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  1. #1
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    177
    Location
    Weedsport, NY
    Tractor
    BX2200

    Default Small horse farm - one or more tractors?

    We're buying a small horse farm (yes "we've bought the farm") and have a lot of stuff to do around the place. I'm trying to decide between getting a lawn tractor and an old (30+ years older), larger tractor or getting a compact tractor. As usual, price is the main factor.

    Initially, there will be many post holes to be dug as we fence in the remaining 9 acres (already have four pastures totalling 8 acres). Will also have to disc those remaining acres. Also up front is construction of an indoor arena. I'll hire someone to do the site work and a little extra drainage work.

    Normal (daily/weekly) activities are the occasional fence repair, mowing about 2 acres, pulling a manure spreader out of the barn and into a fallow pasture, pulling something to move bales of hay and large amounts of sawdust or shavings, pulling a harrow in the arena and doing something about the snow in winter (got about 700 feet of driveway, plus a little more area around the barn). I'll be buying the hay.

    What I'm thinking is that the initial post holes can be done with rental equipment, otherwise buying a PHD attachment would only be useful once in a while. Or I should get a one or two man PHD?

    The drainage excavating is a little harder to let go, but again price is the issue. The initial site work for the arena I'll leave to experts (although I'm learning a lot from these forums). Also, most of this work will only be done once. The part that is hard to let go is that I will want to add drainage every now and then to some low spots in the pastures, and I'd love to be able to do that whenever I want to. But I'm thinking a backhoe is a pretty expensive option to use only once in a while.

    When I'm not moving snow, I'll be mowing..(upstate NY). I'd love to get a compact tractor with mowing and snow blowing attachments, not to mention a loader, but I'm quickly blowing by my 12k - 14k price range.

    Then there is the loader. So far, I can only see myself moving manure when I can't use the spreader (in winter..). What else will I need a loader for? Seems like most posts here say that you need 4wd for a loader.. Also, I need to fit the vehicle pulling the spreader and/or cart into the barn, where the isle is 11' wide and 8.5' tall.

    I just looked at a 2000 lawn tractor with a loader that can take 300#, and it comes with a MMM. Right there I've got two of my wish list items, but they are asking 10500..

    My wish list is 20-30hp tractor, FEL, snow blower, mower, small manure spreader, cart, harrow.

    Is it better to get loader with tractor, instead of an aftermarket loader?
    Are harrow, cart and manure spreader easy to get separate, and/or used? Same with mower?
    So do I settle for a snow plow instead of a snow blower?
    Do I need 4wd for a loader?
    Should I get two less expensive items (an old tractor w/trip bucket loader and big lawn tractor) or should I get one more expensive item (a compact tractor with all the attachments)?
    With the back and forth work, and possibly my wife using it for simple stuff, is hydro better than gears (not that I'm saying that she can't drive, but she won't put up with it..)
    Can heavy duty lawn tractors do this type of work, or do I really need at least a compact tractor? (I'm concerned that a 'heavy duty lawn tractor is not suitable for a loader, even though I saw one that had a loader).
    Should I use rentals for PHD and drainage work?

    Am I missing something else (uses, jobs, attachments I need I haven't thought of)?

    Should I get rid of the bats in my barn or are they useful for mosquito eating?? (just checking)

    Perplexed in Weedsport

    TIA - Pete

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    433
    Location
    Canton, Texas
    Tractor
    Deere 5520 MFWD

    Default Re: Small horse farm - one or more tractors?

    Wow Pete, that is alot of info and lots of questions. I think that for most of what you have indicated, a compact Hydro utility tractor in the 30-40 HP range sounds like it would work just dandy for what you are doing. Going with a larger model might speed up the mowing, but for arena work, and getting down the center aisle of the barn, the smaller tractors manuverability will, I think, be better in the long run.

    The manure spreaders I have seen have generally been either one of two types. There are the small ground drive (can be pulled behind anything, no PTO required) models which seem to be geared toward horses and the larger PTO driven models which seem to be more marketed toward dairy / pig farms. Unfortunately, the horse models seem to be comparably more expensive and hard to find used, and the larger models are pretty darn big for loading in the center aisle. The only one of the smaller types I have ever heard anything about is a brand called Millcreek and I have heard these to be nicely built.

    As to the issue of 4WD, I think if you can buget it, it sure is nice, but for most of the work you are describing, it sounds like it is not really necessary. Think of it as giving you more effective use of the engine power to pull ground engaging implements.

    For the FEL, I think it is better to get one up front, finance it into the purchase, and I like to get them to match the tractor. A JD loader is made to fit only JD tractors, so it stands to reason that it should fit better and or easier than one made to fit a number of different tractors. That said, there seem to be many owners of third party loaders here, and I am sure that they are good products. Just my opinion that for non-standard attachments (like loaders, backhoes, mmm's etc. which do not use the TPH) going with the manufacturer's designed implement is a safer bet.

    As to whether you need the loader at all, I do not think that you will "need" one, but if you get one, I also bet that you would not regret it one bit. They are one of the handier inventions for lifting anything and everything. I think we should start a "strange things I have lifted with my FEL" thread sometime, just to see what some of the members might come up with.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/laugh.gif[/img]

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    582
    Location
    Seattle area
    Tractor
    JD 855 4WD, HST

    Default Re: Small horse farm - one or more tractors?

    Weedsportpete, you are perplexed!

    I am pretty new to the forum but just recently was in the same position as you. I have only 5 acres - much less land than you but wanted something 20-30 HP and my budget was also 12,000 - 14,000. I was within days of driving to Oregon (I live is Seattle where the taxman runneth over) to purchase a brand new kubota B7500 with a FEL, PHD, and a box blade. My price on the Kubota was just under 13,600. Well two days before I was going to make my Trek I ran across a used JD 855 - my new toy. (It only had 275 hours on it and was in immaculate condition. Came with FEL, tiller, ripper/rock rake, canopy (I live in Seattle - this will come in handy), forks, etc...I picked this one up for 12,000.

    Sorry for being so long winded but my point is that if you look around for a used one you might be able to get a little more tractor for even less money.

    As far as the loader is concerned it was a requirement for me. I have only had the tractor for about a month or so but have used the loader almost every time I get her out. I have put quite a few hours on her already. I have used the loader to "float" some gravel nicely on the driveway (now paved - what a bummer) as well as carry tons of rocks (they grow wild on my land), carry fence posts, move attachments around and also dig in some areas. I am in the process of ordering some teeth for the loader to make it more useful in that regard. I think if you get the loader you will not be disappointed. Also the loader works to help level out the weight when you have a large piece of equipment on then back end.

    I would recommend a hydro if your wife is going to drive the tractor it just makes thing much simpler. The gear is certainly not a problem though.

    You might want to look at Yanmar tractors - (I tested three or four of them). They are about half the price in my area. Just before I purchased mine I was offered a deal on a smaller Yanmar - 1401 with loader, backhoe, snow blower, brush hog, and PHD for 11,000. I opted for one of the big three makers but rumor around here is that Yanmar makes a good product (I know they make the engines for JD). There are many folks from your area on TBN so you might get some goos tips here on where to look for a used one if you decide that is an option.

    Keep the bats in the barn - 10,000 mosquitos a days can't be a bad thing.






  4. #4
    Elite Member Gary_in_Indiana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    3,388
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Tractor
    John Deere 4200 MFWD HST w/ JD 420 FEL w/ 61" loader bucket & toothbar & JD 37 BH w/ 12" bucket

    Default Re: Small horse farm - one or more tractors?

    Just one caution here. IF you're going to look at something like Yanmar or any of the other Japanese makes you need to be aware of what is know as the "grey market" on tractors.

    I'm not going to try to go into all of the ins and outs or pros and cons of buying or owning a "grey market" tractor. There is plenty of information here on TBN about that, I'm sure. I only wanted to make you aware that you can buy a used Yanmar made for the US market OR a used Yanmar that was made for and used in Japan THEN shipped here for resale as a used tractor. Model numbers and specifications differ. Manuals and parts may be more difficult to get. Servicing could become a concern.

    I'm not taking a position on these one way or the other, but rather wanting to make you aware there are differences so you can be more knowledgable if you do decide to shop for one of the Japanese brands. Good luck with your search. I hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Super Member
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    frank_f15's Avatar
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    BUFFALO ,NEW YORK AREA
    Tractor
    kubota b2400- R4 tires

    Default Re: Small horse farm - one or more tractors?

    PETE: lot of questions lot of possible answers. lets do it this way! you can get a lawn tractor with fel( 300lb. lift) with mmm for 10.500 you still need to get the other implements(which i don' think will work with a lawn tractor)i would definetly suggest you go to 25-30 hp. can not imagine you moving much manure in the winter with a lawn tractor. i also think u need 4 wd and hydro. granted this will all add to the cost, but 10,500 for a machine that is usleless to u is a bigger waste of $$$.i also personaly think and old tractor with a trip bucket, for your needs is impracticle, i know i had one. u asked for our opinion, so i hope u don't mind my being candid?

  6. #6
    Super Member
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    frank_f15's Avatar
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    kubota b2400- R4 tires

    Default Re: Small horse farm - one or more tractors?

    pete: forgot to add, it might be helpful to fill in a little more info in you profile. type of terrain, winter cond. etc. will help in giving u a more valid opinion. that would not be weedsport up around the ROCHESTER NY AREA would it?

  7. #7
    Veteran Member GreenRules's Avatar
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    Apr 2002
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    1,458
    Location
    Limerick, Maine
    Tractor
    John Deere 4110, 325,Gt225,, 110, XUV550S4, Kubota L275

    Default Re: Small horse farm - one or more tractors?

    How mechanicaly inclined are you? My family runs a farm up here in Maine with mostly 1960's-1970's tractors. As long as you are capable of replacing a water pump or a gasket or two, you can do well by an old John Deere or International. You can get a Farmall 504 or a John Deere 2020 in the $4-5000 range if you shop.
    Shovelling manure by hand isn't much fun, but a decent loader will run you in the $2500+ range. If you buy an older tractor, you'll want the loader already on it, because it's tough to get OEM.
    You can find manure spreaders pretty cheaply. They pretty much give away the old ground-drive ones. I come across 40 bushel spreaders alot for $400 or so. Snowblowers are nice, but you'll probably only be able to slap a 3PH one on an older rig (sore neck).
    As far as mowing your lawn, buy a Craftsman or something. If you want a tractor for farming, you'll need agricultural tread tires. If you try mowing your lawn with these on, you won't need to mow again for a while because it will be destroyed. Finally, front-wheel assist is a wonderful thing, but if your fields are so muddy that you need it, you shouldn't be on them. Good luck!

  8. #8
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    177
    Location
    Weedsport, NY
    Tractor
    BX2200

    Default Re: Small horse farm - one or more tractors?

    I appreciate ALL comments! I learn from all of them.

    I want to get the compact tractor, but in fairness/due diligence and trying to save money, I'm looking at the alternatives above. So far, it seems like spending the extra money will save me money down the road.

    I will update my profile.. thanks.. Yes, that is Weedsport near Rochester NY. Actually I live now in a suburb of Syracuse; this weekend I'll move 30 miles west to the country.

    Pete

  9. #9
    Super Member
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    frank_f15's Avatar
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    BUFFALO ,NEW YORK AREA
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    kubota b2400- R4 tires

    Default Re: Small horse farm - one or more tractors?

    PETE; not to make light of an extra 3 or 4 k but if u are fianancing, it should not add that much to the monthly payment. i get up that way very often to visit my youngest daughter and grandson . they live in MACEDON(CAN NEVER GET THAT SPELLING RIGHT) good luck in your decision, and let us know what u decide on.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member
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    Location
    Cherry Valley, New York (near Cooperstown, NY)
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    Kubota L4630, with cab and loader, 1951 Ferguson TO-20, 1986 Ford 5610 with loader

    Default Re: Small horse farm - one or more tractors?

    Pete, I will second the opinion that an older or vintage tractor will work for you. I have a similar situation as you, but I have also decided to do my own haying. I started out with a 1951 Ferguson TO-20. It is 2wd, 25 hp, and very simple to operate. I use it for everything you mentioned, except it doesn't have a FEL. A few weeks ago I bought a 1967 Oliver 1550 for my haying. It has a FEL, and is 2wd, and is 62 hp. These tracotrs will handle all my needs, and they came pretty cheap. I got the Fergie for $3200, with a 3ph snowblower, and I got the Ollie for $5000.

    As far as being mechanically inclined to fix them, I don't think that is neccessary. In most agricultural areas, there are independent tractor mechanics. Talk to some of the local farmers, and I'm sure they'll reccommend one to you. I have one, and the few times my tractors have needed a repair that I couldn't handle, my mechanic fixed them for me for a very reasonable price. And if he can't fix it on my farm, he picks it up and brings it to his shop, no charge for transporting.

    For your needs, I'd go vintage.

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