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  1. #1
    Elite Member Piston's Avatar
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    Kubota L4610 and John Deere 410

    Default Single Tractor vs Skidsteer AND mini EX combo discussion

    I've seen a lot of "skidsteer vs tractor" discussions, and a lot of "3 pt backhoe vs. min ex" discussions, but not too many on the pros and cons of having one single good sized tractor, vs having a skidsteer AND mini ex.

    One of the things I rarely use my tractor for (in fact, I could almost say never) is typical farming duties. I have very little field to mow, I have never pulled a plow, and I've never even seen a hay baler in action, let alone use one.

    I mostly use my tractor for woods work, things like logging, clearing land, stump grinding, chipping, making trails, splitting firewood, removing snow, and I'm always using my grapple for numerous things. Many times I find my tractor isn't large enough (or rather, I'd LIKE something larger and more capable). I have read and researched just about everything relating to upgrading my tractor to a new, larger one, so this isn't about that.

    Recently a friend of the family mentioned he would be selling his mini excavator, so I started thinking about how handy it would be to have a mini ex. Then I started thinking more and more about what I do with my tractor that makes me want a bigger one. Well it seems like mostly the FEL lift capacity is the biggest problem. I've read that skidsteers have pretty impressive lift capacity for their size, and also with high flow hydraulics I could get a heavy duty brush cutter that would work a lot better in the woods vs. my tractor and brush hog. It seems like theirs every attachment made that I would ever want for a skidsteer, just like a tractor.

    Rather than focus on only the uses I have for my land and equipment. What are some general ideas from the guys who have used all 3 peices of equipment, or just your opinion in general?

    Would someone who doesn't do any farming, but does a fair amount of large log handling and woods work like I've mentioned, be better served by a combination of a mini ex and skidsteer, or would you rather have a single utility sized tractor?

    I look at things like HD brush cutters, tree shears, and the lift capacities of skidsteers, as well as the incredible amount of work a mini ex can do with a hydraulic thumb and can't help but think that would be one heck of a nice setup
    Kubota L4610 and John Deere 410 - WR Long 64" Grapple (best attachment ever!) QA front forks, rear forks, Brown 472 HD Rotary Mower, Land Pride RBT4096 hydro blade, Woods 7200 Power Rake, homemade 3 pt log splitter, Land Pride rake/blade combo, Land Pride HRL 3578 box blade (Hydro scarifiers), Shaver SC50 3 pt. Stumpgrinder, FitRiteHydraulics TnT, 6" Vermeer PTO Chipper (Hydro feed), Disc Plow, Ratchet Rake, LP HD25 Hydraulic PHD, Woodmizer LT15 portable sawmill
    Rear Remotes Install

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
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    Brampton, On\lot Powassan, ON Canada
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    Kubota B4200\MF 135\Kubota B3200

    Default Re: Single Tractor vs Skidsteer AND mini EX combo discussion

    A lot of people will skid logs with a 4wd tractor, I don't see too many people using a skidsteer. I think it will get old in a hurry crawling in and out of the cab. As well, while I have seen skilled operators do amazing things with skid steers, they seem to do poorly in muddy terrain and I can't imagine trying to go up any kind of slope with one. You should not have too much trouble finding a 4,000 lb tractor that can lift 2,000 lbs. Doubt you can find a 4,000 lb skidsteer that can lift that much. They can't be too comfortable either with such a short wheel base driving in a wood lot. I would rent one for a day. As far as a mini EX. Having a 3PTH backhoe, the ability to pick up the dirt and move it to the opposite side of the machine would be so much better. With a 3PTH backhoe, in typical use you can only dump about 90degrees from where you are digging unless you want to sit sideways to where you are working.
    Unimogdave

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

    Default Re: Single Tractor vs Skidsteer AND mini EX combo discussion

    I couldn't handle the rough ride of a skid steer for working in the woods. Ground clearance is also an issue. You should also price some of the implements like a mower for a skid steer. They get very expensive. Skid steer maintenance, particularly with a track unit, is pricey. Just my 2 cents.

    MarkV

  4. #4
    Super Member
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    somewhere usa
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    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, L130

    Default Re: Single Tractor vs Skidsteer AND mini EX combo discussion

    I like both arrangements but would rather have a compact wheel loader instead of a skid steer. The only thing I dislike about an excavator is the snails pace for moving, other than that they are great machines with a long reach and quick setup. I am starting to lay alot of pipe 12" to 18" size and would be better served to have a good excavator and wheel loader but I am not buying anything until I know I can come out on it. I suspect everyone has the same issue as a valid part of this discussion should be the costs comparison.

    A full sized backhoe has good digging forces and good fel capabilities and if equipped with the IT tool carrier can be a good compromise. The size of the machine would be cumbersome in the woods imo.

    I would want to keep the separate tractors no matter what, way to inconvenient without them.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
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    pa
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    kubota 7040sud

    Default Re: Single Tractor vs Skidsteer AND mini EX combo discussion

    if you want more cap from a tractor then look at used 70 horse power thats what i use i can drag a 40 foot 20'' in diaimeter oak log no problems skid steers are not great at dragging loggs

  6. #6
    Elite Member Xfaxman's Avatar
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    Meridian, OK
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    Bobcat V417 Toolcat 5610 F TORO+Loader

    Default Re: Single Tractor vs Skidsteer AND mini EX combo discussion

    I would recommend a compact telehandler, there are several companys that make them. Most have a SSQA plate that will take all skidsteer attachments. I sold my tractor, a MF240D after I bought my first Versahandler.

    Mine is 6' wide, 7,000 pound drawbar pull, will lift 4500 pounds 17' high. It will push or pull itself out of any stuck situation. I have pictures to prove that!

    I use a 7' brush hog on the front.
    -pa010003-jpg -pa010008-jpg -pa010016-jpg

    Converted three point tree cutter.
    -cedar-tree-cutter-1-7-a -cedar-tree-cutter-1-jpg

    44" Gorilla Grapple, log.
    -p3060002-jpg -p3060007-jpg

    Cedar Tree
    -p3060011-jpg -p3060012-jpg -p3060015-jpg

    72" Monster Grapple, opens 51" high.
    -p3070027-jpg -p3070032-jpg -p8030008-jpg -p8030011-jpg

    72" boxblade on a Tilt-Tach.
    -p4230002-jpg -p4230005-jpg

    72", one cubic yard bucket.
    -p4230015-jpg -p4280039-jpg


    Sorry I got carried away, I have more attachments, but it is such an amazing machine, and I didn't know they existed until I got one about 4 years ago.

  7. #7
    Platinum Member DABSGT's Avatar
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    Connecticut
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    john deeere 855

    Default Re: Single Tractor vs Skidsteer AND mini EX combo discussion

    I have been looking for a John Deere #7 backhoe for my compact for over a year now, as well as checking out other that would fit. after looking at the price I have decided that a mini excavator used of course would be a better option. I just have to convince the wife that I NEED IT!!!

  8. #8
    Elite Member Piston's Avatar
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    Kubota L4610 and John Deere 410

    Default Re: Single Tractor vs Skidsteer AND mini EX combo discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by jenkinsph View Post
    I like both arrangements but would rather have a compact wheel loader instead of a skid steer. The only thing I dislike about an excavator is the snails pace for moving, other than that they are great machines with a long reach and quick setup. I am starting to lay alot of pipe 12" to 18" size and would be better served to have a good excavator and wheel loader but I am not buying anything until I know I can come out on it. I suspect everyone has the same issue as a valid part of this discussion should be the costs comparison.

    A full sized backhoe has good digging forces and good fel capabilities and if equipped with the IT tool carrier can be a good compromise. The size of the machine would be cumbersome in the woods imo.

    I would want to keep the separate tractors no matter what, way to inconvenient without them.
    Hey Steve,
    What's the IT tool carrier for the backhoe?

    I'm slowly seeing the advantage of having two machines. The more I operate the 410 the more I like it. I just wish it was 4wd and had a grapple! I wonder if my current tractor, and implements, paired with a mini ex would be a better setup than a skidsteer and mini ex. I just look at the skidsteers with HD rotary mowers on them and they seem a lot more capable than a tractor, however, I didn't even consider the ride, and ground clearance as some of you mentioned.

    I know I wouldn't be happy with a 3ph backhoe vs. the mini ex, mostly because I end up changing implements a lot, and I'm the kind of person that would leave the backhoe on and "make do" with the 3ph backhoe rather than go through the trouble of changing it out to another implement.
    (I'm assuming not having the use of the 410 due to the difficulty in transporting it).
    Kubota L4610 and John Deere 410 - WR Long 64" Grapple (best attachment ever!) QA front forks, rear forks, Brown 472 HD Rotary Mower, Land Pride RBT4096 hydro blade, Woods 7200 Power Rake, homemade 3 pt log splitter, Land Pride rake/blade combo, Land Pride HRL 3578 box blade (Hydro scarifiers), Shaver SC50 3 pt. Stumpgrinder, FitRiteHydraulics TnT, 6" Vermeer PTO Chipper (Hydro feed), Disc Plow, Ratchet Rake, LP HD25 Hydraulic PHD, Woodmizer LT15 portable sawmill
    Rear Remotes Install

  9. #9
    Elite Member Piston's Avatar
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    Default Re: Single Tractor vs Skidsteer AND mini EX combo discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Xfaxman View Post
    I would recommend a compact telehandler, there are several companys that make them. Most have a SSQA plate that will take all skidsteer attachments. I sold my tractor, a MF240D after I bought my first Versahandler.

    Mine is 6' wide, 7,000 pound drawbar pull, will lift 4500 pounds 17' high. It will push or pull itself out of any stuck situation. I have pictures to prove that!
    Xfaxman,
    That is an incredibly cool looking machine! It looks very capable that's for sure! How would something like that do for grading trails into a hillside? I assume it's pretty maneuverable.
    How much does one of those go for?

    Thanks for the pics! Where are the ones of it stuck?
    Kubota L4610 and John Deere 410 - WR Long 64" Grapple (best attachment ever!) QA front forks, rear forks, Brown 472 HD Rotary Mower, Land Pride RBT4096 hydro blade, Woods 7200 Power Rake, homemade 3 pt log splitter, Land Pride rake/blade combo, Land Pride HRL 3578 box blade (Hydro scarifiers), Shaver SC50 3 pt. Stumpgrinder, FitRiteHydraulics TnT, 6" Vermeer PTO Chipper (Hydro feed), Disc Plow, Ratchet Rake, LP HD25 Hydraulic PHD, Woodmizer LT15 portable sawmill
    Rear Remotes Install

  10. #10
    Veteran Member
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    Hawthorne, FL
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    Kubota L285

    Default

    Xfaxman, does your machine have the side to side tilting body and/or the tilting forks. Ive spent many hours on a Gradall 644 (6,000 lbs lift, max lift 44 ft), but never one as small as yours.

    I think CTL would be great in the woods for your use, but price is high, and impliments can run from $2500 on up to $20,000+ for a 36" milling head.

    A mini ex in the jd35 or jd50 range cant reallt be compared to a 3 pt hoe, the mini will do close to 10x the digging in same time. Once again they can be expensive, and parts arent cheap, but ive never seen a professional landscaper/pipe layer/site man/or concrete guy using a 3 pt hoe.

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