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  1. #1
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    160
    Location
    Shaftsbury VT
    Tractor
    Kioti DK 40s

    Default Big or small what does it all?

    New member, long time lurker with a question. I am going tractor shopping tomorrow with my brother. I recently finished building my first home and have about $15-17,000 left for my tractor budget. I live in southern Vermont and have just under 9 acres of a wooded lot that is filled with hardwoods, apples and some wetland. I am really struggling with what I should buy for a tractor. My brother is convinced he wants to buy a subcompact with a backhoe and I was initially looking at a new Challenger 265 with a toothbar, but am leaning towards a subcompact. I have a laundry list of things that need to be done at my house, both now and in the future.

    I need to:

    Maintain my driveway (400ft of gravel, currently snow covered)

    Landscape my house, including cutting a bank behind the house, moving large rocks, spreading topsoil, possibly building a small swale.

    Remove stumps (3"-5" diameter trees that I cut and burned)

    Install raised beds for my vegetable garden

    Dig up small shrubs and tall grasses

    Move lots of brush to burn

    Haul out remnants of loggin operation for firewood use

    Manage woodland and small orchard

    Possibly dig small pond (though I think I'd have to rent an excavator to do this efficiently)


    Does anyone have any thoughts as to the versatility of the sub-compacts versus a larger tractor with a toothbar? In case anyone was wondering about the decision to look at a Challenger, I think I can buy a new 265B with a toothbar and box blade for $17500 (does that seem like a good deal?)

  2. #2
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    160
    Location
    Shaftsbury VT
    Tractor
    Kioti DK 40s

    Default Re: Big or small what does it all?

    I neglected to mention that I already have a lawnmower, so the subcompact will not be doing any mowing work if I buy it. Also didn't mention that my soil is soft and that I intend to use the loader with toothabr to do alot of digging.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    1,070
    Location
    Western Washington
    Tractor
    5300 JD 4X4

    Default Re: Big or small what does it all?

    Having had several different tractors over the past 40yrs from 8n's to a50hp Jd. I would think in your case I would want something with at least 25hp, 4wheel drive and a front loader to start. You will most likely be looking for gadgets to hook to the rear as you need them.
    One thing is, don't sell yourself short on the size of the tractor. Moving brush,stumps, firewood, mowing, spreading gravel and such takes something more than a lawntractor.
    The one thing I miss is a two speed rear pto. I had that on my first kubota and my two yanmars. The Jd I have now just has the standard. I run a large log splitter of it and ir would be nice to have the higher pto speeds. As it is I am converting the splitter to a gas, self contained one. It will still have the 3pt latch up so I can move it around and it makes it stable when picking up large pieces.
    Good luck on your choice. It is one that you will enjoy for years and save a lot of backbreaking work.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    1,070
    Location
    Western Washington
    Tractor
    5300 JD 4X4

    Default Re: Big or small what does it all?

    One more thing you might consider.
    I do a lot of front loader work. In clay I use a tiller to soften up the soil before digging, goes much faster and is easier on the tractor. They also make some cheap rippers for the 3pt if you don't want to spend the bucks for a tiller. The rippers are also good for rooting small stumps. you have a lot more pulling power than when pushing. by ripping the roots close to the stump, taking them out with the loader is much easier. A ripper on a hard packed gravel road is a help too. By prepping it with one and putting on an angle backblade the results are much better.

  5. #5
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    6,138
    Location
    East PA or 750 mi. east of a short man named Dar___
    Tractor
    Kubota, AGCO, New Holland LB

    Default Re: Big or small what does it all?

    Conside a grapple bucket attachment & hydraulic valve to operate it. Sounds like you'll be needing to grasp lots of roots, stumps, brush, etc.

  6. #6
    Elite Member Dmace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,838
    Location
    Wakefield, NH
    Tractor
    Kioti CK20 HST

    Default Re: Big or small what does it all?

    My 20hp Kioti CK20HST could do all the tasks you list and then some. I have a front end loader which is pretty much a neccesity and with 1085lbs of lift capacity, it will lift larger rocks then you think. The backhoe was a given since I had a ton of small trees and stumps to rip out and a 200ft swale to create for culvert water runoff. The backhoe is amazing for a small machine, I find myself strapping the tractor to a tree or truck just so the backhoe doesn't pull the tractor around. Even with it's weight the backhoe is just so powerful.

    I got the heated cab and snowblower just for snow removal and it sure is nice, but I have moved to a plow truck and only use the tractor to move the large banks and clean in the tight areas.

    The boxblade has become a useful tool and is awesome for smoothing out my 500ft gravel drive and ripping out the tons of small rocks in my soon to be front yard.

    For your price range, I bet you could get a brand new CK20HST with loader, backhoe, and boxblade for around $17k. Even less for a gear model, but I find HST perfect for loader and snowblower work.

    Since you are not worried about mowing, I would go with industrial tires and have them filled for more weight and make sure you get the updated loader. As far as a toothbar, it sounds like there are a ton of people here with a Markham Welding toothbar and very happy with them.

    Happy shopping!

    Kioti webpage
    Derek
    Kioti CK20HST
    KL120 FEL // KB2365 BH // 60" JRW 3ph snowblower // 48" HD Boxblade
    Sims-Cab Depot heated cab
    Quote Originally Posted by DiamondPilot
    Now it's time for Ford and GM to step up

  7. #7
    Veteran Member chh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1,178
    Location
    Eastern OK
    Tractor
    MF 596 , MF 4243, MF 1433V, D4H, D3C

    Default

    From looking at the spec, it looks like the Challenger is the same as a MF 1533, they are actually both from AGCO. It should do pretty much everything you are talking about. A grapple on the bucket as mentioned would make moving brush and stumps easier. A backhoe attachment would make getting them out of the ground much easier also. You could get a lot done with just the front end loader and a box blade to start. 17.5 sounds like a good price.
    Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
    Will Rogers

    The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale and pays the freight both ways.
    John F. Kennedy

  8. #8
    Elite Member
    R.I.P.
    ChuckinNH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    3,075
    Location
    NH
    Tractor
    (B2620, had BX22) Simplicity Legacy w/48" mmm

    Default Re: Big or small what does it all?

    Dmace.. I'm going to have to come to your side of the state shopping! A hold over CK20 gear with the back hoe, and old style loader is on sale at $17,500, and the hydro setup is at $18,900.....

    I do agree with your recommendations for the OP's requirements.
    B2620,Loaded R-4's , Wallenstein BX42 chipper, Bush Hog SQ148 RC, 4' x 8' chain harrow, Blizzard 54" 3PT snowblower, Tirechains. com v-bar duo grip chains (hate them), Simplicity Legacy with 48"mmm, turbo collector, Country Line carry all, Countryline Middlebuster, Woods 48" BB, Kubota QA for loader, Kubota forks, Kuhn EL23 rototiller, and more to come...

  9. #9
    Elite Member Dmace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,838
    Location
    Wakefield, NH
    Tractor
    Kioti CK20 HST

    Default Re: Big or small what does it all?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckinNH
    Dmace.. I'm going to have to come to your side of the state shopping! A hold over CK20 gear with the back hoe, and old style loader is on sale at $17,500, and the hydro setup is at $18,900.....

    I do agree with your recommendations for the OP's requirements.
    Apparently, I got a really good deal at Batchelder's when I bought my CK20 in October of 2005. I just took the price I paid and subtracted the price of the cab and snowblower. Of course my deal also included delivery, 50-hr service, grill guard, 16" BH bucket, Bigfoot BH feet, filled tires, and great service. I am sure the prices have gone up a little, but you also get a better loader, an unbeatable 4 year warranty and 2 extra hp.

    To the original poster, look at the standard features on those challengers and other manufacturers, then look at the suspension seat, fender mounted FEL joystick, cup holder, live independent PTO, cruise control, etc and you see you typically get more with a Kioti.
    Derek
    Kioti CK20HST
    KL120 FEL // KB2365 BH // 60" JRW 3ph snowblower // 48" HD Boxblade
    Sims-Cab Depot heated cab
    Quote Originally Posted by DiamondPilot
    Now it's time for Ford and GM to step up

  10. #10
    Platinum Member tomd999's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    623
    Location
    Viva Manchvegas!
    Tractor
    '10 3320 cab

    Default Re: Big or small what does it all?

    Hiya,

    Welcome and glad to have ya.

    Wow, lots of projects! (That's a good thing) Anyway, without knowing much about your property, I'm gonna give my best shot. (No shooting back, this is all from the hip. )

    One thing to take into account is the lay of the land, is it mainly flat, hilly or like mine, a mountain? When you start going up and down hills you will find that a few more HP and bigger tires are nice to have.

    That being said, I would look to the CUT size, not the SCUT size. For example, the scut size is 2305 Deere, the BX Kubota, (there are a lot more brands but those are the ones I remember off the top of my head) a CUT size is something along the lines of the 23-2520 or 3x20 Deere, the B/L series Kubota. (again, those are the ones off the top of my head, every company offers CUT size tractors)

    You will find that the CUT size offers: (for the most part and it varies with the model of course)
    Larger tires
    More room
    More HP/torque (Pay attention to available PTO HP, Tillers, brush hogs and snowblowers have high HP to width ratios, make sure you have enough HP to run the width you plan on getting )
    Higher capacity loaders/3pt
    Full cat 1 hitch dimensions and lifting ability
    A "real tractor" chassis and heavier duty components.

    Along with all these great features, you also get a jump in price. From your list of "requirements" you need a really complete setup, I would say look to these attachments as a minimum:

    Loader with tooth bar, Pallet forks and ballast box. (always properly ballast)
    Backhoe
    York rake w/caster wheels
    Box blade
    quick hitch (I think it's a must have)

    Optional equipment:
    Loader mount plow (driveway, 400' is a long way with a bucket)
    Grapple (debris type is less expensive, the rake types are about 3K)
    Grader blade w/tilt
    Tiller
    Brush hog

    With with just the minimum config above, a CUT class tractor is going to put you into the high teens to low 30K price range. (Depending on brand/model) The optional list would total anywhere from 3K-ish to over 8K more on top of that. (if you go top of the line Anbo grapple/3K, plow-blower/2K, and tiller/2.5K) Both of these options blow out your budget so you have 2 choices, buy used or buy new but with less accessories and hire out/rent for the stuff you can't do yourself.

    Personally, I would stick with the new, (as the price difference between new and quality used is smaller than you think plus new has a dealer standing behind it) hire out/rent for the big stuff and as you need/can afford new stuff, buy it.

    After all this rambling, here is what I would suggest:
    A CUT in the 2K Lb class with HST transmission, R4 tires. (Ex 2x20 series Deere, B series Kubota, Boomer series NH, there are so many brands, look at every one of them, sit on them, drive them, make sure you fit on them, (for more than 2 minutes) ask questions, get the dealer to let you demo one on your lot, go to different dealers, etc.), Loader w/toothbar bucket, ballast box, box blade, quick hitch, pallet forks and a set of tire chains.

    You can do all your tasks with that setup and you should be able to stay in the middle teens with the big three brands (Deere, Kubota and NH), a few K less with the mid tier brands. Add to the implement list as you need/want/can afford and hire out the big stuff.

    Plan on being confused with the options you have, take your time, visit different dealers, think down the road 5 years, realize that this process could take you 6 months.

    my long winded and rambling 2 cents,

    Tom
    Big and little Green tractors, Orange tractors and one awesome brown dog.

    "Congelo nos opus, quantum punitor ingravesco"

    "Behold, like the wild azz in the desert, go I forth to my work"

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