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  1. #1

    Default What size and/or brand tractor?

    I have 12 acres of land that I need to maintain. I will be finish mowing about 11 of it and doing some dirt work also. I plan on installing approximately 2400' of fencing, so a posthole digger would be needed.

    The question is what size tractor will suit me best? What type of mower should I use, a rear mower or MMM mower?

    Is a cab tractor a good idea also?

    Thanks for the input.

    Dave

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    1,556
    Location
    Central Lower Michigan
    Tractor
    Kioti DK40SE

    Default Re: What size and/or brand tractor?

    Big factors are time and money. A big CUT and a cab would be really, really nice and save you time (probably), but also cost serious money - like $40k for a complete setup with implements. A smaller CUT or even SCUT (subcompact) without a cab would do basically the same work for more like $15k new, but would take longer.

    Mostly finish mowing with some dirt work and posthole drilling is not too rough and could be done on 25-30hp without much trouble. Is the fencing just to have a fence, or for livestock or horses? Animal tasks might affect what you want.

    Big choices for you will be transmission type and tire type. I'll bet you end up wanting HST and R4 tires, but you'll need to look at the options and figure it out. More info on your property would be helpful, though I'm guessing it's pretty flat if you're going to finish mow 11 acres. By the way, why finish mow such a large area?

    All the major brands are good, as are some of the minor brands. Don't start with any preconceived notions of which brand or color you should buy. Check out all options in the size class you want, and consider dealer quality a significant factor.

    A couple tractors you might browse to start - which may or may not be anywhere close to what you ultimately want - would be:
    kubota B3030 (with or without cab) and L3400
    John Deere 2520 and 3320
    Kioti DK35

    This is just an initial browsing list. These tractors are not all in the same class, but should give you some ideas in approximately the size you might want. Also these are not the only brands I would consider, just brand/models that came to mind easily.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member jbrumberg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    2,073
    Location
    Western MA
    Tractor
    New Holland TC29DA, John Deere 455D

    Default Re: What size and/or brand tractor?

    12.75AC:

    Welcome to TBN ! Be prepared for a lot of sensory overload , contradictory opinions , brand loyalty , and HP "junkies" in TBNland . I would suggest as a start to try as many tractors and dealerships as possible to get a "feel" of what you are getting and getting into. Tractors in the same price ranges offer similar performance. A good dealership will probably save you money in the long run. Do not get hung up on the statistics (numbers) found in all those fancy and glossy Sales & Marketing driven brochures published by the respective tractor manufacturers. They often compare the criteria in subtle ways to "look" better against the competition. Tell us more about your location, property, and anticipated uses and we will all help you spend your hard earned money as well as provide you with the necessary "justifications" to swing the tractor acquisition and "needed" attachments discussions with "She Who Must Be Obeyed" your way. I will add that I maintain my 12.5A's with a midframe high 20's HP tractor. I also maintained the same property with a smallframe low HP tractor. It just took me longer and I had to approach the tasks differently. If you are going to do a lot of dirt work go to a heavier tractor, mowing go lighter. Definitely get a FEL (and toothbar) and if you are going to do a lot of FEL work go 4WMFWD and HST. This should be an enjoyable part of the tractor acquisition process . Keep us in the link. Jay
    NH TC29DA with 14LA and HD QA 60" bucket, weighted R-1's, FOPS, CCM M-160 (58") Tiller, Tebben MD 60" Rotary Cutter, Woods LR 108 (96") Landscape Rake, FEL cutting edge and tooth bar, Woods GB60 (60") Box Blade, Wallenstein BXM32

    1995 John Deere 455 Diesel with 48" mower, MC 519 Cart with PowerVac

  4. #4
    Veteran Member chh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    1,178
    Location
    Eastern OK
    Tractor
    MF 596 , MF 4243, MF 1433V, D4H, D3C

    Default Re: What size and/or brand tractor?

    Personally I'd recommend that since it doesn't sound like you have much experience with tractors that you stay with one of the well established brands with a good dealership fairly close to you. I'm sure you will come up with a lot of questions before and after the purchase. A good dealership will treat even basic questions with class. Brand will not be as important in your case I would think as service and basic help getting started. If you are going to be doing a lot of front end loader work landscaping and ect. be sure and get 4wd/front wheel assist. A major brand will not depreciate as much as some other brands and if you find that your needs are different than what you orginally though will trade/sell better to get you something else. As mentioned if you have or are planning to get some livestock your needs may be somewhat different.
    Brands to start with
    New Holland
    Massey Ferguson
    John Deere
    kubota

    As far as a cab, how much money do you want to spend. They can be very nice, but not absolutely needed. Something in the 30 to 40 hp range would be were I would start looking.

    Tell us more about your plans and I'm sure you'll get enough opinions to really confuse you.

    Good Luck and Welcome to TBN
    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

  5. #5

    Default Re: What size and/or brand tractor?

    The land I'm maintaining is mainly level with a few gentle hills. The fencing will be for enclosing the property and maybe used for livestock in the future. I have 20 or so pecan trees on half of the land and field on the other. I like the look of it all finished mowed, like a park. I'm guessing turf tires will work fine. I need the FEL to move things around like dirt, rocks, or unwanted small trees. How important would the 4-wheel drive be for me? Let me know if you would like more information. Thanks for the welcome and replies.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Central Lower Michigan
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    Kioti DK40SE

    Default Re: What size and/or brand tractor?

    Couple comments. I think 25-30hp is about right, at least as the point to start your search. I wouldn't go too big as bigger tractors will cost more, damage turf more, and aren't needed for finish mowing unless you want a huge mower. 25hp may not sound like much, but the diesel engined tractors get a lot more work out of their hp than the gas riding mowers - we have a 20hp gas riding mower and a 50hp utility, and the utility doesn't do 2.5x as much work as the riding mower, it does more like 20x as much work.

    Turf tires will do the least damage to turf... BUT.... do not have much traction. I don't think you would be happy using them with a loader for any dirt work like digging, pushing piles around, pushing into piles you've already made, etc. I can have traction issues with R1's (rears loaded) and MFWD doing loader work! I think R4 tires are likely to be a good bet for you as long as you don't go on your grass when the soil is saturated. (The tire debate is endless, you can find literally dozens of threads on this topic...)

    MFWD or 4 wheel drive is not very important for mowing, but useful for loader and dirt work. Most CUTs in the size range I'm suggesting will have MFWD, but it may not be all that important for your tasks.

    Where is your property? Will you be mowing weekly? I know I hate mowing on hot days, and the debris kicked up by a big mower is significant. I also have some allergies which mowing is terrible for - to the extent I've tried mowing with a dust mask on, but haven't found that to work very well. I would seriously consider a cab if I did it over again, despite the big added cost. In the 25-30hp size range there are only a few cab options, but it may be worth looking into if money isn't an issue.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What size and/or brand tractor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Z-Michigan
    Couple comments. I think 25-30hp is about right, at least as the point to start your search. I wouldn't go too big as bigger tractors will cost more, damage turf more, and aren't needed for finish mowing unless you want a huge mower. 25hp may not sound like much, but the diesel engined tractors get a lot more work out of their hp than the gas riding mowers - we have a 20hp gas riding mower and a 50hp utility, and the utility doesn't do 2.5x as much work as the riding mower, it does more like 20x as much work.

    Turf tires will do the least damage to turf... BUT.... do not have much traction. I don't think you would be happy using them with a loader for any dirt work like digging, pushing piles around, pushing into piles you've already made, etc. I can have traction issues with R1's (rears loaded) and MFWD doing loader work! I think R4 tires are likely to be a good bet for you as long as you don't go on your grass when the soil is saturated. (The tire debate is endless, you can find literally dozens of threads on this topic...)

    MFWD or 4 wheel drive is not very important for mowing, but useful for loader and dirt work. Most CUTs in the size range I'm suggesting will have MFWD, but it may not be all that important for your tasks.

    Where is your property? Will you be mowing weekly? I know I hate mowing on hot days, and the debris kicked up by a big mower is significant. I also have some allergies which mowing is terrible for - to the extent I've tried mowing with a dust mask on, but haven't found that to work very well. I would seriously consider a cab if I did it over again, despite the big added cost. In the 25-30hp size range there are only a few cab options, but it may be worth looking into if money isn't an issue.
    The property is in South Carolina and I have allergies, which act up when I mow. You bring up a good point! I don't think the mowing would be weekly, more like once every 2-3 weeks depending on rain.

    From the responses, it seems like I'm in the 25-30 HP range for what I want to do. Should I get the MMM or drag behind mower? What size deck to mow the quickest?

    Dave

  8. #8
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Central Lower Michigan
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    Kioti DK40SE

    Default Re: What size and/or brand tractor?

    I don't use a finish mower on the tractor so I'll leave that to others. What little I know is that a MMM will greatly reduce your ground clearance, which may not matter for you, and is supposed to be difficult to put on and remove. The RFM sticks out farther and is a bit more difficult to maneuver precisely. But RFMs can be bought from any maker you want and go on and off pretty easily. As for deck size - depends on the tractor. These are good questions to ask a dealer, then come back to TBN to make sure people who own the same combination you're looking at are happy with how it runs.

  9. #9
    Gold Member
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    Feb 2007
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    Location
    Eastern Washington
    Tractor
    JD 2320

    Default Re: What size and/or brand tractor?

    12.75

    I can do pretty much everything I want to do on my place, 12 Acres, with my 2320. Just like Jay said you just have to approach things a bit differently. We use an L120 48" mower to mow so I don't about the finish mowing but several folks on TBN have spoke highly of the JD drive over mid mount mowers.

    My advice would be to sit on a bunch of different tractors in the under 30 hp range and check out the ergonomics and the dealer. Stick with the major brands if you are like me and are diesel challenged. All of the tractors in that size range red, orange, green or blue will be able to do the job but one will "feel" better.

    Dealers are almost as important as the tractor. Ask and see if the dealer will deliver a unit for a test drive.

    If you get a FEL definitely get MFWD and a toothbar on the bucket.

    Good luck and welcome to TBN.
    Ed

    JD 120, JD 2320, 200CX FEL, RB2060 Rear blade

  10. #10
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Location
    Arlington, TX
    Tractor
    '51 ford 8N

    Default Re: What size and/or brand tractor?

    @12.75ac

    You've given a good description of your land and your needs.

    Me, myself, personally, I would angle in the 30-40hp range. You don't need FWA to do what you say.....2wd is perfectly fine but I wouldn't go with turf tires and a front-end loader. Either go FWA/R-4 tires with the FLA or 2wd and R-1 Ag tires with with an FLA.

    For 11 acres to cut I wouldn't want an MMM..........too small. Go 30-40hp and get a 5-6' rear mount finish mower and cut more faster. Unless it's golf course quality, you might want a 5' shredder around as well for heavier stuff, limbs, and what-not.

    I can maintain that acreage with my 50 year old 8n even though its lower HP.......but its heavier and I have the implements to match and I know how it runs. I also put it all together for less money that buying new from the dealer, so.

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