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  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    28
    Location
    Durango, CO
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400

    Default what compact tractor will serve us best?

    My husband and I just built on a 5.4 acre parcel that is old pasture. We have not fully decided how to use/manage all the land yet, but we are pretty sure about the following needs:
    . snow removal along a 400 foot driveway in an area that gets heavy wet snow
    . compost moving and turning
    . mowing tall grass (now lawn)
    . a little earth moving and shaping (immediately, but not much over long-term)
    . redig and maintain irrigation ditches
    . perhaps seeding, light discing

    We currently have very few trees but will have a small orchard and large vegetable garden.

    We have been researching tractors and have pretty much narrowed our choices (based on cost limits and needs) to kubota B2320 or L3200 or Massey Ferguson 1529. The only thing keeping B2320 in the running is the price and the possibility that its small size would do better around the orchard and garden - i.e., it might be enough, though we worry about those little tires with the snow removal.

    We really like the MF1529, but dealers are quite a ways away. We have a local Kubota dealer, but the price is higher and the loader and 3 pt both appear stronger on the MF1529 than the Kubota 3200, if I'm reading the specs correctly.

    We are also leaning against getting the HST, because we like manual transmissions. We can see the advantage of HST with snow removal, but it doesn't seem that big a deal to us to shift.

    Any advice or tips that we should consider as we make our decision?

    debp

  2. #2
    Elite Member Baby Grand's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    3,817
    Location
    Windsor, CT.
    Tractor
    Kubotas: L3240GST B2320HST B5100D & G5200H

    Default Re: what compact tractor will serve us best?

    Not to sound nosey, but a few questions to help your decision:
    Since you get a fair amount of snow, do you planto get a snow blower attachment with your tractor?
    Is your lot level, or does it have a lot of slopes to it?
    How wide & deep are the ditches that you need to maintain?

    Oh, almost forgot to say - Welcome aboard!
    As a wee laddie, I grew up listening to an LP of the Durango & Silverton steam train.
    The LP cover had great photos of the grades and a section of track that snaked through a canyon.
    You live in a beautiful place!
    That's the problem with trouble.
    It always starts out as such fun."
    - Randall Brown

  3. #3
    Gold Member BuilderML's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    387
    Location
    Tolland, CT
    Tractor
    CCY SX3100

    Default Re: what compact tractor will serve us best?

    Hi debp,
    I have about the same property alittle over 5 acres and a 1200 ft gravel driveway, From what your saying i would believe a 20-30hp tractor would be a good fit for you. My unit is 31hp and i can tell you i am never over 3/4 throttle, As far as removing snow i have been using the loader as that is all i have for now. Not the greatest setup but it gets the job done. I would strongly recommend you to go with HST i am sure many others would agree. One item you may want to consider and was a major factor for me was the location on the loader control. I would never get a tractor with the loader control located on the loader. It may not be a big deal to many but its the difference from driving your car with your right arm on the dash or resting it as it should on the arm rest. I would also go with 4x4 a must have when removing snow. I don't know what your price point is. I would think if you are going new you should be able to get what you need in the area of 15k. This is a bias view but i would give a good look at the Yanmar units there is a reason John Deere has been using them for years to build the CUT units for John Deere. Yanmar also has a 5 year warranty. Have fun with your tractor hunt.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,664
    Location
    Piedmont, NC
    Tractor
    Kubota L4610 & BX2230, Farmall Super M, Super A

    Default Re: what compact tractor will serve us best?

    First advice: Go look at and test run the contenders in person. The MF1529 and L3200 are very similar machines that will do essentially the same level of work. You seldom operate equipment at the absolute maximum of its ability... that's kind of like choosing your car based on peak horsepower or top speed; you normally use a tractor at 40-80% of its capability, where the difference between one or the other doesn't mean very much. So the real issue is which machine suits your preferences best, because you're going to spend a lot of time using it. Little things, like how loud, how smooth, how easy to operate, the ergonomics can mean a lot. Also, which dealer seems best and, of course, will make you the best deal. Consider whether they can package the implements you'll need into the sale... perhaps save you some money and roll them into the same financing.

    I'd be concerned that the B2320 may be small for the work you have planned.

    More: The HST will really help for anything you do with the loader, such as the composting, earth moving, and ditching you mentioned. With a gear tractor, you need one hand to steer, one hand to shift gears and one hand to operate the loader. Most people come up short on available hands, so you end up looking like a mad symphony conductor. It might not make quite so much difference for garden work, unless you plan on getting a tiller. For both tiller and snowblower work the infinite speed adjustment and extreme slow creep speed of the HST are very useful. If you were mowing long rows in a large field, the gear tractor would be great; on 5 acres you'll have plenty of start and stop, slow down and speed up. Again, that's what HST does best. Do you drop dead need it? Of course not. But you'll get the work done faster on your 5 acres if you had it. Again, your preference, but something to think about.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    652
    Location
    Quebec
    Tractor
    Kubota MX 5000

    Default Re: what compact tractor will serve us best?

    Great advise from Grandad4 (as usual) but like you Debp I prefer gear, sure HST will make some tasks faster and more productive , thats if you are in a big hurry to save a few seconds here and there.

    But they also cost more upfront, they add components and maintenance, they also rob power from the engine and make an annoying whine.

  6. #6
    Super Star Member IslandTractor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    15,994
    Location
    Prudence Island, RI
    Tractor
    2007 Kioti DK40se HST, Woods BH

    Default Re: what compact tractor will serve us best?

    Quote Originally Posted by DieselnHooters View Post
    Great advise from Grandad4 (as usual) but like you Debp I prefer gear, sure HST will make some tasks faster and more productive , thats if you are in a big hurry to save a few seconds here and there.

    But they also cost more upfront, they add components and maintenance, they also rob power from the engine and make an annoying whine.
    HST does cost more but really doesn't have any more maintenance than a gear other than an extra fluid change every several hundred hours. For the type of tasks the OP outlined, I'd certainly want HST even though we all recognize that gear can do it too.

    I also agree with Granddad4 on tractor size. All of the tasks could be done effectively with even a 20hp tractor and the biggest task is the snow removal. If that is with a plow then given the light snow in the Rockies even a 20hp tractor with appropriate traction and ballast should be able to move it easily. If you are using a 3PT snowblower then more HP would be good. I tend to like heavier tractors than kubota/JD as those are often optimized for lawn mowing and light weight is not an advantage for anything else. The MF sounds good and I would not worry about distance to the nearest dealer. My Kioti is now six years old and I haven't needed to take it to a dealer once (good thing as my dealer is 300 miles away).

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    28
    Location
    Durango, CO
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400

    Default Re: what compact tractor will serve us best?

    Baby Grand, thanks for personal note of welcome. You should come ride the Durango-Silverton. I love the train, especially the sounds, the smoke a little less. We splurged on this beautiful spot, thus the budget for tractor is a little tight. My husband says new is a good investment, especially since we don't know how to fix anything at this point.

    Thanks for all the thoughtful answers. Especially good to realize that 3 hands are needed without an HST. We have been looking at tractors and researching the specs, but clearly next step is to operate the ones we are considering. Just to answer the questions -- the lot is fairly level. It's steepest slope is maybe 3%. The neighbors generally agree that snowblowers don't work very well, except on small areas. The biggest ditch probably needs to be about 1 foot by 2 foot.
    Another note: Some of the site is VERY rocky just below the surface- previous owners blasted larger surface rocks so that they could use a close mower, but we do not aspire to anything near a lawn. We think we can squeeze fruit trees between the rocks in that area (it was an orchard until the 1950s), but that may mean the need for some smaller ditches through rocky areas. We hired a local guy with a L3400 to pull in ditches last summer, and one he pulled through a rocky area will need to be a little deeper.

    How important is it for the dealership to be close by? We only have kubota, NH and JD within an hour and the NH dealer doesn't have many (any?) compacts. There are some good deals on the MF1529 (packages or not) from large Great Plains dealerships, and they deliver and still have a competitive price, but there are no nearby MF dealerships. The local Kubota dealership has a lot for the 5-acre landowner, including rental equipment, but they are asking $19,500 for the L3200 with HST and Kubota loader. They take $1000 off for cash and another $1000 off with Ansung loader. That brings them down to what the dealership in OK charge for the MF1529 with a trailer and 5' brushog and box blade. These prices include the rebates on both MF and Kubota until the end of the month.

    I'm very thankful for this forum. We are talking to neighbors, too, of course, but there is a lot of diverse knowledge offered generously at this site.

    debp

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    28
    Location
    Durango, CO
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400

    Default Re: what compact tractor will serve us best?

    Thanks DieselNHooters and Island Tractor. Wrote my reply before I saw yours. Snow is rarely dry and light here - hence the advice we get against snowblower.
    debp

  9. #9
    Veteran Member vtsnowedin's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
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    Default Re: what compact tractor will serve us best?

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandTractor View Post
    I tend to like heavier tractors than kubota/JD as those are often optimized for lawn mowing and light weight is not an advantage for anything else.
    That made me snort coffee out my nose. JD makes tractors up to 30,000 lbs. Just pick the one you want.

  10. #10
    Super Star Member IslandTractor's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
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    Location
    Prudence Island, RI
    Tractor
    2007 Kioti DK40se HST, Woods BH

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by debp View Post
    Thanks DieselNHooters and Island Tractor. Wrote my reply before I saw yours. Snow is rarely dry and light here - hence the advice we get against snowblower.
    debp
    I guess I wrongly assumed you would have the same snow as in the heart of the Rockies. An angled plow can be sized for most any size tractor so anything in the 20-30 HP range still seems reasonable.

    If you can change your oil you can survive without a convenient dealer. I would favor tractor bang for buck over convenient dealer.

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