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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Default Utility tractor or compact track loader

    I've joined the forum with the hope of getting some feedback that may help me decide which is the right piece of equipment for me..... utility tractor or compact track loader.

    We have a small place (39 ac.) in Central Texas that's typical of the area. Hilly in places (some 30 degree slopes) and flat in others with mostly shallow soil and rocky terrain. I have concerns regarding tip-over (or rather nightmares of rolling down a hill on a tractor), hence the thinking that the lower center of gravity of the CTL would be safer.

    There are no hay fields so, my mowing needs are limited to keeping the roads clear. Disc work and planting only needed for a few food plots that total less than 3 acres. The primary use of the equipment would be for: brush removal using a hydraulic shear; brush clean-up using grappling bucket; using hydraulic auger driver for many drilled holes in limestone rock (fence posts, pole bases, etc.); and, landscape/dirt work as well as moving countless rocks/boulders.

    I guess I blew it. This was supposed to be a new member introduction. Oops!

    Anyway, your thoughts would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member RDrancher's Avatar
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    Sanger, Texas
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    New Holland TC35D, Case TR320 CTL

    Default Re: Utility tractor or compact track loader

    Welcome to TBN!

    Both machines can perform the tasks you mentioned, but the initial and hourly cost of a ctl will be much higher than a tractor. Attachments are more expensive too, although they can be rented. Not trying to talk you out of the ctl, just making sure you know the costs involved.
    John

    My Work & Stuff Photo Thread: http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/p...to-thread.html

    Gravel and dirt are my bread and butter. I like to think of them as roughage.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Utility tractor or compact track loader

    No comparison. Unless you plow fields a tractor always comes in second to a track loader. I was brainwashed thinking I needed a tractor even though I never plowed or mowed grass. What a mistake and waste of money. The tractor had lame lifting power, got stuck constantly even though it was 4x4 ( I use it in Beach sand fields ) and the worst problem, I got flats weekly. I can't believe how much time and money I lost on flat tires.

    I git a track loader that has AMAZING lifting power, floats over the sand and I have yet to get it stuck, obviously never got a flat, and the attachments are great. I sit in the cab, push a button- disconnect move to the next attachment push the button and I'm connected an off I go. All done in seconds. Never do that with a tractor.

    Back hoe - no problem I have it as an attachment, trencher, yep an attachment, crane attachment for lifting high loads, yep.

    The track loader is the Victorinox of tractors. No additional maintenance over my tractor, oil, fluids, battery, etc.

    Now for the best part. I work a lot in a Date Palm field, so making 360 degree turns in and around trees is a blessing. With the tractor I was forever doing multi point turns so by the end of the day I was exhausted from turning the wheel just to move in and out of situations.

  4. #4
    New Member
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    Default Re: Utility tractor or compact track loader

    You are correct about the higher costs for a CTL vs. a utility tractor and it does factor into the equation. But, I just have concerns about the
    operating safety of a tractor on other than flat terrain. Having never owned or operated a tractor before, I don't have field experience to work from. I think that even a compact utility tractor looks top heavy to me. Maybe I should just rent a CTL and see how it does on the "slopes" (with seat belt pulled snug and tight of course).

  5. #5
    Elite Member
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    Middle Tennessee
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    My tractor is an old MF

    Default Re: Utility tractor or compact track loader

    to TBN

  6. #6
    Elite Member Briana03's Avatar
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    San Diego, California
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    Default Re: Utility tractor or compact track loader

    Welcome to TBN

    I moved your thread to the Buying/Pricing/Comparisons forum.
    Briana
    TBN Support

  7. #7
    Gold Member gumshu's Avatar
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    Atascadero, Ca. & Selma, Or.
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    Kubota M7040, Bobcat CT235, Kubota BX23 TLB & RTV 900

    Default Re: Utility tractor or compact track loader

    Quote Originally Posted by ricksheehy View Post
    You are correct about the higher costs for a CTL vs. a utility tractor and it does factor into the equation. But, I just have concerns about the
    operating safety of a tractor on other than flat terrain. Having never owned or operated a tractor before, I don't have field experience to work from. I think that even a compact utility tractor looks top heavy to me. Maybe I should just rent a CTL and see how it does on the "slopes" (with seat belt pulled snug and tight of course).
    I work on slopes with my tractors and it is important to go as straight as possible (low gear) while ascending or descending. Don't ride sideways, or you'll probably make good use of your roll bar. It's also important to be as balanced as possible front and back and taking your load into consideration. Many people work on slopes with tractors, it just takes some getting used to. If I had to choose, I'd choose the CUT.
    F350 6.4 Dually, PJ 14K 20', PJ 3.5K

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Rustyiron's Avatar
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    Lakes Region, Maine
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    M 9540 Kubota

    Default Re: Utility tractor or compact track loader

    A CTL will generally slide before it goes over. I've heard about that TX brush with some killer thorns (flats) but if that's not a consideration at your place, have you considered a reg. skid steer? Much cheaper. They are also very stable on side hills. No matter what you end up with, keep your load low on any hill in any direction.
    ]We need more people to WORK for a living and less people to VOTE for a living!
    (proven on 11/6/12)

  9. #9
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    Johndeere3720's Avatar
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    NW Oregon
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    Deere 317 & L118

    Default Re: Utility tractor or compact track loader

    I have run compact tractors, CTLs, and Skid Steers on hilly terrain. All performed differently, the CTL was best, the Skid Steer was very close to the CTL, and the Compact tractors almost always were tippy in the same conditions.
    Pro's of the compact tractor:
    you have better side to side visibility, you generally can see all 4 tires at any time which is nice when you get up next to something.
    PTO driven attachments are cheap compared to hydraulic attachments
    Compact tractors usually are easier to do maintenance on, especially if you remove the FEL
    Pro's of a CTL:
    The best in class loader ratings, best lifting capacity
    Very easy to maneuver, 360* turns make it very easy to pull in and out of tight quarters which is great in the woods
    Ride quality on rough terrain is the best, they make a long days work in the woods comfortable and manageable
    The accuracy of getting a straight hole with a hydraulic PHD is far batter on a CTL & Skid steer verses a compact tractor since you can see what you are doing and you gin side to side tilt which is not standard on a PTO PHD.
    Pro's of a Skid Steer:
    You get the versatility of a CTL with a little less lift capacity, still enough though (Comparing a Deere CT322 to my 317, the CT322 lifts roughly 1000 lbs more)
    Tires are much cheaper than tracks and you can always buy solid tires for extreme duty as well as over the tire steel tracks which have far better traction verses a rubber tracked CTL.
    You also have the lesser maintenance costs of a Skid Steer, no need to worry about undercarriage maintenance or tracking all of the built up mud and debris on the undercarriage from the woods to the barn.
    Ride quality in a Skid Steer is not quite as good as a CTL on rough terrain however with over the tire tracks it is improved. Ride quality on packed surfaces is great too.
    Many newer Skid Steers have suspension or even air ride seats, my 317 has a suspension seat and it sure makes a long day that much more comfortable.
    And finally, Skid Steers cost less initially and over time verses a CTL, you can get a Skid Steer for 25-50% less than a CTL and not have the $10 an hour maintenance costs at the end of the day.

    Just my
    My Fleet:
    2004 Deere 317 Skid Steer Loader
    66" Construction bucket, imatch QA adapter, CU72 Jake Rake, Middle Buster, 60" Landscape rake, 54"x 48" Pallet forks
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  10. #10
    Platinum Member
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    WV
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    John Deere 1026R

    Default

    My brother in law has over the tire tracks and his wheels spin inside them going up steep hills in muddy conditions but they work well other than that.

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