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  1. #1
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    Default Newbie needs advice, please!

    Hey there,

    We just bought 40 acres that has been neglected for 30 years. Has hundreds of large multiflora rose bushes growing on it, two ponds that need dredging, and some grading work.

    Two real questions:

    1. How do you guys remove mature multiflora rose bushes? Please, be detailed and don't use a lot of acronyms... I'm just learning the jargon!

    2. What is a good, used, general purpose tractor for us to buy that will do gentle hills (this is a WV farm with some steep places, mostly open and gently rolling, though). We need it to be able to mow, initially, and we have neighbors with BIG heavy tractors that we can hire for really big jobs. For the most part, we want to pull rose bushes, plow snow, lift rocks for building rock walls (we have PILES of limestone rocks to use) and mowing/bushwacking. Our budget is 15K max.

    Someone recommended a Montana tractor that they like, 'cause it has a lower center of gravity. Did I read somewhere that Montana is going out of business, though?

    Please suggest several brands/models 'cause I'm going to look at some starting tomorrow and would love to have a few starting places with dealers.

    This is a homestead to be, not a working farm. My husband and I aren't particularly handy or mechanical, and we will be weekend warriors for the next year until we can move onto the land. All that to say please don't think "ultimate;" rather think "approachable for two newbies."

    THANKS in advance for advice!

  2. #2
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
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    Getting old. Sold the ranch. Sold the tractors. Moved back to the city.

    Default Re: Newbie needs advice, please!

    $15K budget, not handy mechanically and you're looking at used tractors---

    You need to think about how you'd get service/repairs done on a used tractor if you can't do that kind of work yourself. Buy used off a dealers lot is one way to go. Or find a tractor repair shop to handle the work.

    Something like a 5-10-year-old 45 hp kubota L4400 with FEL could be squeezed into your budget.

    My 2008 Mahindra 5525 (54 hp engine) with the ML250 FEL (6-ft wide bucket, 2950 lb lift to 10.5 ft height) cost me $18K new. You could probably find one today for under $15K.

    Either of these tractors would handle your chores. And, of course, there are other brands that offer this size tractor.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Elite Member nybirdman's Avatar
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    north of upstate ny
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    Kubota L4240 HSTC,L3000DT

    Default Re: Newbie needs advice, please!

    I would approach the local "Dealers",explain your situation.What are popular tractors in your area?There is a lot of good equipment these days;but dealer support is critical.Montana is no longer is business,but they were built by LS so parts should be available from them(If there is a dealer close).Might be advisable to stick with the main brands.John Deere,kubota,New Holland ect.
    You are going to find used tractor prices are high,they hold their value well.
    May want to look at Used Tractors For Sale at TractorHouse.com: John Deere Tractors, used farm tractors and farm equipment, tractors for sale, Case IH, New Holland, Agco, Kubota
    At minimum I think you need a 30-40 horse power tractor with a FEL(front end loader) and a brush-hog(rear rotary brush cutter).
    Good luck in your search.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
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    Piedmont, NC
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    Kubota L4610 & BX2230, Farmall Super M, Super A

    Default Re: Newbie needs advice, please!

    Welcome to TBN. I'll take a stab at this, and others will add more, I'm sure.

    We had a lot of multiflora on our place at first. I found that it was pretty easy to tear up with the front end loader on the tractor. What made the difference was having a "toothbar" - a set of digging teeth - on the lower lip of the loader bucket. The teeth would catch the vines even with the bucket raised high up in a tree and I could pull huge clumps of the vines out. For some reason the vines did not take well to that and after two seasons, pretty well died off.

    There are many brands of tractors, and most of them are well-made, reliable machines. For small, non-agricultural tractors, the top brands are (in order of market position): kubota, Deere and NewHolland. They each make fine equipment, but also not the cheapest, as you would expect. Other major brands are Mahindra, Kioti, CaseIH, CubCadet/Yanmar, just naming a few. Also good equipment, maybe a bit more frugal to buy.

    I think Montana has had business problems and stopped selling in the US. Good tractors, but no dealer support. Same tractor now being sold as LS, I believe.

    That raises the other key point. If you are buying a used tractor, you'll need to be able to find parts and repair for it if needed. With the top 3 brands that won't be a problem. Other brands have fewer dealers so you have to be choosy. You may have a very good one near you, or maybe not.

    Your biggest problem is finding something big enough to do your work and still staying within your budget. I think you should be looking for something with at least 30 horsepower - better if 40 or more - with 4 wheel drive and a front end loader. You'll need a brush mower and a box blade, at least... and buying those new will probably take about $2000 out of your $15000 budget. I wouldn't be so concerned about which brand of tractor as finding a used machine in good condition and not all beat up or worn out.

    I would ask some of your neighbors with large equipment to recommend some good dealers. Farm equipment dealers can be "mom and pop" outfits or big corporate operations. Either way, there are good ones and not good ones, so it's best to know something about their reputation before you walk in the door.

    There is a wealth of knowledge here on TBN if you will take the time to read up some beforehand. And there are some on-line classified sites where you can see equipment listed for sale (Tractorhouse.com, Fastline.com, IronPlanet.com, just to name a few). Candidly, it's going to take someone a while to climb the learning curve... it's even more complicated than buying cars. If you take the time, you'll make a smarter, more informed purchase than if you run out and buy something right away. Best of luck, and don't be shy with questions.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Newbie needs advice, please!

    I am planning to work through a dealer in the nearest decent-sized town to us because of needing mechanical support/parts. There are about four or five dealerships there; it's a farming community. My issue is not knowing exactly what I'm needing.

    Between our farm and any of these dealers, there's a mountain range and an hour's drive. Then there's a large, friendly farming community (surrounding our new farm) with lots of mechanically minded, real farmers. We have a church family there, and some relatives, so I anticipate learning as we go and getting some help from new friends in the community when we need it for small mechanical problems. Our biggest plus, imho, is that we don't NEED to succeed or die. Our biggest weakness is that we don't know what we don't know.

    The question is, how old of a used machine to go with, and what size to start with, given our budget. Also, which brands are truly more reliable, and which are just "the names" that everyone knows. I feel like a dealer's going to want to sell us the largest, most expensive tractor he can. This is the main reason for me asking here before I go the rounds of Harrisonburg, VA dealers tomorrow.

    Many thanks for suggestions so far... I didn't see the one immediately above until writing this post, so now I've edited it. That's a LOT of good information, and I'm reading back as much as I can, but all the letter abbreviations make it tough slogging. I don't really understand, for instance, what a PTO is, except that it gives torque to add ons, right? Can anyone else offer suggestions on researching/choosing?
    Last edited by MountainMomma; 05-03-2011 at 03:59 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Newbie needs advice, please!

    Also: can someone translate/explain "hours" to me? I get that it means "hours the engine has been run," like mileage on cars, but what is a lot on compact, diesel tractors (which is where I'm ending up, I suspect)?

    Also, are there engines and engines? What engines are trouble, and which are the most reliable brands, if any?

    THANKS again, in advance!

  7. #7
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    Kubota L4610 & BX2230, Farmall Super M, Super A

    Default Re: Newbie needs advice, please!

    PTO means "Power Take Off". There is a shaft at the back of the tractor that you can connect a driveshaft to so you can send power from the tractor to an implement attached in back, like a brush mower, or a big rototiller, or a post-hole digger, or a fertilizer spreader, or... etc., etc.

    I would not worry about a brand being inherently "unreliable". If you are buying used equipment, it's more important to find one that has been well maintained and used carefully. If that's the case, whether it's brand A or brand B doesn't really matter; it will do its basic job.

    Gotta run. More comments later.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Newbie needs advice, please!

    Mountain Momma,
    Welcome to TBN. I, like you, am a newbie to tractors and rural living. We are in the same boat as you are in, but perhaps a few steps further along. We purchased 50 acres last year, and have just recently moved on to the property. We have about 30 acres of timber, and scrubby land, and about 15 acres of mowing. I asked the same questions you had, and eventually settled on a new Kioti DK40 HST. (40HP) w/ front end loader. I got an 84" rear scrape blade, a 72" bush hog (rotary mower), and a 65" PTO powered tiller. I was out the door for $25,500. I know this is probably a little more than your budget, but not being highly mechanically inclined, I decided to buy new just for the warranty. I looked around for used (in Michigan) and found the used prices for similar models to be only $4000-$5000 less than new. I thought that that was a small price to pay for knowing I was getting a new vs. getting used where I didn't know the history or care that a tractor had had. I probably haven't helped you that much, but I just wanted to say, "hi," and let you know that you are not alone. There are lots of great guys on here that know lots about tractors. Good luck!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Newbie needs advice, please!

    THX, B7! That was great to know!

    OK: I hear you guys. Used = well maintained. How about the hours thing?

  10. #10
    Super Star Member TripleR's Avatar
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    Kubota M8540HDC, L5740HSTC, BX2200, BX2660, John Deere 425&1025R, Case, Massey Ferguson, Ford

    Default Re: Newbie needs advice, please!

    I agree with NYBirdman as all I can give you are generalities or such specifics as to confuse you. I bought my last used tractor from a dealer I trust and later bought a new one for a different farm. They are from a farming back ground and know their tractors. A dealer will have checked out everything before buying and know the tractor better than anyone.

    Experienced tractor buyers can get good deals from individual sellers, but it will be hard for someone who knows little about them to pick the right size and get one that will be dependable.

    We traded in a tractor last year that was so trouble prone, we took a big loss by making sure the dealer knew about all of the problems. He then sold it to a tractor repair shop. They fixed it up for their own use, but I would have hated to see a private party wind up with it.

    Ford 3000, 4000 and 5000 Series tractors are available, reliable and fairly affordable as are several other brands. There really are too many models that will work and to answer your questions specifically would take pages.

    As for me, given your situation, my preference would be a 4WD of 35-50 HP, HST with FEL.

    If I can think of anything specific, I would re post.
    "An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it." - Jef Mallett

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