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  1. #1

    Default In need of some really basic help

    I've read through a bunch of stuff here (and laughed a LOT at the "what have you run over" thread!) and found a ton of information that I'm sure would be useful to me IF I knew what I needed to know to start with!

    We have bought a bit over 10 acres. Roughly 6 of this will be turned into pasture for the 2 (currently) horses. About 3 of it is currently waist-high in what WOULD be decent hay except for the presence of a few too many short-stemmed briars [img]/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] I'm having a very hard time finding someone to at least come bushhog it for me. The other 3-ish acres were filled with small trees/large shrubs, the sort of thing that grows up in a neglected field. They were all taken out last fall, but are in need of renovating right now. I have someone who's going to do that and prepare it for seed. We are still building our house out there, and don't want to keep paying someone else to bushhog/mow it all summer long, so, to the point of my post... [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    I need to find something suitable for mowing up to 6 acres of pasture. Used. In the beginning it will likely be 6 acres at a time, but eventually after getting the pasture sectioned off into 2-3 pastures it would be less mowing at a time - rotate the horses out and mow what they just came off of. I'm in the situation where I don't know what I don't know, so I don't even know the questions to ask. I just know I need to find something that can take care of that acreage, in a manner suitable for horse pasture. The ability to add attachments like a tiller, small snow plow, seed spreader, etc is a must as well. $$ is a huge concern, hence the used (very used most likely) requirement.

    Is there any simple guidance you can give me? And can you please explain FEL, MMM, and some of the other common acronyms I've seen floating around here? Thanks - I'm sure I will find this place VERY useful!

  2. #2
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Woodford, VA

    Default Re: In need of some really basic help


    Welcome to TBN. Most of us have been in your situation (don't know what we don't know). Some of us still are [img]/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img].

    Tractors, as with many other topics are fraught with acronyms:
    FEL = Front End Loader
    MMM = Mid Mount Mower
    RFM = Rear Finish Mower
    BB = Box Blade
    etc. (and some folks make up as they go along [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img])

    For your use, you will probably need something with about 20-30 Hp, with a rotary brush cutter ("brush hog") to mow the pasture. If the stuff isn't too big on the overgrown area, brush hogging it may also be the easiest way to clear it. It can then be disked or rototilled and reseeded to grass - or just keep it mowed for awhile and the grass may take over.

    With horses (or without), I would strongly recommend getting a 4wd CUT (compact utility tractor) and a FEL. The loader will be the handiest implement of all, from moving horse manure to hauling feed, bedding, driving steel fence posts, and a thousand other uses you will find once you own one.

    Finding a good used CUT will be difficult, but not impossible. Check out the Classified Ads here and surf the net. If you have a Nickel Classifieds, or something similar in your area, check it often and be ready to move fast if you find a good deal - they won't last long.

    Checking out all the information available on TBN, and possibly buying Muhammad's book are excellent ways to prepare yourself to recognize a good deal when you find it.

    Also, most of the major manufacturers have some excellent financing available now. You might be surprised what you can afford in a new unit. Properly cared for, they will last a lot of years - many sell used for more than they did new, due to inflation exceeding depreciation.

    Get out and test drive some of the machines on the sales lots and check out what they might have in the way of trade-ins. That's how I finally found my tractor. Buying it from a dealer had the added advantage of getting it fully serviced and checked for major problems before I took delivery. It also gave me a chance to establish a good relationship with a dealer that I trust to treat me right when I have to pay for repairs.

    Long winded, but I hope it helps. Good luck. Shopping is part of the fun. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  3. #3
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Cedartown, Ga and N. Ga mountains
    1998 Kubota B21, 2005 Kubota L39

    Default Re: In need of some really basic help

    First welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new place. Don't be afraid to ask questions, there are a lot of nice people willing to help here.

    As far as acronyms we have a whole bunch. MMM= mid mount mower, also called a belly mower. This would be a finish mower for finer grass that is suspended below the tractor between the front and rear wheels. FEL= front end loader or just loader. TLB= tractor, loader, backhoe combination. The one you need to know about is Bush Hog= rotary mower for rough field mowing and clearing. Bush Hog is a brand name though the term is often used in a generic fashion when talking about rotary mowers.

    Now what you need gets to be a little complicated due to all the possible options. In the most general sense I would say you need a tractor in the 25 35 horse power range and a 5' rotary mower. If you can shed some light on how much you can invest at this time we can start looking for the right combination that might meet the budget.


  4. #4

    Default Re: In need of some really basic help

    As I was driving to my property last week, I spotted a flash of blue - what looked to be a mid-70's Ford tractor with a 5' brush hog attached, no FEL, with a For Sale sign on it, listing $1,200. They had to drive it to the intersection to display it, so it must have run. Traffic was heavy and I didn't want to stop. When I cam back past later, it was gone...and has remained gone, so I assume it was sold almost instantly. That's the kind of deal you want to look for. Don't be too concerned about the mechanics - if it runs, buy it. You won't lose anything - if you get it cheap enough, it will be worth almost as much for parts if it quits.

    Yeah, a loader, 4WD, power steering, all those things are nice, but I hear you when you say finances are a huge factor. What that translates to me is that you could probably come up with a grand, but for 2 grand you would have to do without something. Been there, done that, know all about priorities - you did say you were in the middle of building a house.

    So, buy anything that runs and has a brush hog (rotary mower, bush hog, all the same thing. I've seen them called a shredder). As long as it is a bona fide tractor, it's gonna have a 3 point hitch on the rear, which is the universal attachment point with hydraulic control. Thus, anything that attaches to the back of any other tractor will attach to the back of the one you get (there is a little fine print, such as category 1 and category 2, but don't sweat the details right now, they can all be worked around).

    Ideally, the tires should have some life left in them and not be cracked, the wheels should not be rusty (you'll learn why after you've been here awhile - calcium chloride), the brakes and clutch should work, the battery and charging system should work, the 3-point hitch should go up and down (and stay up for at least a few minutes after you shut off the tractor) and nothing should be obviously loose or falling off.

    Good luck and have fun. No matter what you get now, you can replace it later once the house is done, and by then you'll know what you don't know [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Escaped to The Algoma

    Default Re: In need of some really basic help

    I'd go along with Okee Don and suggest you look for an Ag-utility tractor. Something from the early 60s on with 30 hp or more should work. Plenty more to pick from vs CUTs. I'm not really sure if I'd trust a CUT with 5000 hours on it like I would an ag tractor too.

  6. #6
    Super Member Inspector507's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Central Ohio

    Default Re: In need of some really basic help

    First of all........welcome to our "home".

    I second the post mentioning looking for a 50+HP used Ag tractor. They seem to be easier to come by and more cost effective in my area. These tractors in the diesel variety have many, many more years of life in them.


  7. #7

    Default Re: In need of some really basic help

    Wow, thanks for the great replies! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] To answer a few questions you all had, I think [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] I have a budget of $5,000. I feel like (just from seeing prices of old tractors, not knowing anything about them) I should be able to get something halfway decent and maybe a "necessary" attachment or two [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] The entire place used to be cow pasture (the entire AREA used to be cattle/dairy farms) and even includes, at the edge, a pretty cool under-road cow crossing [img]/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]

    If I may, here are some pieces of equipment I've found in our state's Agricultural Review. I'd be ever so grateful if you could critique them and tell me if any are worth calling for and what ones to stay away from (and why):

    - JD belly mower 72" mower, $350.
    - 140 Farmall tractor w/cultivator, GC, $3,000.
    - '55 Farmall Cub almost new Woods mower, $3,000, will sell mower separate for $800.
    - Farmall Cub tractor w/belly mower & other equip., $2,500.
    - Farmall Cub tractor new paint, cultivators, $2,500
    - mowing deck to fit Cub
    on model 140, $500.
    - N Ford tractor w/bushhog, plow, harrow, sickle mower, $4,000 nego.
    - Ford 8N red belly tractor w/4' bushhog, new tires good working condition,
    - 5' bushhog, $225; 6' Howse landscape rake, $250, both are 3 pt hitch.

    That's what I picked out from a HUGE list of things - these seemed, just from the wording, to fit what I thought might be good equipment for a reasonable price. Thanks!

  8. #8

    Default Re: In need of some really basic help

    You may want to consider some of the gray (grey) market tractors. I've seen quite a few package deals in your price range. Just make sure you have a true 3 pt hitch. I once had a Farmall 140. While great for crops, it was a pain to utilize with a brush cutter, disk, etc.

  9. #9
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Northern Virginia
    Kubota's, John Deere's

    Default Re: In need of some really basic help

    I would like to recommend that you also factor in safety features on your pending purchase. Some of the older machines just don't offer roll-over protection, seat belts, power take off engine shutdown, good brakes, etc. etc.

    -Mike Z. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  10. #10

    Default Re: In need of some really basic help

    Welcome to TBN ! (Tractor By Net)

    "- N Ford tractor w/bushhog, plow, harrow, sickle mower, $4,000 nego.
    - Ford 8N red belly tractor w/4' bushhog, new tires good working condition,

    If it was me, I'd go check these out. I have a 9N and an 8N on my 20 acres. The 8N sounds like a good deal if the ad is accurate, as new tires would set you back around a grand.
    These tractors would be great to learn on, and do everything (well, almost [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]) you'd need on a small "Horse Ranch". They seem to last forever, and parts are about the easiest to get of the older tractors.
    Of course, I may be a little one sided since I have used them for the last 20 years. Don't get me wrong...they don't have power steering (except for going uphill with a brush-hog on behind [img]/forums/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img]), and no extra features, but I think either would be a good start.
    I also have a JD 4010 Cut. Power Steering and Hydrostatic transmission...WOW! My poor fords have been sitting in the corner feeling rejected since I got my new toy, er, I mean tool (sorry dear [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]).
    Good luck...I'm sure you'll have fun looking, buying, and learning. It's all part of the experience.
    Just my .02 cents worth.


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