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  1. #1
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    Moretown, VT
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    na

    Default What's the right tractor? 10 acres now; 35 acres later: L3800 vs L3540/3940 or.....

    Hi all, This is my first post (and a long one) having joined the list to better educate myself on the most appropriate tractor for our needs over the long run. I mean that literally, has anyone succeeding in buying a tractor at 50 that met their needs until retirement and beyond? ?r are the seasoned owners getting a good laugh at that one?! I'm trying to be stone cold sober about what I need without either over or under buying. I've learned a lot reading similar posts and responses but thought it wouldn't hurt to throw my hat in the ring.
    The reason for a tractor now is managing our 10 acre home in North Central VT, for general land management, light logging, grading/possibly snowplowing the 1200' steep driveway, and landscaping/terracing for berries n fruit trees. In the longer term, we'll increasingly use it on a 35 acre family property in SW NH - again for general land management, grading/snowplowing, landscaping and construction of small house (all sand/gravel at house site) but with the possibility of small scale farming in the future. This parcel has 11 acres of highly productive hay field (continuously hayed since mid-1800's) and 24 acres of woodlands and grown up former pasture. There are 3-4 acres of prime ag soils on 0-4% slopes, the same again on 4-10% slopes and similar slope breakdown on the remaining productive, but sandy soils. The same farmers been haying/grazing his sheep for almost 30 years and he's going strong in his late 60's but if his son doesn't pick up where he left off I would need to find someone else (not easy) or mow/hay it myself w/my son and brother-in-law etc. I know it would take both a serious commitment and cost a pretty penny for all the equipment and infrastructure (barn, equipment shed etc.) required to make that happen but itš—┤ where we plan to semi-retire/retire and something I've be looking to pass on to my kids and their kids.
    My tractor experience is modest having used my grandfathers 1950 Massey Ferguson some in my teens and more recently my buddy's late 90's L2600 for ~100 hrs logging our property (plus some landscaping). I was amazed what I could do with a 26hp tractor! At the moment I've thinking either the L3800 or L3540/L3940 would be sufficient. I've heard again and again on this list and from friends is when in doubt go bigger but here's where I'd like y'all to weigh in.

    Where is the sweet spot in terms of price point and functionality for what I'm looking to do now while keeping my options open? I can see by the specs that the grand series has a heavier frame/FEL capacity etc. vs. the L3800 and are also more comfortable for ones later years, but is it worth it for 5-25 hrs use a week? Will I want that mid-mount PTO for anything but a front mount snow blower not available on the L3800? Any issues with 3 vs. 4 cylinders other than power? Aside from the huge cost of a cab, how do folks feel that got one and wish they hadn't or didn't get one and wish they had? Is it true you can't add one after-the-fact? I've heard contradicting statements on this point. With a temp range of -30 to 95 degrees up here it's a consideration. The sun shade would be a reasonable compromise and help with sun/snow/rain but also heard it makes it louder somehow? Does exhaust sound bounce off the ground?

    Snow blower vs. blade - thoughts? - We occasionally get some 30" dumps but more often storms are less than 8-14"...of every consistency you can imagine from powder to glop.

    Thoughts on the 7.7 vs. 9 backhoe? Does the 7.7 do 95% of what you want w/lower price/weight ?r bigger is better? Will be moving rocks, digging ditches, removing stumps, landscaping etc
    How about hauling? Can you haul these models with a V6/6500lb towing capacity or do you need a V8 once you add up the trailer, tractor, bucket and backhoe?

    On the cost end, for the folks who ended up with a price 12-15% off list, was that a cash deal or the standard 60 month 0% financing? Has anyone gotten an even better deal with cash up front? Any better time of year to buy like late fall or winter?
    I'd be OK going used but a deal could turn into a nightmare quick and while I'm an engineer brain I'm no mechanic. Only buy used from a dealer once they certify it? ?or roll the dice to save some dough?
    In terms of running costs has anyone kept track of what the average annual maintenance cost is? Is there much of a difference between the L3800 and L3540/L3940?

    OK, I'd better stop while I'm ahead and thank you for your patience with this long question. Regards, Mike
    Last edited by Miguel00; 10-01-2013 at 01:47 PM.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    2,124
    Location
    Fanning Springs, Gilchirst County, North-Central Florida
    Tractor
    Kubota Tractor Loader L3560 HST 37-hp / 5,400 pounds

    Default Re: What's the right tractor? 10 acres now; 35 acres later: L3800 vs L3540/3940 or...

    I drive a kubota B3300SU tractor-loader. Small amount lighter and less powerful than the L3800. Like the B3300SU the L3800 is Kubota all the way....powerful engine relative to weight and has four wheel drive. (4-WD) For many uses this is ample. But if you can afford it, the heavier weight frame, telescoping lower links with pin adjustable stabilizers, superb HST transmission, more comfortable operating station and quieter three cylinder engine is money well spent on a Grand L model. While I have been very happy with my B3300SU, I ASPIRE TO A 'GRAND L'. (As your body ages you will really appreciate the telescoping lower links and pin adjustable stabilizers when mounting implements.)

    The words that caught my attention are STEEP DRIVEWAY and SNOW. You can do light snow removal with the FEL. You can do somewhat heavier snow removal with a rear blade, AKA angle blade. For deep snow you need a PTO powered snow blower. If your driveway is straight, a 3-Pt. mounted rear unit will be fine. If you have to do a lot of maneuvering, you may want a front mounted unit, in which case you will need a mid-PTO to operate it. I hope your driveway is straight. You will need extra power and tractor weight for traction on a steep driveway.

    Many new to tractors want a Backhoe. Backhoes are fine if you use them a lot. Most people play with them quite a lot at first, then not much. Removing stumps is a good reason to have a backhoe....how many STUMPS ?.....how often? Can't let them rot?

    For digging ditches, moving rocks and landscaping projects you may find a Ratchet Rake "Rip and Dig" or a Bucket Solutions "Bucket Spade" ample to your needs and cost relatively paltry $400 while (BIG UPSIDE) leaving the 3-Pt. hitch available for implements. Then you can buy four or five 3-Pt. implements with your Backhoe cost saving.

    Are you (hopefully) going to store your tractor indoors? Heat is not important but humidity control and rodent control is. A cab requires a lot of extra room. Most ROPS will not fold with a canopy installed. Make sure your storage door is tall/wide enough. I keep my tractor-loader, utility vehicle and Wallenstein Chipper inside, with a $300 Frigidaire de-humidifier. I store my "dumb" implements outside under 18 ounce CANVAS tarpaulins.

    In terms of buying: We are in a strange period as all tractors now coming off assembly lines for sale in USA must be compliant with Tier IV emissions strictures. There are a few Tier III compliant tractors in inventory, not many. The Tier iV tractors are generally 20% higher in price. So if you see the tractor you want, buy now.

    THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH A USED, WELL-MAINTAINED DIESEL TRACTOR.

    TWO LINKS:

    Ratchet Rake, LLC - Rip and Dig, All Terrain Rake, Snow Edge, Tractor attachment, Bucket attachment, Loader, Skid loader, Kubota, Skid steer, Landscape rake, Brush remover, York Rake, Harley Rake, Rock Rake, Tractor rake attachment, Construction atta

    Tractor and Skidsteer bucket spade shovel
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -img_0673-jpg   -dsc00048-jpg   -dsc00054-jpg   -img_0469-jpg   -img_0471-jpg  

    -img_0429-jpg   -img_0322-jpg   -img_0581-jpg  
    Last edited by jeff9366; 10-01-2013 at 10:15 PM.
    The word tractor was taken from Medieval Latin, being the agent noun of trahere "to pull, draw".

    Kubota B3300SU; gone but not forgotten.

  3. #3
    Elite Member newbury's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    4,466
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    From Vt, in Va, retiring to MS
    Tractor
    Kubota's - B7610, M4700

    Default Re: What's the right tractor? 10 acres now; 35 acres later: L3800 vs L3540/3940 or...

    You should seriously look at moving up to an M size at the start. There is something to be said about 40+ PTO HP and 1 ton of FEL lift. Especially if you are looking at logging and any ground contact stuff (plowing etc.)

    As far as towing figure tractor about 3,500, FEL 1,100, BH 1,500, filled rears 1,000 - you will need more tow power.
    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, 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

  4. #4
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
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    6,356
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    Northern California-Tehama Co.
    Tractor
    2008 Mahindra 5525, 1964 MF-135 diesel, 1951 Farmall Super A, 1951 Minneapolis Moline BF, 1945 Oliver 60 Row Crop, 1949 JD B widefront

    Default Re: What's the right tractor? 10 acres now; 35 acres later: L3800 vs L3540/3940 or...

    Kubotas are nice tractors--my first tractor was a new 2005 21 hp (engine) kubota B7510HST with the LA302 FEL that I bought when I turned 64 years old. Cost: $12.6K plus tax. I used it for 3 years on my 10-acre spread (flat pasture, relatively fertile soil) and then traded it in on a new 2008 Mahindra 5525 (55 hp engine) with the ML250 FEL. Cost: $19K with triple rear hydraulic remotes and a skid steer quick attach fixture on the FEL arms. I use the 5525 to grow hay (oats) on about 6 acres, just as a hobby and a learning experience. My neighbor has a Kubota L4400 with FEL (6-ft wide bucket) that he bought new 4 or 5 years ago. It's one nice tractor. He grows oat hay on about 8 of his 10 acres.

    Good luck

  5. #5
    New Member
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    na

    Default Re: What's the right tractor? 10 acres now; 35 acres later: L3800 vs L3540/3940 or...

    Gents,

    The note about new tier IV emissions and 20% increase in price has my attention. Will likely put upward pressure on the price of used tractors too...

    For the record, I'm cool w/a used tractor but can't seem to find good websites for used ones in the NorthEast to give me a wide choice to gauge what a good deal is... any suggestions there? I could probably coax my mechanic (a genius w/anything that has a motor) into going on a final check out drive but otherwise I'd be a babe in the woods for anything not obvious.

    Jeff mentions the 3 cylinder being quieter, which is exactly what another buddy said who bought a B2900 vs B3300 for that reason. Seeing as I'm at the L3540(60) and L3940(60) boundary ATM ($3k difference) I'm also wondering how much more economical the 3 cylinder would be? ...it's a factor but I won't let it stop me from getting the right tractor. Newbury makes a point about the M4700 which I'm sure I wouldn't outgrow but will have to research how it stacks up across the board.

    Plowing our driveway in a Vermont winter would be a commitment at 1600' on the side of a mountain - very steep section and one "S" curve but while they'll plow it for $45 a whack I'm holding off. mid-PTO is probably in my future for when they go up.

    Pics of the bucket add-on tools have opened up my eyes to that possibility. How does the cost of a used backhoe stack up to a new one as part of a package at low interest rates? Better to get it now or shop around for used?

    Cab vs. canopy vs. foldable ROPS and storage a very good point I hadn't considered. Is it true you either get a cab now or never? Without indoor storage (yet) a cab seems like a good way to protect operator area...though a shed would be cheaper!

    Got plenty more to chew on. Thanks for the replies guys.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    2,124
    Location
    Fanning Springs, Gilchirst County, North-Central Florida
    Tractor
    Kubota Tractor Loader L3560 HST 37-hp / 5,400 pounds

    Default Re: What's the right tractor? 10 acres now; 35 acres later: L3800 vs L3540/3940 or...

    Quote Originally Posted by Miguel00 View Post
    Plowing our driveway in a Vermont winter would be a commitment at 1600' on the side of a mountain - very steep section and one "S" curve but while they'll plow it for $45 a whack I'm holding off. mid-PTO is probably in my future for when they go up.

    Pics of the bucket add-on tools have opened up my eyes to that possibility. How does the cost of a used backhoe stack up to a new one as part of a package at low interest rates? Better to get it now or shop around for used?

    Cab vs. canopy vs. foldable ROPS and storage a very good point I hadn't considered. Is it true you either get a cab now or never?
    Paying $45 for someone else to snow plow is a bargain if you save buying a snow blower, a cab, paying for your fuel.....and recuperating from a couple colds each winter.

    If you will work in your woods much, I recommend against a mid-PTO. Look under a mid-PTO tractor at the dealer. Mid-PTOs, which are low and face forward, are subject to collecting dirt, brush, and splines being dinged. Connecting an implement PTO shaft to the tractor PTO stub is irritating enough when stub is CLEAN, STRAIGHT, LUBED AND SPLINES UNDAMAGED. Take a look.......

    ( I mostly work in woods with my B3300SU.)

    While aftermarket Front End Loaders and Backhoes are made, it is preferable to buy your tractor with these as OEM equipment with the tractor. Pretty much same story for hard cabs. Some owners have added aftermarket fabric cabs which they are happy with.

    Tractor seats are high and centered so you can see your attachments working. Cabs restrict your sight line. With initial use forecast at 5-25 hours per work, can't you just skip going out in frigid weather? I rarely find it too hot on my open B3300SU in Florida in the summer but I drink a lot of fluids when it is 95-97 degrees and humid, wear a big straw hat and plenty of sunscreen.

    Owners of 100+ HP ag tractors around me almost always have air-conditioned cabs.....but they are spraying nasty chemicals and, per EPA, must to avoid spray contact.

    Most tractor suppliers offer tractor-loaders and tractor-loader-backhoes as packages. My kubota B3300SU is sold as a tractor-loader package.

    Buying a used FEL or used Backhoe is a bad idea. Too likely worn or damaged from being stressed; deteriorate sitting, no way to check them out off the tractor. Difficult to mate with a different tractor.

    Be concerned about rodents chewing tractor wiring and hydraulic hoses if tractor is left sitting outdoors for long periods. If used frequently, the situation with rodents is a bit different, they will not nest in the tractor. Feed the local feral cat, sparingly, once per day, under the tractor.

    Tractorhouse.com, eBay and Craig's List are three web sites where used tractors are sold. Careful on Craig's List there are many, many scams....and some good deals.

    Are you reading the section SIMILAR THREADS at the bottom of this page?
    Last edited by jeff9366; 10-02-2013 at 07:35 AM.
    The word tractor was taken from Medieval Latin, being the agent noun of trahere "to pull, draw".

    Kubota B3300SU; gone but not forgotten.

  7. #7
    Platinum Member grm61's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
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    502
    Location
    Eastern Washington
    Tractor
    2013 Kioti DK45SE HST Cab

    Default Re: What's the right tractor? 10 acres now; 35 acres later: L3800 vs L3540/3940 or...

    I am going to put in a plug for the the or.....You might also take a look at the DK Series Kioti tractors, they are a very good value for the money. Very strong loader, 2700lbs to full height,properly ballasted.

    I don't know what the tier 4 stuff is like, I bought a new tier3 and am very happy with it.

    I'm 52 I bought this to keep forever, I also treated myself to a Cab model, I really like it, the AC was nice this summer, dust flying, air on recirculate, clean and coolI am looking forward to being warm and comfortable and DRY This winter instead of trudging behind the snow blower with the wind going the wrong drection these were taken is shortly after I got it-bills-truck-grandma-christy-058-a-bills-truck-grandma-christy-059-a If you have any inclinations of adding a aftermarket cab later, just get the factory unit, they are really nice.

    I am confident if we move later and have different needs, I will have enough tractor.
    2013 Kioti DK45SE HST Cab, Loaded R4s, KL401 Loader with reversible cutting edge, KB2485 Backhoe with Mechanical Thumb, Everything Attachments 7 foot Deluxe 6 way Value Scrape Blade, Tirechains.com Duo Combo Ladder Rear Chains (If I ever need them)

  8. #8
    Veteran Member
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    Jan 2012
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    1,800
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    Success Missouri
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    Kubota L3800DT, L3750DT Shuttle

    Default Re: What's the right tractor? 10 acres now; 35 acres later: L3800 vs L3540/3940 or...

    I've had a L3800 for almost two years and love it! I don't want or need a Grand L, I like basic and simple! The 3 cylinder is smooth and quiet, more so than the 4 cylinders I've owned and used.
    Don
    Kubota L3750 Hydro Shuttle, 4wd, FEL; L3800 Gear drive, 4wd, FEL
    Husqvarna XP chainsaws 346xp X3, 357xp, 562xp, 359

  9. #9
    Gold Member CanuckPT's Avatar
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    Sep 2012
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    267
    Location
    West Chesterfield, NH
    Tractor
    2011 Kubota B3300SU

    Default

    Hi Mike - shopping for a tractor is half the fun!! I live in SW NH - West Chesterfield. I'm not sure how close that is to where you'll be but I didn't have much luck trying to land a reasonable deal locally. Like Jeff, I have a B3300SU. I bought it from Marshall's Machinery in Lonesdsle, PA. I've had it almost exactly a year. I found it online a 2011 with only 19.6 hours on it!! They were great to deal with & delivered it right to my driveway for no additional cost.

    Sent from my iPhone using TractorByNet
    Kubota BH77 Backhoe with Bro-Tek mechanical thumb & Bro-Tek Ripper Tooth; Loflin 48 inch forks; Bro-Tek 2" rear wheel spacers; StabilWorks custom stabilizers; EA 66" Box Blade

  10. #10
    Super Member 94BULLITT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    7,101
    Location
    Frederick County, VA
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2360 & L4240 HSTC

    Default Re: What's the right tractor? 10 acres now; 35 acres later: L3800 vs L3540/3940 or...

    I would go with a L4240 if you can find it. The new the L60 is out with the tier IV emissions so the L40's are getting hard to find. You may have to check into a L4060. A L4240 or L4060 has the strongest loader kubota puts on a Grand L. The HST+ on the Grand L is really nice. Definitely get a cab, you won't regret it, stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I think a snow blade should be able to handle what you need to do especially if you don't let the snow get real high. You might as well get the bigger back hoe and have no regrets. I have heard it is a beast. For hauling a tractor loader and backhoe this size you will need a 3/4 ton truck. It will probably weigh around 8000lbs. The cab is fairly quite inside. Click the link in my signature to go to my youtube channel. I have some in cab videos of the L4240. The best thing is go to a dealer and try them out. I would shoot for 15-18% off list but I have heard that you can't get as good of a deal in the northeast.

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