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  1. #11
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    9,392
    Location
    somewhere usa
    Tractor
    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, L130

    Default Re: to buy a garden tractor or a compact tractor

    Quote Originally Posted by Grandad4 View Post
    My neighbor has a "garden tractor" that works well most of the time on his 2 acres of grass. His place is almost entirely flat. Your place is a) larger and b) far more uneven. Your situation is simply going to overwhelm a "garden tractor", so each mowing will consume many hours of your time, the machine will wear out quickly and dealing with your slopes will be far more dangerous than it should be. The others have provided good advice. Reality check: You need a serious piece of equipment to do your mowing and you need to acquire the skill to operate it safely on your place.

    A "subcompact" is built low to the ground so it is more stable than a conventional tractor, it has a heavy-duty drivetrain and 4 wheel drive to handle your hills without strain, you can equip it with farm-type tires that have more traction than the turf tires on a garden tractor, it has seat belts and a roll-bar to protect you if the worst happens, it has automatic drive (hydrostatic), power steering, cruise control, and other amenities and it has a diesel engine that will last about forever with a little TLC. There are some other ways to go, but a subcompact would get my vote.

    Don't know if all this is what you wanted to hear, but this is an important decision for you. We all want you to make a thoughtful, knowledgeable choice.

    By the way, when my neighbor's garden tractor won't climb out of his one small ravine because the grass is unexpectedly a bit wet, I go over and pull it out with my subcompact.


    While I think a subcompact is a good choice for mowing projects I don't see them as being much more capable than a good garden tractor such as my x749. I think you have overstated the difference between a subcompact and a garden tractor.

    I do feel that a rops and a two range transmission on the subcompact would be good reasons to make it a better choice. If I were to recommend a tractor for this work and slopes it would be a new small compact tractor with two or three range hydrostatic, 4x4, filled tires and wheel spacers. A wide and low stance would be the most appropriate choice imo.

    Those slopes look to be difficult and dangerous for a newbie, I recommend getting some experience before tackling them and it would be advisable to have someone standing by in the clear to get help if needed.

  2. #12
    New Member
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    13
    Location
    Sneedville, TN
    Tractor
    case ih 3230 John Deere 6110 New Holland 3930

    Default Re: to buy a garden tractor or a compact tractor

    5ft. wide 25hp+ should be sufficient. wouldn't recommend R-1 ag tires because they are too narrow and won't hold enough fluid. R-4 industrial are a good stable tire and will last forever, but mud traction is decent at best.

  3. #13
    Platinum Member 3v0's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    520
    Location
    Oklahoma Pan Handle, United States
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2200

    Default Re: to buy a garden tractor or a compact tractor

    With the slope you have to work on I would go with a new or used kubota BX. Then add wheel spacers. It has more then enough power. The BX has a low center of gravity good turning radius and does a good job with a MMM and has a rear PTO if you want to use a brush hog or finish mower.

    They are very dependable.

  4. #14
    Gold Member wcampbell47's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    486
    Location
    Texas Coast
    Tractor
    Kubota 7510 and B3200

    Default Re: to buy a garden tractor or a compact tractor

    I mowed a pasture for a lady who had only a garden tractor. While there I put her on my B3200 for a test run. When she got off she exclaimed that my B3200 was much easier to drive than her Craftsman. With power steering and hydrostatic transmission it is easy to drive. Most anyone can afford one of the new models when they are offered at $0 down, 0% interest for 60 months. You have a new machine with a warranty that will last you a long time. You have been offered good advice on the machine having a low center of gravity and wide stance to be able to negotiate the slope. Wheel spacers move the rear tires out further from the tractor giving it an even wider stance. The wider the better on slopes. Some of the B models may have longer axles that allow for sliding the rear wheels out further without buying spacers.

    Anyone that likes to drive a tractor would be more than willing to show you and walk you through all the pedals and levers. Tractors, unlike cars, go at a pretty slow pace. Start with the lowest gear until you become familiar with the operation. I know several businessmen that find mowing their lawn on a good tractor to be very therapeutic.

    Good Luck.
    Caution: Some of my posts may be politically incorrect.
    Kubota B7510 & B3200

  5. #15
    Platinum Member 3v0's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    520
    Location
    Oklahoma Pan Handle, United States
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2200

    Default Re: to buy a garden tractor or a compact tractor

    A few people have mentioned HP numbers. Tractors with diesel engines have more torque and require less HP to do the same job. I have never heard where a 18hp kubota diesel engine had too little power for mowing. My BX2200 has all it need for FEL work including digging.

  6. #16
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    16,287
    Location
    Missouri
    Tractor
    Kubota, John Deere, Case, Massey Ferguson, Ford

    Default Re: to buy a garden tractor or a compact tractor

    I really can't improve on the advice given so far by the other members, we all have our favorites, but often overlap on our opinions. We own three SCUTs and while they will work for your situation, they would not be my first choice, I would want something on the order of a B Series size tractor or naturally any equivalent in the Kioti, John Deere, Massey etc., I am not stuck on any particular brand especially when buying used.

    On those slopes I would recommend wheel spacers and I personally would not buy a tractor without a FEL which can help when going up and down hills as well as more chores than you can imagine around a piece of land. If you don't get a FEL, you will probably need additional weights on the front. We put fluid in the rear tires of all of our tractors.

    I prefer a MMM for yards, but some like RFM (Rear Finish Mower) and a rotary cutter is very handy on most pieces of land bigger than just a few acres or when mowing infrequently. Debates on tires are never ending and we use Industrial as well as bar/Ag tires, but for the SCUT/CUT we use Industrials almost exclusively.

    As to complexity and maintenance, my wife was initially intimidated by all the lever, she quickly acclimated to them as they aren't really much more complicated than a garden tractor if you stick with the HST. She pretty does all the work the BX's do and can easily drive our L5740.

    It is often a good idea for an inexperienced owner to have someone show them how to work the machine, but some have managed with the orientation from the guy who delivers the tractor and a manual. It is often helpful to rent a machine you think might be appropriate and take your time to familiarize yourself with it just driving around in an open field until you get use to it. I had my wife learn this way so she got comfortable with the feel without worrying about cutting something down or running over something, just concentrating on basics; you will be surprised at how quickly you learn.

    I agree with previous posts, take it slow and you might even want to hire the slope out until you get familiar and comfortable with the tractor, slopes still make me a bit nervous and I've been doing them a long time.

    This won't relate to everything as in all likelihood you won't have draft control etc., but it give you an idea on some of the functions found on tractors and nomenclature.

    "How To" Operate and Drive a Tractor: Part 1 - YouTube

  7. #17
    Gold Member unbidden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    421
    Location
    R.I.
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2660

    Default Re: to buy a garden tractor or a compact tractor

    I'm in agreement with everyone here, you need a sub-compact or compact tractor. By your description your property is similar to mine; I have a BX2660, there is no way I'd get by with a garden tractor. What I like about the BX is I can get into areas that a larger tractor wouldn't allow yet I have the power to do just about everything I need to do. Also with a tractor, the attachments you can purchase down the road are almost limitless. Believe me, there are many attachments you will need and many more you will hope to get in the future.


    Foster Center, RI

  8. #18
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    1,627
    Location
    Piedmont, NC
    Tractor
    Kubota L4610 & BX2230, Farmall Super M, Super A

    Default Re: to buy a garden tractor or a compact tractor

    Quote Originally Posted by jenkinsph View Post
    While I think a subcompact is a good choice for mowing projects I don't see them as being much more capable than a good garden tractor such as my x749. I think you have overstated the difference between a subcompact and a garden tractor.

    I do feel that a rops and a two range transmission on the subcompact would be good reasons to make it a better choice. If I were to recommend a tractor for this work and slopes it would be a new small compact tractor with two or three range hydrostatic, 4x4, filled tires and wheel spacers. A wide and low stance would be the most appropriate choice imo.

    Those slopes look to be difficult and dangerous for a newbie, I recommend getting some experience before tackling them and it would be advisable to have someone standing by in the clear to get help if needed.
    Wouldn't disagree at all about those high-end X series being up to this kind of work. Most of the people I hang out with wouldn't think of those as being typical "garden tractors", though. Maybe I need to start hanging around with a better class of pals.

  9. #19
    Platinum Member 3v0's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    520
    Location
    Oklahoma Pan Handle, United States
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2200

    Default Re: to buy a garden tractor or a compact tractor

    Quote Originally Posted by unbidden View Post
    I'm in agreement with everyone here, you need a sub-compact or compact tractor. By your description your property is similar to mine; I have a BX2660, there is no way I'd get by with a garden tractor. What I like about the BX is I can get into areas that a larger tractor wouldn't allow yet I have the power to do just about everything I need to do. Also with a tractor, the attachments you can purchase down the road are almost limitless. Believe me, there are many attachments you will need and many more you will hope to get in the future.
    Agreed. Given the the OP has hills to deal with the BX's low center of gravity should be a plus. I do not see any advantage in going to a B series. The BX is a real tractor and will outlive the big box lawn and garden tractors by many years.

    If you can swing it get it with the FEL. The uses are nearly endless. And they can be removed and installed in minutes.

  10. #20
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    710
    Location
    Staunton, VA
    Tractor
    John Deere 3038E

    Default Re: to buy a garden tractor or a compact tractor

    I vote for a SCUT or CUT. Excellent idea about talking with your neighbors about their tractor experiences. Do the same for a choice of a good brand. Despite all the bickering about green versus orange versus whatever on TBN, most major brands are good machines. In your case having a good dealer is crucial, so ask about dealers and go with the best. New will get you the best financing, but used is a lot cheaper. I'd also go with a rotary cutter for acres of land. A mower will quickly be worn out and costly. I don't know the slope of your steep areas, but from the picture I would try to just keep tractors off of it. If you have to try, mow it up and down only, and only with your seat belt fastened. Personally I'd consider letting it go back to forest, or planting stuff that will stay low - some kind of shrub or local bush.

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