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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Your input?

    The wife is ready to buy a tractor (she'll be using as much as me!), but i'm the kind of guy who has 1 gazillion questions still. Lots of great info on this site, thank you all. I've been reading a lot and my head's spinning So i come to you, oh gods of tractordom, to guide me in the decision

    Here's our situation:

    We bought 7.25 acres horse property in November. About 2/3rds (guesstimate) of the property is horse pasture (no trees), the rest is lawn (front, back and side of the house, 1.5-2 acres total or so i guesstimate) and house and other structures etc. We have a riding lawnmower (Craftsman brand, maybe 17HP?) with a little trailer (200lb capacity i think?) which is handy for some small tasks. But with all the things we have planned we probably need a tractor of our own to take care of things.

    The property doesn't have any really steep hills: The lawn areas are flat and the pasture area is a little bit terraced. We have some horses out 24/7, the others are out only half the time. So they eat down the grass a good bit, no need to mow it constantly. We actually rent another ~10 acres next door and the horses can roam freely across all ~15 acres. The guy we bought the property from said he normally went in with the bush hog twice a year or so, and he does the fertilizing once a year. He's our neighbor and he said he'd be happy to help out mowing the pastures with his tractor. He has a kubota L3000D, which he said has been big enough for what he's done to maintain the property. That gives us a good starting point at least in terms of size tractor we need i suppose. The new equivalent of that tractor is the L3400 is our understanding.

    Here's what we envision using the tractor for:

    1) Bush hog the pastures a few times a year. We're probably going to subdivide the pastures so that one area can rest and grow while the others are in use. May increase the number of times we need to mow a few acres?
    2) Mow the lawn! I do not relish the thought of doing all that on my little riding lawn mower, it'd take all weekend i bet! So if we're getting a tractor, it'll be doing lawn mower duty as well.
    3) Sink fence posts and do fence maintenance. The front lawn is eventually going to be converted into another small paddock for a horse or 2, which means setting up 4 board fencing. We also want to modify / create some fences and such. We're talking several hundred feet of fencing at most probably.
    4) Do riding arena maintenance. We need to drag the arena regularly to maintain the footing. Once every few weeks or so i imagine, depending on use. The riding lawn mower can do a light drag, but i figure the tractor may be enlisted to pull a real drag (heavier.)
    5) Manure / composting management. Since we have 4-8 horses who are kept in stalls half the time, we have a decent amount of manure. We're thinking of building a manure pile (already got a good location scouted out for it) to compost it and use as fertilizer on the pastures. This means we need something to turn the manure regularly, and a few times a year to scoop it into a manure spreader and to pull the manure spreader through the pastures. We'd be looking at a decent size spreader, like a 50 bushel one i guess?
    6) Create the manure / compost area. This would involve digging into a hillside a bit. We'd probably just rent a excavator instead of investing in a backhoe ourselves, since this'd be a one time deal as far as we can tell.
    7) Pasture maintenance: This includes using a harrow or something to break up the manure piles out there and such.
    8) Grass maintenance both pasture and lawn: Aerate, seed, fertilize, spray weed control etc.
    9) Grade some land around a second house on the property. It currently has a level driveway-esque area with bit of a drop-off on one side. We want to change things around a bit and level / move / dig out a bit to make it a more accessible driveway. Probably about 200' long by 20' wide and maybe a foot high or so.
    10) Install a few run-in sheds in the pastures. Means level some ground potentially, drag materials out into the pasture, dig holes for posts.
    11) Redo a retaining wall (at another location). Dig out the existing cross-ties, dig into the hill some, haul materials (cinder blocks and such) down a steep driveway.
    12) Maintain / slightly expand a gravel parking lot (100'x100' or so)
    13) Move materials around, from gravel and such for stalls maintenance to wood boards for fences and cross country jumps in the pastures.
    14) Some erosion control - scrape / level some areas, move dirt / gravel / logs around.

    and i'm sure there'll be plenty other projects we'll think of once we have a tractor Obviously a front-end loader is a must. We'd get a tooth bar with it as well for the digging. We'd want a 4WD (technically front wheel assist i guess.) We'd want to get an auger as well for all the fence work, but those are easy to find both new and used. We may potentially end up maintaining the additional acres next door as well, but for the near future that's not the case.

    So the questions we have is what size tractor should we get, and what kind of features should we look for? Like i said earlier, our neighbor's been maintaining all the land (ours and his) using his L3000, so that should give us an indication that that's a big enough tractor i think? We went to a Kubota dealer and a Mahindra dealer in our area (Georgia) to sit on and test a few tractors and get some recommendations from the sales people there. I'm 6'6 tall, so ergonomics are important to me, and thus sitting on the actual thing is useful.

    At Kubota we looked at the L3400, both HST and gear. My wife and i are both comfortable with gear shifting, so that was not a problem. I can see HST being nice in some cases, but we're not sure if that's a "nice to have" or a "nah dont need it". They quoted the L3400 gear at $16,700 and the L3400HST at $18,900. They did have a L3240 from before the price increases, and so we could get that one for just about the same price as the L3400HST: $18,700 including the FEL. We were kind of steered away from the L2800, but we're now wondering if that might be big enough for what we'd need? The price was like $17-something i believe. We think the B series is probably too small of a tractor for our needs. But if you have a different opinion, please share!

    At Mahindra we looked at the 2816, since that was the only model they had out there to sit on. They had another 55-something, but that's way too big, and they had some smaller ones that we didn't think would do the job. The 2816 is apparently the popular model. It sounds like it'd do the job for us? We could get a 2816 with FEL, tooth bar and auger with 9" bit for $15,500. We also asked about the 3316 (just because i'm not sure the 28HP would be enough, but that's why i'm asking you guys), and with FEL that one would be $17,250.

    Between the Kubota and Mahindra we, as novices, do not really see a huge difference in features or quality. I'm sure they each have their pros and cons. Are there any significant differences we should be aware of?

    We'd finance the tractor. Mahindra has a 0%/60mos on the 2816, which would be a very comfortable payment for us. The Mahindra 3316 would be financed at 4.49%/60mos. Kubota has no 0%/60mos, so that makes it harder to justify going with Kubota, purely from a payment point of view.

    We also looked at some used options on craigslist and such. We saw a few nice package deals on used equipment. But financing used tractors seems hard to find, and then by the time you factor in the interest compared to the 0% when you buy new, the total cost of a used one often is not -that- much less than a new one on which you'd have a warranty. We did find a Kubota 3450 with 698 hrs locally, with a 4ft bush hog, 6ft trim mower, angle scrape blade, box blade, 7000lb trailer and auger for $13,900. That one has been tempting us as well, but we have a hard time finding places that will finance used tractors, and the one we did find said 6 years old or newer only. Do you know of any we could contact about this kind of stuff?

    The Mahindra 2816 supposedly has a 2 stage clutch that supposedly is good to keep the PTO going when you're shifting forward-reverse, so that sounds like something useful. The L2800 doesn't have that i believe. Are there any options / specs we should be concerned about? Number of cylinders in the engine? Hydraulics? ...?

    So, the wife is eager and ready to get the 2816. Obviously it would be foolish for me to stand in her way, but if there are other options we should look at, i can at least postpone the trigger pulling a little longer So if you have any thoughts on the size of tractor, which brand/model, if the prices i quoted are fair for our area, what kind of attachments we should look for etc, please share them. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Elite Member Gittyup's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Mid Atlantic
    Kioti CK25 Shuttle Shift, loaded tires, JD X739

    Default Re: Your input?

    Doesn't the L3400 have that indexing 3PH? Many have stated they hate that thing.

    If you plan on moving large hay bales around, I think you'll want more tractor for the front end loader capacity, especially if you need to stack or unstack them. Say 40 to 45 HP (loader specs are the real issue here). Best loaders per HP per $ spent are probably Kioti and Branson. If you don't need to move hay, then something around 30 HP would do the trick. Kioti is offering a free loader on their CK's (27, 30, 35) right now, 4 year warranty. TYM gives you a 5 year warranty.

    There are many good tractor brands. Good dealer is equally important. Though, I don't buy into the notion that they have to be closeby (many disagree).

    HST is great and would be an asset around your horse stalls. QA adapter on the loader is the way to go. I find the joysticks mounted up on the loader arm to be fatiqueing to use for long periods of time.

    Telescopic hitch is nice. As are rear remotes (get 2 sets) and rear 3PH control.

    Almost all modern tractors that are manual trannies have a two-stage clutch (live PTO).

    Cabs are nice when it's hot or cold.

    Over time I think you'll find you'll want something more nimble to mow grass with, like a ZTR mower or quality garden tractor. A tractor made for ground engagement and moving heavy things isn't the best mower (too heavy).

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Re: Your input?

    If there are other dealers in area would check other brands also.

    Unless your yard is just like your other land you'll probably have to use a smaller mower on it. You got to much it sounds like to keep clear and do with a tiny tractor and larger tractors don't work well as lawn mowers.

  4. #4
    Elite Member coobie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Kubota RTV 900, JD 740,Kioti DK 40 with KL401 loader .

    Default Re: Your input?

    If you have a Kioti tractor dealer close by,check them out also.coobie
    Kioti DK40se hst cab with KL401 loader,Kubota RTV 900,John deere X740,Kioti 73 inch tiller.Ingersoll 4020 3pt,troy bilt tiller,Billy goat brush cutter.

  5. #5
    Silver Member TerryJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Far Western Kentucky(Ballard Co.)
    Case IH JX80,Kioti DK45S

    Default Re: Your input?

    From what all you have described I'd say somewhere in the 40hp-45hp range would serve you well. You never want to be under-powered. Don't be set on one or two particular brands. Check around at some other local dealers and see what they have to offer. I second the Kioti recommendation as I have nothing but good things to say about my experiences. Compare different brands, makes and models and see where you can get the most bang for your buck. Good luck.
    '07 Case IH JX80 w/FEL
    '07 Kioti DK45S w/FEL
    Cat D3 dozer
    Way too many implements/attachments to list!

  6. #6
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Getting old. Sold the ranch. Sold the tractors. Moved back to the city.

    Default Re: Your input?

    You have the classic newby dilemma: want a tractor large enough to handle your field chores but small enough to use as a lawn mower.

    I have 10 acres of flat pasture land and bought my first tractor, a 2005 kubota B7510HST with the LA302 FEL (4-ft wide bucket, 21 hp engine, 17 hp pto, 4WD). Cost: $12.6K plus tax. I didn't get the mid-mount mower (MMM) for lawn mowing since this adds about $4K to the cost and I had a cheap TSC Huskee riding mower (18hp, 42" wide cut) to mow less than 1/3 acre of lawn. You could handle nearly all your chores with a tractor this size, although you would have to find a very small post hole digger (PHD) to work with a small tractor like this.

    My recommendation is to step up to a larger tractor in the 25-30hp range with 4WD and HST. There are at least a dozen to choose from.

  7. #7
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Waynesburg PA
    Ford 8n Massey Ferguson 255 Massey Ferguson 265 NEW!!! Mccormick CX75

    Default Re: Your input?

    why not get a used we take care of our 500 with an 8N a Massey 265, a Massey 255, and a International hydro 70. We just got a Mccormick Cx 75 cause the 70 went out, but we went a long time with just the first three

  8. #8
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Default Re: Your input?

    If you look at kubota, L3240 is the only one worth looking at. If you search "jerky" you'll see plenty of unhappy people.

    Other notes, HST is really nice and easy to drive. I drive gear tractors at work but enjoy driving HST (don't get as tired). Are you planning to be using round bales? If not, I think a "B" series would work... and the L3240 is pretty big. As for being able... my L2800 will lose traction before power, and it saves more on fuel vs. the higher HP tractors.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member canoetrpr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Ontario, Canada
    Kubota M7040 cab/hyd shuttle - current, Kubota L3400 - traded

    Default Re: Your input?

    For starters, I would go with HST - without a doubt. You will be more productive with it period. When you eventually sell the tractor you will get the $1000 back and it will sell faster.

    They key decision you have to make is how badly you want ONE machine to be both tractor and lawn more. There are many good reasons to want this. One machine is less maintenance. It much more satisfying cutting grass from the comfort of a nice diesel tractor rather than a riding mower, and so on.

    If you decide that you want to go the one machine route then I would point you to something like the kubota B3030. It will do the other chores you want on your horse farm and it is nice and light and will serve as a super luxury lawn mower with a mid mount mower.

    I do not believe that the larger tractors like the L3400 and L3240 are great choices to cut a couple acres of lawn. They are heavy and do not have mid-pto. For the best lawn cutting experience, you want a MMM.

    OTOH if you decide that you would prefer to do two separate machines - one for the lawn and one for the rest of the farm, you can consider the larger, heavier machines for your tractor - like the L3400, L3240 and the Mahindra and perhaps others - like a Kioti CK30 or a JD3120. Ther eare good reasons to go this route as well. One is - not having to mess with a MMM removal when you don't want it around for clearance for example. MMMs are also as/more expensive than a decent riding mower.

    All of that said, for the things you have listed, there is no reason a B3030 won't do all you want.

    Between the L3400 and L3240, I woud pick the latter - no question. I like my L3400 but some have had a hassle getting to reasonably smooth perf on the 3 pt hitch. There really isn't enough of difference in cost to not get the Grand L. I would, without question spring for the LA724 loader ona L3240. Don't even think about that one.

    The Mahindra 2815 is a very capable machine and you will find it just as capable IMHO as the Kubota choices. The difference in HP is not enough to really notice IMHO. If I recall it has a really nice loader on it - similar capacities to a LA724.

    The CK30 is also a nice machine and probablhy compares best to a Kubota L3400.

    IMHO, I would look now for a package that INCLUDES a backhoe. Given some of the tasks you have listed - like building a retaining wall, a backhoe will be priceless. Wish I had gotten one with my tractor. Its much more justifying that has to be done to add it later :-). You will be able to dig your manure pit out nicely enough. I think you will find the $6k or so will pay for itself in no time.

    If you have any plan to do round bales, the B3030 should be ruled out IMHO. It just does not have the weight. You can do it with a L3400, CK30 and the others - 4x5 bales anyway. I would want a MUCH larger tractor if I were going to be lifting any reasonble quantity and regularly. For a hobby operation, as long as you are on flat rand, all those tractors will do just fine. I used to feed the horses with round bales last winter and my L3400 handled them just fine on the 3 pt - including 5x6s. I don't doubt I would have been ok if I had a front spear with the 4x5s.

    My personal choice in your situation would be to go with the two machine route.

    1. Bite the bullet and get yourself a decent riding mower with 52" blades. Lots of good choices here that will cost you what a MMM will.

    2. Personally - I would go with a L3240 with an LA724 loader among those choices. I think that the HST+ is really neat. The Kubotas are well made and well known machines with lots of dealers around. Resale is generally higher on a brand like Kubota and JD vs Mahindra and Kioti - although that gap is closing - really depending on local dealer availability. I am a bit biased towards the Kubotas. That said, I would sooner see you on a CK25 or a CK30 WITH a backhoe than a L3240 without. A backhoe will just open up so many options for you.

    I would recommend pricing all the choices I suggested WITH a loader and a backhoe and trying them all out for size. If you like the machine for size, the dealer support seems good, it would be hard to go wrong with the lowest cost option that has a loader and a backhoe among all the machines.
    Current: Kubota M7040 cab, hydraulic shuttle, Kubota M20 loader (made by ALO), LandPride RCR1872 rotary cutter, Horst bale spears & forks, Woods HB72 box blade, Kodiak 7' rake, Walco cultivator, chain harrow, Meteor 74" pull style blower

    Traded: Kubota L3400, LA473 HST (300 hrs), and various attachments

  10. #10
    Super Member dodge man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    West central Illinois
    Kubota BX2350

    Default Re: Your input?

    I pretty much agree with Canoetrpr, except one thing. Could you get by with a rear mounted finish mower? They look great for mowing open areas, but not so great for mowing around alot of stuff. If the lawn you want to keep mowed is open, then a rear finish mower on a L series would be great. Otherwise I think a B series with a mid mount mower would be better. Another consederation is how big are your horse stalls? Can you get in them with a bucket on a L series tractor? A BX series would be great for alot of what you describe, but I think it would come up short when it came to brush hogging that much ground. You might try to find used also. I wish I had. The problem is, now that I have owned my machine for almost a year, I know a little bit more about tractors. Before I was pretty clueless. It was more luck that I walked into a kubota dealer and a pretty good salesman that got me on the right machine than any knowledge on my part.
    The ideal setup for you would be an L series and a BX series or a ZTR mower, but two machines are more maintance and expense. Good luck and have fun!

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