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  1. #1

    Default Skid steer -vs- Compact Tractor

    I'm a tractor novice looking for advice on the best suited machine for my application, skid steer or compact tractor. I have a fair sized timber tract that requires the following work:
    • clearing property lines of timber & brush. Dirt work required for fencing
    • Install fence
    • mowing firebreaks
    • improving old pond, constructing new pond
    • improving roads, installing ditches and water bars
    • piling up timber slash

    I estimate it will take me 50 years to accomplish all this so I need something that will last also!

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
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    Apr 2011
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    Erie Pa.
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    Montana R4944, Ford Jubilee, Ford 621, Ford 841

    Default Re: Skid steer -vs- Compact Tractor

    Skid steers are cool, fun and expensive much more than a compact! I like a compact others will disagree!
    Montana R4944
    Ford Jubliee, Ford 841, Ford 621 industrial with FEL & BH

  3. #3
    Veteran Member jlsmith's Avatar
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    Murchison, Tx.
    Tractor
    MF 285 Long 560 MF2670 CX100

    Default Re: Skid steer -vs- Compact Tractor

    I would go with the compact. More tools to work with and get the job done, and cost lest.
    I can fix anything from a broken heart to the crack of dawn.

  4. #4
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    276
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    JACKSONVILLE, AL
    Tractor
    2011 KUBOTA L3200 W/ LOADER, BH77 BACKHOE

    Default Re: Skid steer -vs- Compact Tractor

    Quote Originally Posted by freddymac63 View Post
    I'm a tractor novice looking for advice on the best suited machine for my application, skid steer or compact tractor. I have a fair sized timber tract that requires the following work:
    • clearing property lines of timber & brush. Dirt work required for fencing
    • Install fence
    • mowing firebreaks
    • improving old pond, constructing new pond
    • improving roads, installing ditches and water bars
    • piling up timber slash

    I estimate it will take me 50 years to accomplish all this so I need something that will last also!

    I am in the same boat you are in...same property issues at hand, and no...I'm not done yet either, but here is my advice, and what I did....Get a compact with a backhoe. Its probably the best choice I've made. A neighbor of mine (with adjoining property) has a bobcat skid steer and he has let me use it for some of the pond work, and clearing. Although its much faster and more agile than a compact, when it comes to digging ditches and working the road a compact tractor and back hoe cant be beat. I ended up buying myself a kubota L3200 with backhoe for around 28,000 with a trailer included. A bobcat skid steer was more than that and didnt have the clearance (undercarriage) to go off roading like i needed to do. I LOVE my tractor and its done an excellent job on my property so far (116 hours***bought it brand new). Just my opinion...you'll be happier and be able to go more places in the woods /property with a compact.

  5. #5
    Super Star Member murphy1244's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
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    Ohio
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    Kioti DK-40, MF-135, Ventrac 4500Y

    Default Re: Skid steer -vs- Compact Tractor

    attachments for skid steer are very expensive.
    Murph ------------

  6. #6
    Elite Member
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    Jan 2011
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    2,912
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    Fanning Springs, Gilchirst County, North-Central Florida
    Tractor
    Kubota Tractor Loader L3560 HST 37-hp / 5,400 pounds

    Default Re: Skid steer -vs- Compact Tractor

    Skid steers are made to PUSH. If you want to power a skid steer implement it is in front 99% of the time and the implement is always powered off the skid steer hydraulic system. (Know anything about hydraulic systems?) No choice in tire sizes, very little in tire types. Rough on the operator due to short wheel base, small wheels and hard tires; tracks WORSE.

    Tractors are made to PULL. Quite a few applications use the tractor to PUSH, of which the most common is the FEL/bucket. Tractors are never quite as satisfactory pushing as they are pulling but they do both. Implements are powered off the PTO, which is part of the tractor already, SIMPLE, RELIABLE and efficient at power transfer. If you are working dirt, with an implement carried in the 3 point hitch, the dust is behind you. Wide assortment of tires types and sizes available. Tractors are more comfortable for the operator.

    I suggest you browse the implement videos at everthingattachments. com:

    EverythingAttachments.com

    Good luck on your choice.

    [ you want a tractor/loader ]

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
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    KY
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    Kubota L3830, Ford Golden Jubilee, 1939 Sears Economy, Polaris Ranger 400, Honda Foreman 450 ES, 2004 Dodge Diesel 3500

    Default Re: Skid steer -vs- Compact Tractor

    Compact tractor. Rent a bobcat when you need one.

  8. #8
    Elite Member
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    adirondacks

    Default Re: Skid steer -vs- Compact Tractor

    It's not a matter of which is the better machine both are made for a job. I have owned/own both and from what you describe you'll be better of with a compact tractor unless you want to upgrade to a tracked SS. Not sure what your $$$ are but SS's are more expensive then compact tractors. If it where me I'd buy a compact with small dump trailer and a used mini excavator, you'd be surprised what you could do.

  9. #9
    New Member
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    Aug 2012
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    piedmont, s.c.
    Tractor
    new holland boomer 3045

    Default Re: Skid steer -vs- Compact Tractor

    I have access to skid steer, backhoe and track hoe but I love my enclosed tractor w/ loader that cost less than half of a enclosed skid steer.

  10. #10
    Super Star Member LD1's Avatar
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    Central Ohio
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    Kubota l3400

    Default Re: Skid steer -vs- Compact Tractor

    I agree with others here, get a tractor. A much more versitile tool IMO. Skidloaders excell in everyway at dirt and loader work. But thats where it stops.

    The things I see on your list that would be better with a SS but not impossible with the tractor are dirtwork, fencing, and piling timber. But that you would want a skidloader, post hole digger, and a grapple bucket at the minimum. And if pricing new, you are looking at pushing $40k

    The tractor would be better for the driveway maintenance and PULLING logs wherever you want, and mowing. But it can still dig postholes (cheaper attachment too), and can still use the loader for piling logs and doing dirtwork, just a bit slower though.

    I am not sure what size timbers you are dealing with or the size of your property and ponds. There is a HUGE difference between 5 acres and 100 acres in terms of what SIZE machine to get. But for the money (and even considering a SS in the mix) I would opt for something in the 30-40HP range if you are in the ~10acre range and WITH a backhoe.

    That backhoe would be VERY handy when doing your ditching work, stumps, and general pond maintenance. A tractor with loader and backhoe (TLB) will do way more than a SS can do. Sure, you could get a backhoe for a SS, but it just isnt the same as a true backhoe.
    ".........there is only one way to find out."
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