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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    18
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Tractor
    LX178

    Default Utility Tractor for 21 acres

    Hello TBNers, I bought a 21 acre property and am starting to search for a tractor. Part of the trouble is, there are so many choices out there, and I don't have a strong idea of what I do/don't need, and what size is best for my needs. One thing I have learned, is to buy the best I can afford! I don't have a real budget set yet, but seeing as I bought an 1820s house I am going to be spending time and money lots of other places! That said, I supposed I'd consider $20k my upper limit now which would need to cover my basic needs for this season, which for now would probably be just mowing. I don't mind spending money on implements later down the road (and in fact am looking forward to it), and I'm willing to pay for quality that will last, but there's no sense throwing money away on a tractor that's too big or really more overkill than I need. But, if the consensus is I really need a budget of $30k, then I will just have to save up. I do want to be careful that I'm not spending money on something bigger just for the sake of spending money though (although it would be nice...), I really am just looking to get the most bang for my buck based on my needs (rather than a fixed initial starting price).

    Ok, so here are some details for you. Currently, the property has a barn, a garage, and about 6-7 acres of pasture that are cleared but not maintained. For stuff around the house, tricky areas, the septic and leech field, etc I have a Ariens walk behind mower, so I am set for the more delicate work. And, I have a big 30" Ariens blower to handle what little driveway I have, so snow removal is not really something I'll need to tackle either. I also an JD LX178, which has been giving me a lot of reliability trouble (I got it for free because it doesn't run right; I've gotten it through a few seasons and it really tackled the leaves superbly), but I'm not sure it's up to the job even if it is running in tip-top shape. If I consider that I just want to keep the pasture from getting out of control this season, does it even make sense to try and put the LX178 on that duty or would I be better off selling it before I move? With the 38" deck, assuming I could run at top speed (5 mph?), how long would it take to mow 5 acres? Guess I'll break out the calculator after I finish this post and find out!

    Beyond maintenance, I have some improvements I'd like to tackle. The horse fences are all falling down so I will need to replace those. My rough calculation showed about 1900 feet of existing fence. So, if I do 8 feet between each post, that's about 240 holes to dig. A post hole digger would be great to have. And a way to carry all that wood around. The pasture was previously being used for hay before it went neglected, so I would like to turn the soil and be able to lay down seeds and use it for hay. This would probably be done for about 5 of the cleared acres. Next, the property has a stream running through it. Most of the land up to the stream is cleared, and the rest is wooded. I need to build a bridge to access the rest of my property, the previous bridge was destroyed in a flood. So, it would be nice to be able to do some heavier duty construction, as to be able to build a bridge that can carry at the minimum the weight of horses (which I could do by hand pretty easily), but it would be nice if I could also get the tractor to the other side to help clear trees. The stream tends to flood in the spring, and a lot of the pasture is in the flood zone, so I may want to consider adding some drainage in the future depending on how frequently and for how long the pastures stay wet after a heavy rain.

    Other things to consider are of course dealer access. I searched around for a few of the more common brands, but to be honest I'm not even sure who all the players are. I'm about 25-30 miles from a Deere, Massey Ferguson, Case IH, Mahindra, and I think one other (kubota?). So I have access to a pretty good selection and will be able to go visit the dealers, get a feel for them, and get some seat time (which seems to be more critical than the spec sheet in many cases). I just need some ideas as to what I should be looking for in terms of size and power. At first, I was looking at the JD 1025R, maybe even the combo that comes with the FEL and backhoe attached (though based on my needs, those are not nearly as urgent as cutting). But, I am thinking I would probably be better served by stepping up to the 2000 series for not much more. And then, well, the 3000 series isn't that much more money either, and yeah, wow, the 3520 look pretty good... well, you can see where this is going. I don't know where to start looking, and I don't know where to stop (though the 4000 series seems to be a bit too large). One thing is for sure, I would rather by a little bit too much tractor than too little, so I don't feel I have to upgrade down the road and also for longevity. I generally buy used equipment, but since I plan on making a long term investment here, I am considering buying new, especially if I can limp along with my LX178 for a season and wait until the best time of year to buy (I would assume the end of autumn would have the best deals?). I've been pretty impressed by the JD LX178 when it's been working, but I don't bleed green either. Searching used is hard because it seems model lines and number designations change every few years just to make used tractor shopping more difficult.

    Well, that's a start at least. Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Utility Tractor for 21 acres

    How many horses are you planning on and what type of hay are you going to be feeding? Small squares, big squares or big rounds?

    If you're going to go with rounds or big squares I would give serious consideration to going for a little bit larger used utility tractor than your looking at. Not so much for more hp but for more weight. Hay is not only heavy it sticks out quite a ways as well.

    If you're not stuck on new there are some great deals on late 90's early 00's utility tractors in the 60 plus hp range to be had. They are much better built for the farm related tasks than the smaller machines and will outlast them in the type of work your trying to accomplish even though they already have ten years of service on them or more.

    Now if you're going to be feeding only small bales and don't have any plans on harvesting your own hay (money losing proposition with such small acreage) a smaller tractor might suit your needs and give many years of good service.

  3. #3
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    4,198
    Location
    Murray, KY
    Tractor
    265 MF / JD 310B Backhoe

    Default Re: Utility Tractor for 21 acres

    A 4600 Ford/245-265 Massey Ferguson class of tractor would be nice to have over the next 20 years. If you do not like it but buy it right it may sell in the future for your purchase price or more. Grunt old iron is really handy around a small farm and can set outside just fine if you do not have barns yet. You are talking starting around $7500 for a tractor and bush hog with $10-$12K getting a really nice older rig. The options are many.

  4. #4
    Elite Member
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    MtnViewRanch's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
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    7,387
    Location
    4000\' mountains of Southern California
    Tractor
    Mahindra 7520, Mahindra 3215HST, Case 580 extendahoe, Case 310 dozer, Parsons trencher, Cat D6,

    Default Re: Utility Tractor for 21 acres

    From what I just read, I would look at 40-50 HP machines. Really all of the manufacturers are pretty good these days. So it comes down to what you are comfortable with. I would look at every single dealer within a comfortable driving range for you. Get on the tractors and see how they feel TO YOU. You will find that the Korean tractors, Kioti, LS and TYM are about the best bang for your buck and come with many features std that are additional charges with the other makers. I'm a Mahindra guy myself, have 2 of them, but like all of the different tractors, some just don't fit you for one reason or another, so you look at others that do.

    Good luck and feel free to ask more questions.
    Brian
    Top and Tilt Kits by Fit Rite Hydraulics

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    688
    Location
    Eastern Ontario
    Tractor
    Kubota MX5100

    Default Re: Utility Tractor for 21 acres

    Based on some of the things you want to do, I think at least a 30hp+ is recommended and if you can get into the 40hp+ then that'll be all that much better. As for brands, it sounds like you have several somewhat 'close' to you. I would go to each with a list of the tasks you have and will have in the future, get some recommendations from each dealer, sit on each they recommend and take them for a test drive. You may find a dealer who is a lot more knowledgeable or you may find one of the brands just suits YOU better. Also make sure to talk to the service manager/guy/girl to make sure they are good to work with as salespeople will sell you the world but when things go wrong, you need the service people on your side. Also don't discount the used market as there are a lot of good tractors for sale as this may allow you to get more attachments than going new.
    2011 Kubota MX5100, BH92, BH BB72, Walco Bush Hog and Snowblower, Wallenstein 310 Splitter & Forks

  6. #6
    Elite Member Piston's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
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    2,658
    Location
    Central MA, Lakes Region NH
    Tractor
    Kubota L4610 and John Deere 410

    Default Re: Utility Tractor for 21 acres

    I am going to suggest looking at used tractors. You can get a nice tractor for under 20k. I bought my kubota L4610 for 16 a few yrs ago with very low hours, in great condition. Rather than going out and spending all my money on the tractor, I bought the one I did, and spent the rest of the money on (used) implements that I found over time. I still have under 30k in all my equipment (see signature below, minus the 410) and I have all very heavy duty, top quality implements that would have been many many thousands more if I bought new.

    If I had spent 30 on the tractor, I'd have a really nice tractor, but that's about all.

    Remember, it's the implements that do the work, the tractor just runs them. If you find a good used tractor for a good deal, then buy the implements, you'll be way ahead of the game. Then down the road when you have all the implements you want, you can upgrade to a nicer tractor. That's just my .02 cents.
    Last edited by Piston; 06-04-2013 at 11:16 AM.
    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

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    1,607
    Location
    Piedmont, NC
    Tractor
    Kubota L4610 & BX2230, Farmall Super M, Super A

    Default Re: Utility Tractor for 21 acres

    It's often recommended that you get about one size larger tractor than you think you'll need because your work will almost always involve more than you first anticipated. It sounds like you would do well with a larger-framed compact tractor having 35 - 50 horsepower. If you're unfamiliar with the terminology, that sounds like a contradiction in terms (like "jumbo shrimp"), so let me explain just a bit. These "compact" tractors have smaller physical dimensions than "farm" or "utility" tractors, for better maneuverability doing the kind of work needed in developing and maintaining rural property. They come in a range of sizes from "subcompacts" like that JD 1026R you looked at (too small for your needs, IMO), to some pretty big ones. There are also different combinations of horsepower and weight to choose from.

    It sounds like you'd want a tractor that would handle implements that are about 6 ft. in width., so that explains the "larger-framed" comment... you'd want the size and heft to handle that size implement. Why 6 ft.? A 6 ft. brush cutter, for example, would mow your pasture in a reasonable time and since that size implement is also pretty common, it tends to be more affordable than larger ones.

    As for horsepower, 35 is probably the least you'd want for that size, and it might be a bit underpowered, depending on what you'll be doing.

    Regarding the brands, kubota and Deere are probably the "premium" brands, Massey, Case-IH and New Holland are also contenders, and Kioti and Mahindra are up and coming. They all make good equipment that works hard and lasts a long time, and each has a base of loyal customers. There are differences in the features that become matters of personal preference you'd have to decide on your own. Familiarize yourself with all of them and choose one you prefer, hopefully from a good dealer.

  8. #8
    Elite Member Piston's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    2,658
    Location
    Central MA, Lakes Region NH
    Tractor
    Kubota L4610 and John Deere 410

    Default Re: Utility Tractor for 21 acres

    Grandad,
    As usual, that's an excellent post!

    Jeepcoma,
    Check out this link for a good idea of how long it would take to mow your property. Also, check the second link for some pretty helpful articles in general.
    For your 5 acres you asked about, with a 6' rotary cutter, it would take 1.9 hrs to mow at 4mph.
    At the same speed, with your 38" mower, it would take 3.6 hrs.

    TractorData.com - Mowing with tractors
    TractorData.com - Tractor Articles
    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
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    16,149
    Location
    Missouri
    Tractor
    Kubota, John Deere, Case, Massey Ferguson, Ford

    Default Re: Utility Tractor for 21 acres

    No way I can improve on the information to date, my last tractor was new the one before that used and the one before that new and so on. I bought nothing but used for years and we still have tractors providing good service that are 30, 40 and a couple 60 years old. Hardly any of us use a tractor like a farmer or other professional so a tractor that may only have a short life left running 12-14 hours a day may be sold and will last us a lifetime. If you are uncomfortable knowing good from junk see if you can find a mechanic friend to look at it or I have had good luck trusting my dealer and buying used from him. A reputable dealer can be an invaluable resource.

    The good thing about buying used is you can usually sell it for no loss or a profit if it doesn't work out for you. Nothing wrong with buying new mind you, just consider going both routes.

    I really prefer a 4WD with a FEL, but some get by without it, I like HST for new operators, but others like gears etc., lots of things for you to decide on and we have all been through it. Good luck.

  10. #10
    Elite Member newbury's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    4,622
    Location
    From Vt, in Va, retiring to MS
    Tractor
    Kubota's - B7610, M4700

    Default Re: Utility Tractor for 21 acres

    Let's slim this down
    Quote Originally Posted by jeepcoma View Post
    21 acre property
    budget $20k my upper limit
    mowing.
    the property has a barn, a garage, and about 6-7 acres of pasture that are cleared but not maintained.

    some improvements I'd like to tackle.
    The horse fences are all falling down so I will need to replace those. about 240 holes to dig. A post hole digger would be great to have.
    And a way to carry all that wood around.
    like to turn the soil and be able to lay down seeds and use it for hay.
    for about 5 of the cleared acres.
    I need to build a bridge to access the rest of my property,
    adding some drainage

    maybe even the combo that comes with the FEL and backhoe attached
    I generally buy used equipment, but since I plan on making a long term investment here, I am considering buying new,
    1. Don't get it w/o a FEL
    2. Usually renting a mini-ex is better than buying a backhoe

    If your comfortable with buying used limp with the JD and be prepared to search CL, auctions etc. Also take a long hard look at Messicks and Barlow's, they are quality dealerships who deliver good tractors. Often people find buying from Barlows is well worth the delivery charge.

    I looked for about 2 months in 2009 before I found my B7610, and about 5 months before I bought my M4700 this January. The bargains are out there you just have to be able to look and pounce. You should EASILY be able to get a ride for < $20K.
    Messicks has
    Used Kioti CK30
    a Kioti 2012, 30 Hp.4 wd. Hydro, 72" mid mount mower, Loader, SSL Q.A. bucket, 41 Hrs for $15.9K

    That leaves thousands for implements.

    Good luck
    My rides - '95 Kubota M4700 w/ PEC, LA1001 FEL :'07 B7610, LA352 FEL, Bush Hog SBX 48 box blade, '09 Woods BH70-X w/ 16" bucket and thumb, 3pt pallet forks, Dale Phillips PHD, Jinma 8" chipper, 2 Piranha's, Winco 12KW PTO generator, Howse plow, 5' KK tiller with a 2002 7.3L Ford F350 CC DRW 4x4 and '07 18' Hudson HSE Deluxe trailer - 5 Ton to haul it all

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