD, Jinma 8" chipper, Winco 12KW PTO generator, Howse plow, 5' KK tiller with a 2002 7.3L Ford F350 CC DRW 4x4 and '07 18' Hudson HSE Deluxe trailer - 5 Ton to haul it all

  9. #9
    Bronze Member
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    Waxhaw, NC
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    Kubota L3800

    Default Re: How much tractor do I need?

    I have a little experience that may be useful. We recently had 36 acres of pines thinned. I had a 50 pto hp kubota M5400 4WD but I sold it and bought a 38 hp Kubota L3800 HST. The reason was that only two in our family of nine felt comfortable operating the M5400. The debate was between the L4600 and the L3800. Most family members who were interested wanted the smaller tractor. I had reservations, but I went along. If I had it to do again, I would get the L4600. The L3800 is a very good tractor, but I miss the wider stance and heavier weight of a larger tractor (even after I put 4" spacers on each rear wheel on the L3800 to widen its stance for more stability). We have 60 acres total and previously had 127 acres. The M5400 was fine for everything I wanted to do on these tracts. I think the L4600 would have been good also. When in doubt, I would err on the side of a larger tractor and more hp, and definitely get a FEL with hydraulic outlets on the rear and also an extra set of hydraulic outlets on the FEL to accomodate a grapple. As to grapples, I had in mind cleaning up most of the 36 acres we had thinned. I read lots of info on this web site about which grapple to buy. I had some extra money from the pine thinning, and I ended up buying two--one 48" Wildkat economy grapple and a 56" W. R. Long grapple. I really like them both. They are different. The L3800 can handle both with no difficulty, in my experience. The Wildkat is better for digging, especially digging out small roots. The Long can grab more stuff and hold it securely for carrying. But the real lesson I learned in this process is that my idea of cleaning up 36 acres of pine-thinning debris was unrealistic. It would take too long, and it isn't necessary to accomplish the goals I have for the land. So, I have revised my plan to be to clean up only what I need to clean up for a specific purpose--roads, wildlife plots, etc. I'm going to let the rest of the debris rot, which it will do quickly. Like a previousl poster said, I would recommend that you consider the same approach--don't make your tractor selection depend on a plan of cleaning up your entire tract. Based on my experience, you will find that selective cleaning-up is more practical. Just my two cents worth (if it is worth that).

  10. #10
    Platinum Member
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    south/central Va.
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    Deutz Fahr Agrofarm 100, Stoll loader, bucket, forks & root grapple

    Default Re: How much tractor do I need?

    I have an Agrofarm 100 Deutz Fahr with a Stoll loader and use a W R Long open bottom grapple, with 2 grapples, 80 in. wide. and weighs 735 pounds. The tractor is 4wd with cab and is 96 hp. I added methanol ballast to the rear tires and that added 2,200 lbs. The tractor weighs 8,100 stock. Add loader,grapple, ballast and a 300 pound hitch with chain storage and it's just over 12,000 pounds. I've grabbed logs and had either left or right rear wheel come off the ground and that was on sloping ground. Most any large log(3,000 pound maybe a little more) I can lift, if I have to back up and any slope at all I have to use the front wheels to back up because the rear still needs more weight. I never use 4wd going forward with the grapple down because I could crush the loader. I could use another 1000-1500 pounds on the rear if it's not level ground.
    Don't really need all that HP but do need weight. That's the problem with modern tractors. Got plenty of engine hp but not enough weight to keep it glued to the ground. Any of them will turn over in the right situation. And can turn over fast too. I've never rolled one but came close a few times. That's why I went for the larger tractor and still have to be very careful in some situations.

    Forgot to add I let the wheels out(front and rear) to just over 8 ft. outside to outside. That helps to keep it upright too.
    Charolais

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