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  1. #1
    New Member Anianna's Avatar
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    Default Looking for my True (Tractor) Love

    I am a tractor newbie with 13 acres and a budget. Please forgive my ignorance, but all of my online research has been somewhat contradictory or just downright confusing. We don't have a lot of tractor dealerships nearby, so I haven't had much opportunity to do on-site research. We do have a John Deere dealer about 30 minutes away and kubota and Massey Ferguson dealers about an hour away. I'm not sure if there are others.

    Property Breakdown

    Fields
    About half of the property is field we allow a local farmer to use and we would do little to nothing with those for the foreseeable future. The fields are mostly flat, but do contain a number of gopher holes.

    Lawn and Rough

    About 1/4 of the property needs some form of mowing. Around the house I would like to mow neatly, about an acre give or take. About three acres out by the barn just needs a rough trim and may tend to get relatively high before I take care of it. These areas are mostly flat with only mild grade. However, there are a few rough spots and one ridge that I hadn't noticed under the overgrowth when we bought the place but is very noticeable when you try to run a riding mower through that area. It rises about 2ft at its peak and runs for a length of about 20 ft.

    Woods
    The remaining quarter of the property is largely wooded and there are some areas where I would like to keep down the underbrush as we get a lot of briars and prickers. The area of woods I would like to tend is perhaps an acre or two. There are some hilly spots in our woods, but the area I expect to tend is only mildly inclined.

    Driveway
    We have a dirt (was once gravel) driveway that is mostly flat but does have one problem area that sometimes retains water and needs extra attention. I want to fix this and then be able to maintain and improve the driveway. At some point, I would also like to be able to clear snow. We usually only get a few inches on occasion, but have gotten between 8-12 inches more rarely.

    Considerations
    The ground usually seems pretty hard packed. However, we have recently had two months of record precipitation with a third month approaching record rainfall. We have a few locations that do not appear to puddle, but have become rather soft, so much so that even my 4x4 has gotten stuck. I don't think this is a normal issue, but this is only our second year here.

    I honestly do not know how much to expect a tractor and the implements I would need to cost. As much as I would love a big monster of a tractor, I am thinking that a 30HP (motor power, 20+ at the implement) range machine would be ideal for our physical and budget needs. I know I can't afford the bigger, more rugged tractors.

    If you're going to use acronyms or shortened references, please let me know what they are. I still don't know the difference between a SCUT and a CUT, for example, nor do I know what either stands for. I don't suppose anybody has written a tractor glossary?

    Questions

    1. What kind of price range can I expect for a 30HP +/- machine?

    2. What kind of price range can I expect for various implements?

    3. What are the best implements to meet my needs? My most pressing needs are the yard mowing and driveway care.

    4. Can I rent other implements that I wouldn't use often (such as a post hole auger or a backhoe)?

    5. Are different branded implements interchangeable or are you limited to the brand of tractor purchased? Are aftermarket implements an option?

    6. Are there any good resources online for the tractor newbie to look into to learn more?

    7. Are any brands easier in regards to attaching implements? I may have to attach them on my own sometimes.

    8. What brands/ models should I be considering?

    9. Am I missing any important details?

    Thanks in advance for any information you all can provide. I am really looking forward to my new toy!!

  2. #2
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    7,196
    Location
    Sacramento
    Tractor
    Getting old. Sold the ranch. Sold the tractors. Moved back to the city.

    Default Re: Looking for my True (Tractor) Love

    Quote Originally Posted by Anianna View Post
    I am a tractor newbie with 13 acres and a budget. Please forgive my ignorance, but all of my online research has been somewhat contradictory or just downright confusing. We don't have a lot of tractor dealerships nearby, so I haven't had much opportunity to do on-site research. We do have a John Deere dealer about 30 minutes away and kubota and Massey Ferguson dealers about an hour away. I'm not sure if there are others.

    Property Breakdown

    Fields
    About half of the property is field we allow a local farmer to use and we would do little to nothing with those for the foreseeable future. The fields are mostly flat, but do contain a number of gopher holes.

    Lawn and Rough
    About 1/4 of the property needs some form of mowing. Around the house I would like to mow neatly, about an acre give or take. About three acres out by the barn just needs a rough trim and may tend to get relatively high before I take care of it. These areas are mostly flat with only mild grade. However, there are a few rough spots and one ridge that I hadn't noticed under the overgrowth when we bought the place but is very noticeable when you try to run a riding mower through that area. It rises about 2ft at its peak and runs for a length of about 20 ft.

    Woods
    The remaining quarter of the property is largely wooded and there are some areas where I would like to keep down the underbrush as we get a lot of briars and prickers. The area of woods I would like to tend is perhaps an acre or two. There are some hilly spots in our woods, but the area I expect to tend is only mildly inclined.

    Driveway
    We have a dirt (was once gravel) driveway that is mostly flat but does have one problem area that sometimes retains water and needs extra attention. I want to fix this and then be able to maintain and improve the driveway. At some point, I would also like to be able to clear snow. We usually only get a few inches on occasion, but have gotten between 8-12 inches more rarely.

    Considerations
    The ground usually seems pretty hard packed. However, we have recently had two months of record precipitation with a third month approaching record rainfall. We have a few locations that do not appear to puddle, but have become rather soft, so much so that even my 4x4 has gotten stuck. I don't think this is a normal issue, but this is only our second year here.

    I honestly do not know how much to expect a tractor and the implements I would need to cost. As much as I would love a big monster of a tractor, I am thinking that a 30HP (motor power, 20+ at the implement) range machine would be ideal for our physical and budget needs. I know I can't afford the bigger, more rugged tractors.

    If you're going to use acronyms or shortened references, please let me know what they are. I still don't know the difference between a SCUT and a CUT, for example, nor do I know what either stands for. I don't suppose anybody has written a tractor glossary?

    Questions

    1. What kind of price range can I expect for a 30HP +/- machine?

    2. What kind of price range can I expect for various implements?

    3. What are the best implements to meet my needs? My most pressing needs are the yard mowing and driveway care.

    4. Can I rent other implements that I wouldn't use often (such as a post hole auger or a backhoe)?

    5. Are different branded implements interchangeable or are you limited to the brand of tractor purchased? Are aftermarket implements an option?

    6. Are there any good resources online for the tractor newbie to look into to learn more?

    7. Are any brands easier in regards to attaching implements? I may have to attach them on my own sometimes.

    8. What brands/ models should I be considering?

    9. Am I missing any important details?

    Thanks in advance for any information you all can provide. I am really looking forward to my new toy!!
    Tractor (30 hp engine, 25 hp pto): new: $10-15K; used (5-10 yrs old): $5-10K; really used (10-40 years old): $3-5K. If you buy new, consider getting a tractor with a hydrostatic transmission, 4-wheel drive (4WD) and power steering.

    Add $3-4K for a front end loader (FEL) with 5-ft wide bucket. The FEL is one of the handiest implements to have and you should seriously consider getting one. And if you can afford an extra $800-1000, you might consider getting a skid steer (SS) quick attach fixture for the FEL. This allows you to switch from the bucket to other SS attachments quickly. Here's what it looks like on my 2008 Mahindra 5525 (54 hp engine, 45 hp pto)

    Looking for my True (Tractor) Love-dscf0110-small-jpg

    Implements:
    rotary mower (aka brush hog, bush hog, slasher, shredder)--$800-$1500 for 5-6 ft diameter mower. These mowers are for field work cutting the tall weeds on your property. Here's my 6-ft Hawkline brush hog

    Looking for my True (Tractor) Love-dscf0054-small-jpg

    Get yourself a good riding mower for your lawn mowing chores.

    For driveway maintenance, a 5-6ft wide box blade is normally used ($500-700). Be aware it takes a fair amount of practice to use a box blade efficiently and effectively. Here's the box blade on my 2005 Kubota B7510 HST (21 hp engine, 17 hp pto)

    Looking for my True (Tractor) Love-dscf0154-small-jpg

    Sure, you can rent implements and tractors, including tractor-loader-backhoes (TLBs) when you need to do serious trench digging.

    Implements designed for the 3-point hitch (3pt) on the rear of the tractor are interchangeable from vendor to vendor. I'd suggest you look into a quick attach fixture for your 3pt to make hooking up implements easier. Or else get yourself a 5-ft steel digging bar to auger implements into position when attaching to the 3pt.

    Tractor brands: John Deere, New Holland, Massey Ferguson, Kubota, Mahindra. Make sure you buy from a local dealer that you trust so you can get servicing and repairs done without large transportation charges.

    And, as the Sarge used to say, be careful out there. Tractors are not toys--they're tools and the can hurt you if you don't respect their power. Check the TBN Safety Forum for more info in this regard.

  3. #3
    Super Member Gary Fowler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    9,689
    Location
    Bismarck Arkansas
    Tractor
    2009 Kubota RTV 900, 2009 Kubota B26 TLB & 2010 model LS P7010

    Default Re: Looking for my True (Tractor) Love

    Be aware that most dealers will charge you to haul your tractor into the shop ($200 is about the minimum) even if you buy new so you may want to look at purchasing a tandem axle trailer that will safely haul your tractor, especially if you buy used. If you are mechanically inclined and know something about tractors most things can be fixed at home, otherwise plan to haul it to the dealer. 50 hour service per previous post here will run you over $500 so get a good manual and plan to do lots of work yourself.
    As for tractors and prices sizes, I think you have the right idea on the size.
    Take a look at Tractorhouse.com and it will give you an idea of what folks are listing used and new for across the country. You can search by state,brand, even price.

  4. #4
    Elite Member Gittyup's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    3,078
    Location
    Mid Atlantic
    Tractor
    Kioti CK25 Shuttle Shift, loaded tires, JD X739

    Default Re: Looking for my True (Tractor) Love

    Many good brands out there. In addition to those mentioned, there is Kioti, TYM, Montana, and Branson. All are good. This group here might save you substantial money over big names like John Deere, etc. There are many schools of thought on this. Read up on TBN and make up your own mind whether it's worth it to save a few dollars. A dealer is probably more important than brand.

    SCUT is Subcompact Utility Tractor. CUT is Compact Utility Tractor. Some SCUT's have a category-0 3 point hitch (3PH) or "modified category-1", which means they have limitations when using CAT1 implements.

    I suggest you stay with something that has a true CAT1 hitch. CAT1 implements can do more, are more readily available, and are often cheaper. I'd say you are right on the mark with around 30 HP +/- 5 HP.

    Yes, a separate lawn mower is best for your finished lawn. For the cost of a finish mower to fit your big tractor, you can get a descent riding mower.

    Front End Loader (FEL) is a must, I think. Also, consider telescopic 3PH arms. These make hooking up much easier. Hydrostatic (HST) transmission is safer and easier versus a manual/shuttle shift tranny.

    Implements for 30 HP: 5' boxblade, 7' scraper blade, 7' york rake, 5 -6' bush hog, 4 -5" chipper/shredder (if you have no place to put underbrush or can't burn it). I'd look for them used. They are plentiful and this can save you substantial money. Craigslist is a very good place to watch for what you want.

    A grapple for your loader is really quite handy for brush work. Check out what guys like Islandtractor do with this attachment.

    Get at least one set of rear hydraulic remotes. Get 2 sets if you can afford it. Then add a hydraulic toplink/sidelink so that you can control the angle/pitch of your 3PH implements without getting off the tractor. A grapple in most cases requires one set of remotes.

    If you can't turn a wrench, get as many options up front as you can afford because they will cost you more after the sale, and it won't be cheap if you have to return the tractor to the dealer for an upgrade, or have him come out and do it in the field.

    Canopy if you are sun sensitive.

    If you aren't going to finish mow with the tractor, get rimguard fluid in your rear tires. Much, much more stable and safe, with better all around traction too.

    Redo that driveway with geotex, after you reshape it to get the water to run off properly (using your blades).

    Alot of info, I know. Take your time, read and read some more. You don't have to get everything at once and you don't have to understand everything at once either.

  5. #5
    New Member Anianna's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    12
    Location
    Rural Virginia

    Default Re: Looking for my True (Tractor) Love

    Thank you, flusher and Gary. Both of your posts are very helpful!

    @flusher, I do have a riding lawn mower, but it's not currently functioning. It is a Troy Bilt and when it runs, it runs great, but it is forever throwing belts and now the belt won't engage at all. It has to be dismantled to replace the belt and I've had to replace it every single time I mow. It takes two people to put the deck back on after replacing the belt, too, and that can be a problem.

    Is it possible to get a mowing attachment for the tractor? If I have to buy another rider, can you recommend a brand that isn't going to be so much trouble?

    I do plan on purchasing a FEL (thanks for explaining what that stands for!) at some point; if I don't get it this year I expect to next year. Thank you for the information on that. I had never heard of the SS and that is definitely good information.

    @Gary, I hope to do most repairs myself, unless tractors are going the way of many current automobiles where manufacturers are making tasks that were once simple unnecessarily difficult. For example, on my Toyota van, the air filter is shoved back under a bunch of hoses and you have to dismantle all of the hoses and have a special wrench to fit in the tight space behind the air filter compartment just to change the air filter.

    A good trailer is something I plan to purchase, sooner if I can afford it, but probably next year. We do have a hardware store down the road that rents such things, so I will have access to one if I really need it.

  6. #6
    Super Star Member IslandTractor's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
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    19,646
    Location
    Prudence Island, RI
    Tractor
    2007 Kioti DK40se HST, Woods BH

    Default Re: Looking for my True (Tractor) Love

    I would agree with what the other guys have posted but will add that even though you mentioned 13 acres you are really only mowing or doing brush work in about half of that (calculated best I can from the data provided). Also, you are finish mowing (lawn mowing) only the area around the house ??one acre and indicated that the other mowing will be occasional rather than weekly. Given this scenario (and agreeing that a riding mower should probably be part of the equation), you might consider stretching your budget by looking at 20-25 hp tractors. In general a 20hp tractor is absolutely fine for working on 5 acres or so while a 30 becomes a reasonable upgrade when you get above that. Lots of individual variation of course but as a lot of the work you need done only needs rough mowing either once per year (areas of brush) or once a month (between lawn and barn), a 20 hp CUT or even SCUT (sub compact utility tractor) would seem plenty. The savings upfront with a smaller tractor are in the range of $2500 (comparing 20hp to 30hp) and the implements will typically be one foot narrower and 20% less expensive. Additionally, especially with a SCUT, the size trailer needed to get it to the dealer is significantly smaller and can be pulled by a midsized SUV while a 30hp tractor will typically require a double axle trailer and a full size pickup to trailer.

    No one has commented on the difference between SCUT and CUT so I'll add a bit here. SCUTs are basically smaller and lower to the ground and are generally optomized for lawn mowing though they are far more capabile than riding mowers. The small size and low ground clearance (and weight) are generally an advantage for tractor duties around the house but can be liabilities when working in fields or woods. There is no firm horsepower break point between a SCUT and CUT. For example the tractor in my avatar is a 20hp CUT and is physically far larger and nearly twice the weight of a 26hp kubota BX which is considered a SCUT. CUTs have higher ground clearance and are better at ground engaging tasks (and also mow which is not considered ground engaging). The higher ground clearance is a definite advantage in the woods too.

    I owned a 20hp tractor (Kioti CK20) to clear and maintain a 5 acre area around my house and found it a perfect size. That was doing some very aggressive clearing too, the mowing was no problem at all (4ft bush hog and 5ft finish mower). A 20hp CUT could easily pull a 5 foot box blade or other dedicated implement for driveway maintenance.

    Another advantage to consider with budgetary considerations is that it is pretty easy to find low hour recent vintage Kubota and JD tractors in the 20-25 hp range. I'm talking about less than 5-7 years old with fewer than 500 hours of operation. These used machines are typically very reliable with many years of service remaining and because they are used they have already suffered their first few years of depreciation. After those initial years and first 100 hours or so tractor values tend to stabilize (especially JD and Kubota) so if you bought a smaller tractor now (SCUT or CUT) and decided in three years to upgrade you would likely get very close to what you paid for the machine.

    If you have lots of plans for the tractor beyond mowing and bush hogging (all that you have described besides the driveway maintenance) then I'd agree that 30hp is about right but if your main duties are the relatively limited bush hogging and driveway maintenance then a 20-25hp CUT would probably be my choice. And don't shy away from recent used CUTs. If you are uncomfortable buying directly then look on the dealer's lot for that size machine. Typically they have many and this is a great time of year to buy one. If you wait a few months the dealers are less likely to discount.

    Good luck

  7. #7
    New Member Anianna's Avatar
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    Rural Virginia

    Default Re: Looking for my True (Tractor) Love

    Quote Originally Posted by Gittyup View Post
    Many good brands out there. In addition to those mentioned, there is Kioti, TYM, Montana, and Branson. All are good. This group here might save you substantial money over big names like John Deere, etc. There are many schools of thought on this. Read up on TBN and make up your own mind whether it's worth it to save a few dollars. A dealer is probably more important than brand.

    SCUT is Subcompact Utility Tractor. CUT is Compact Utility Tractor. Some SCUT's have a category-0 3 point hitch (3PH) or "modified category-1", which means they have limitations when using CAT1 implements.
    Thank you. That makes sense now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gittyup View Post
    I suggest you stay with something that has a true CAT1 hitch. CAT1 implements can do more, are more readily available, and are often cheaper. I'd say you are right on the mark with around 30 HP +/- 5 HP.
    Is there much difference between ease of attaching implements between the 3pt and the CAT1 hitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gittyup View Post
    Yes, a separate lawn mower is best for your finished lawn. For the cost of a finish mower to fit your big tractor, you can get a descent riding mower.

    Front End Loader (FEL) is a must, I think. Also, consider telescopic 3PH arms. These make hooking up much easier. Hydrostatic (HST) transmission is safer and easier versus a manual/shuttle shift tranny.

    Implements for 30 HP: 5' boxblade, 7' scraper blade, 7' york rake, 5 -6' bush hog, 4 -5" chipper/shredder (if you have no place to put underbrush or can't burn it). I'd look for them used. They are plentiful and this can save you substantial money. Craigslist is a very good place to watch for what you want.
    It is my understanding that the boxblade and scraper blade can both be used for driveway maintenance. What should I consider if I want to choose just one of those for the time being? Which one will better meet my needs in the short run?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gittyup View Post
    A grapple for your loader is really quite handy for brush work. Check out what guys like Islandtractor do with this attachment.

    Get at least one set of rear hydraulic remotes. Get 2 sets if you can afford it. Then add a hydraulic toplink/sidelink so that you can control the angle/pitch of your 3PH implements without getting off the tractor. A grapple in most cases requires one set of remotes.

    If you can't turn a wrench, get as many options up front as you can afford because they will cost you more after the sale, and it won't be cheap if you have to return the tractor to the dealer for an upgrade, or have him come out and do it in the field.
    Ok, I have to admit you lost me here. I am not knowledgable regarding "hydraulic remotes" or "hydraulic toplink/sidelink". Where can I learn more about this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gittyup View Post
    If you aren't going to finish mow with the tractor, get rimguard fluid in your rear tires. Much, much more stable and safe, with better all around traction too.
    Does that require specialized tires or just the standard tire I can expect the tractor to come with? Does rimguard fluid have to be replaced regularly or is it a permanent change to the tire?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gittyup View Post
    Redo that driveway with geotex, after you reshape it to get the water to run off properly (using your blades).
    Thanks, I hadn't heard of Geotex, but now that I've looked it up, it looks like a good solution to my drainage problem. I had been fiddling with notions of chicken wire and the possibility of drainage pipes, but figured that was a duct tape fix that wasn't going to last well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gittyup View Post
    Alot of info, I know. Take your time, read and read some more. You don't have to get everything at once and you don't have to understand everything at once either.
    Indeed, thank you!

  8. #8
    Super Star Member IslandTractor's Avatar
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    Prudence Island, RI
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    2007 Kioti DK40se HST, Woods BH

    Default Re: Looking for my True (Tractor) Love

    Quote Originally Posted by Anianna View Post
    A good trailer is something I plan to purchase, sooner if I can afford it, but probably next year. We do have a hardware store down the road that rents such things, so I will have access to one if I really need it.
    You are asking all the right questions about tractor purchase but I just wanted to make sure you realize that trailering a tractor is potentially quite dangerous and not likely to be done with a trailer from a local hardware store (SCUT excepted). Before you assume you will be able to trailer the tractor you purchase please do further research. Tractors are heavy and few can be successfully towed with anything less than a quarter ton pickup with a 7000lb rated trailer. That is well beyond what a typical SUV can handle for example so just keep that in mind as you make your tractor purchase.

  9. #9
    New Member Anianna's Avatar
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    Rural Virginia

    Default Re: Looking for my True (Tractor) Love

    IslandTractor, thank you, particularly for the SCUT/CUT explanation.

    A SCUT is an option, but I do have other applications planned for the future I am concerned a SCUT can't handle. For example, the previous owners left a lot of garbage on the property; stuff like chunks of concrete and piles of broken brick. Also, it appears there once was a barbed wire fence on the property and when they were done with it, they simply yanked it out, wadded it up posts and all, and bulldozed it into the woods. I would really like to get that taken care of at some point. Some other projects I am considering for the future include digging a root cellar and putting up a fence for animals.

    My hope is to get a tractor that will meet all of those needs and last me a good long time. Would you still consider the SCUT for these applications or would you go ahead and go for the CUT?

  10. #10
    New Member Anianna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for my True (Tractor) Love

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandTractor View Post
    You are asking all the right questions about tractor purchase but I just wanted to make sure you realize that trailering a tractor is potentially quite dangerous and not likely to be done with a trailer from a local hardware store (SCUT excepted). Before you assume you will be able to trailer the tractor you purchase please do further research. Tractors are heavy and few can be successfully towed with anything less than a quarter ton pickup with a 7000lb rated trailer. That is well beyond what a typical SUV can handle for example so just keep that in mind as you make your tractor purchase.
    I have a big Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 I expect to do the hauling with. I will definitely do some more research on trailers. Thank you!

    When I make my initial purchase, will a dealer deliver the tractor or will I need that trailer right away? That will add significant cost to my tractor purchase that I will have to take into consideration with my budget.

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