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  1. #1
    Platinum Member rScotty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    983
    Location
    Rural mountains - Colorado
    Tractor
    Many in the past. Today, a Kubota M59, JD530, 2 Yanmars - 16 & 33 hp, & a JD310SG

    Default Do You Want A Backhoe With That?

    Recently I've read a couple of threads where folks were undecided about whether to add a backhoe to their tractor purchase. Most people don't have a problem with the usefulness of 4wd or FEL, but backhoes seem to be a question. Maybe the experience we've had will help someone decide. Anyway, here's some thoughts from years of working both with and without.

    First of all, all tractor work depends on the land. We have about 20 wooded mountainous acres with a creek. So our tractor use isn't for traditional Agricultural chores of plowing, planting, and mowing. Ours tends towards moving dirt, rocks, and trees. Typically it is more like construction where we are building things in the dirt, working on the creek crossing, landscaping, dirt road maintenance, and snow plowing.

    For the first 20 years we just had a nifty little compact 4wd with FEL...and folks, with that combination we were simply in Hog Heaven. If you have to have only one tool make it a 4WD with a FEL - and a good 3pt hitch of course. Then one day I got a chance to buy an old 3 pt type backhoe - which we did and used it for the next 15 years. BTW, years later I sold it as is for 90% of what it cost - and the guy was grateful to get it.
    From that experience we already knew that our next tractor would have a fully mounted BH with a hydraulic thumb on the bucket. That's the setup we've had now for the last five years....

    Just rambling, my opinion that whenever a person can do it, the very best way to find out if you have a use for a tool is to have it handy and see it it gets used. Of course that's all easy to say and difficult to make happen, but a forum like this one is part of the answer to that problem.

    What we found is that when we didn't have a backhoe we mostly didn't miss it. Many of the jobs that required digging holes or ditches could be done in some other way or just by hiring someone who did have one. Creativity helps. I even mounted a BH bucket upside down to the FEL and did some ditching that way.

    Later when the little 3pt hitch type backhoe came along it surprised us with how much strength it had curling the bucket as well as how limited it was in what it could lift and how far. Particularly in how high it didn't lift! Underpowered and shaky, with limited movement, it was worth having but was basically just another implement.

    It was only when I got to use a backhoe that was solidly mounted to the frame and coupled with a hydraulic bucket thumb that it suddenly became a whole different type of tool.
    Now that we have a solid BH and thumb it is probably the most useful tool we have maintaining our wooded acres. Just as handy as the front end loader. One day we use the BH thumb to hold logs while we cut them to size and then it stacks them where needed. The next day we are using the BH & thumb to carefully sort and lay rocks in a rock garden. It excels at grabbing and moving things. Particularly if it needs to push some dirt around and then grab something and move it there. Also good for brush, slash, and stumps.

    Final thought - It wasn't the backhoe so much as mounting it right and particularly the addition of the hydraulic bucket thumb that made the difference. We found that a tractor with a solidly mounted backhoe and thumb became a whole new & different type of landscaping tool for us.....making it easy to combine strength and a delicate touch.
    rScotty
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -landscaping_2-jpg   -culvert_b-jpg   -culvert_a-jpg   -river-rock_1-jpg  
    Pride of place goes to our 2 cylinder John Deer 530. She's as modern & useful today as 50 years ago.
    A Kubota M59 & a JD310SG for TLB work....giving us options on doing the same job.
    By the barn sleeps a pair of 33 & 16 hp 4wd US Yanmars getting along in years: Mr. Big & Ms Little.
    And a yard full of well-beaten implements which work far better than they look.



  2. #2
    Super Star Member k0ua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    14,544
    Location
    Branson, Mo.
    Tractor
    Kioti DK35se Hydrostat

    Default Re: Do You Want A Backhoe With That?

    Without a doubt you have a very useful rig there!

    James K0UA
    James KUA

    Kioti DK35se hydrostat with 2 QA buckets, 48 inch. King Kutter Rotary Cutter. 750 lbs ballast box. Loaded tires, Construction Attachments SSQA Lightweight Pallet forks. EA 50 inch single lid "wicked" Grapple. Satisfied Everlast PA160 welder owner How to add a link to a post . Best way to search TBN


  3. #3
    Veteran Member Carl_NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    2,001
    Location
    Coastal NH
    Tractor
    01 Kubota B21TLB, 2010 Ferris 52" ZTR, Cub Cadet 1811, Gravely Super8

    Default Re: Do You Want A Backhoe With That?

    RScotty,

    Good writeup on ultility of a BH..

    We were both on the same trip with tractors.. Raised on a farm first tractor plowed, baled and finally we got an FEL with trip bucket to handle manure - that was a big day vs me forking it by hand. Then we got a bigger JD with a hydralic FEL bucket - another nice addition.

    Fast foward about 20 years and I get my own Mitsubishi 18HP compact with FEL - did a lot, then got a kubota L185 DT with FEL and 3 PT BH - I restored the entire unit and loved the BH but mounting was not great so traded to a builder for my barn, and bought the B21 and do everything you refer - rocks, log cutting, transplanting etc.

    Would love to have your M59 but cant really justify a bigger machine and hyd Thumb - I have a neighbor with a CAT416 so that chips in if needed.


    Carl
    Kubota B21TLB, Ferris IS2000, Cub Cadet 1811

  4. #4
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    9,278
    Location
    somewhere usa
    Tractor
    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, L130

    Default Re: Do You Want A Backhoe With That?

    rScotty,
    Nice write up and rig you have there, I will have to consider adding a thumb to mine.

  5. #5
    Super Member texasjohn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    5,343
    Location
    Central Texas, Jarrell
    Tractor
    Kubota 5030HSTC

    Default Re: Do You Want A Backhoe With That?

    Superb write up...and photos!
    Joy is having the tools you need and needing the tools you have!

    Kubota 5030 HSTC, BB, Danueser PHD, LA853 QA HD FEL w JD toothbar, 3pt chisel, 3 pt disk, 6' shredder, Kubota FEL hay spike, 3pt hay fork w carryall, Kubota RTV 1140

  6. #6
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    16,124
    Location
    Missouri
    Tractor
    Kubota, John Deere, Case, Massey Ferguson, Ford

    Default Re: Do You Want A Backhoe With That?

    Good write up and puts it in perspective. We have three farms with several hundred acres including about 200 acres of woods. We haven't farmed in over thirty five years; rent it all out, so most of our work is dirt/mowing. If we don't have them hooked to a rotary cutter, they have a box blade. We have an old Case back hoe that hasn't moved out of the shed in years and would take days to dig out and who knows how long to get running again. We keep it because it was a project of my dad and brother, lots of sentimental attachment.

    We find it easier and cheaper to rent a back hoe or mini excavator every few years if needed rather than to put one on one of our tractors. So we don't have one not because we don't realize how handy they are, we have just found out we don't really use one. Now others will be entirely different.

    I must admit when I see one, I would like to have it, but then look at our full barns, sheds etc. and walk away.
    Thread on helpful tractor abbreviations: http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/o...-acronyms.html

  7. #7
    Super Member Gary Fowler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    7,380
    Location
    Bismarck Arkansas
    Tractor
    2009 Kubota RTV 900, 2009 Kubota B26 TLB & 2010 model LS P7010

    Default Re: Do You Want A Backhoe With That?

    My thanks to Carl_NH for notifying me of the B26 with hydraulic thumb for sale over in Louisiana. Thanks to him, I now own it and could not believe the use I get out of that little tractor. Now I rarely use my 70 HP tractor except for bush hogging and disking and occassionally when I want to move a large quantity of dirt. I have put about 100 hours on it since I bought it in June of this year and only about 6 on my LS. I would not buy another back hoe without the hydraulic thumb it is that handy. I suppose a mechanical thumb would work to an extent, but the hydraulic thumb is so much more useful and never have to get off the tractor to adjust it.
    2010 LS P-7010C 20F/20R gear tractor & FEL, 2009 Kubota B 26 TLB, RTV 900 Kubota,17 foot Lund boat with 70HP motor, 2012-20 ft 12k GVW trailer, 2011- 52" Craftsman ZTR mower, 2013 Ferris Zero Turn, 3 weed whackers, pressure washer, leaf blowers, 7 foot bush hog, 8 foot landscape rake , 8 foot 3 PH disc, 2 row cultivator, 350 amp Miller AC/DC welding machine and all the tools needed to keep them all repaired and running.

  8. #8
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    14,436
    Location
    Yanceyville, North Carolina
    Tractor
    Kubota L4400

    Default Re: Do You Want A Backhoe With That?

    I enjoyed the post. There are times that I could use a BH but those few times don't justify me purchasing one. A friend of mine has an excavator and when I have need for his help, I call him and he helps me out. He times his schedule when he is working nearby. He treats me fairly and my Wife makes his Family a batch of brownies.
    The PUPIL who does not surpass his Master, fails his Master.

  9. #9
    Platinum Member rScotty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Posts
    983
    Location
    Rural mountains - Colorado
    Tractor
    Many in the past. Today, a Kubota M59, JD530, 2 Yanmars - 16 & 33 hp, & a JD310SG

    Default Re: Do You Want A Backhoe With That?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl_NH View Post
    RScotty,

    Good writeup on ultility of a BH..

    We were both on the same trip with tractors.. Raised on a farm first tractor plowed, baled and finally we got an FEL with trip bucket to handle manure - that was a big day vs me forking it by hand. Then we got a bigger JD with a hydralic FEL bucket - another nice addition.

    Fast foward about 20 years and I get my own Mitsubishi 18HP compact with FEL - did a lot, then got a kubota L185 DT with FEL and 3 PT BH - I restored the entire unit and loved the BH but mounting was not great so traded to a builder for my barn, and bought the B21 and do everything you refer - rocks, log cutting, transplanting etc.

    Would love to have your M59 but cant really justify a bigger machine and hyd Thumb - I have a neighbor with a CAT416 so that chips in if needed.
    Carl
    Yep, there are still a few of us guys who grew up around tractors. Nice to be able to share some of what we've learned. I remember converting our old JD530 from a trip bucket to a hydraulic. Here's a picture from ten years ago. Yes, we still have that tractor. It's a keeper. My dad would be perplexed by why we prefer to live rurally on a few acres even when we don't work the land. Come to think about it, I'm not so sure myself...

    The M59 is a nifty compromise almost dead center between a full size industrial tractor/loader/backhoe that you see on the construction sites and the more compact home owner machines. Frankly, I've wished it had more reach just about as many times as I've wished it were smaller and lighter.....so they got the compromise right. Part of the reason for that is its very tight turning radius. If I had to replace the M59, I'm not sure if I'd go smaller or larger. Best guess is that it would require one of each.

    To my surprise, we've not wished or needed for the M59 to have more power or traction. That's true even though the wintertime use is mainly plowing snow with the front end loader. Be nice if it had a windshield though... :-).
    rScotty
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -rscotty-530-jd2-jpg   -rscotty-530-jd1-jpg  
    Pride of place goes to our 2 cylinder John Deer 530. She's as modern & useful today as 50 years ago.
    A Kubota M59 & a JD310SG for TLB work....giving us options on doing the same job.
    By the barn sleeps a pair of 33 & 16 hp 4wd US Yanmars getting along in years: Mr. Big & Ms Little.
    And a yard full of well-beaten implements which work far better than they look.



  10. #10
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    874
    Location
    WV
    Tractor
    John Deere 1026R

    Default

    I have a backhoe and for a hilly or rocky or wooded property it is very useful. For flat clear land I would rent an excavator as needed.

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