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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Oct 2013
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    Default What Size Do I Need

    Howdy....I been a visitor to this site for a long time and now I have a question for those much more knowledgeable than I. I recently purchased 3 acres of flat mesquite choked ground and am in the process of building a house on it. I had the pad builder clear only those trees that he had to, and I will selectively clear the rest. I will need to build about 300 feet of fence and plan to have a fairly large garden. I need a tractor to help me with these tasks-brush clearing, plowing ad discing garden, digging post holes, and mowing. The ground is loamy clay with a few rocks. The problem is I only have about $5000 to spend on a tractor. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    26
    Location
    AZ, TX and, OK

    Default Re: What Size Do I Need

    A good sized garden can be maintained with almost any descent tractor (large lawn tractor on the small end of the scale). Post hole digging means a large heavy tractor where I grew up with tough soil. For brush clearing, too small a tractor will make this a tedious task at best.

    With such a tight budget, you are most likely looking at an older tractor with a lot of hours on it. What brands are in common use where you are building your house?

  3. #3
    New Member
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    Oct 2013
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    TX
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    Default Re: What Size Do I Need

    I figured a well used tractor was in order. I see about every brand in my area, from Ford N's, Ford 1000, 2000, etc. Locally there are JD, kubota, Mahindra, and New Holland dealers. I was thinking in the Ford N, Ford 2000, MF to35 size class. Just don't know if they will handle PHD tasks. I would love a JD, Kubota, or Mahindra 30hp, but 20-30k dollars is just not in the cards right now.

  4. #4
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    16,056
    Location
    Missouri
    Tractor
    Kubota, John Deere, Case, Massey Ferguson, Ford

    Default Re: What Size Do I Need

    We have three 600 Series Fords which sell in your price range and Massey Fergusons are also pretty plentiful, I prefer these over the 8N. You might want to check out the "Vintage Tractor Forum" there are lots of TBN members who can steer you in the right direction as to models, features prices etc. We own some old tractors, but my brother does all the mechanic work, so I can't really offer much help.

    Good luck.
    Thread on helpful tractor abbreviations: http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/o...-acronyms.html

  5. #5
    Super Member Gary Fowler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    7,187
    Location
    Bismarck Arkansas
    Tractor
    2009 Kubota RTV 900, 2009 Kubota B26 TLB & 2010 model LS P7010

    Default Re: What Size Do I Need

    [QUOTE=Sid Post;3499955]A good sized garden can be maintained with almost any descent tractor (large lawn tractor on the small end of the scale). Post hole digging means a large heavy tractor where I grew up with tough soil. For brush clearing, too small a tractor will make this a tedious task at best.

    QUOTE]
    I don't know how you guys use a PTO powered post hole digger, but it doesn't take much tractor to power one. Large heavy tractors don't give you any benefit more than small ones. They just turn the auger, no down pressure on 3 PH ones. Hydraulic powered ones that mount on FEL would be nice for very hard soils but they are going to really cost you. Most people now use T post for fencing except for corner /anchor post which you need larger wooden post for. YOU do have to be careful not to let it auger into the ground, lift it up to clear the hole several times and especially in soft clay soil hold it from digging too fast or if will auger in and no tractor can pull it out. I have used them on as small as a 750 JD (19 HP) without a problem. You likely cant use them on the SCUT's like the kubota BX models due to lift height, put power wise, you can get hand held ones with 5 HP engine on them that work fine, they just work the dickens out of the operators (most take 2 people to use.

    As for a tractor within your budget the small Fords might be your best bet. There are plenty of them around and most have good parts supplies. I would look for something with live PTO or at least a two stage clutch especially if I would be using a rotary cutter (bush hog) 861 Fords or the 2000,3000 series Fords can be had within your budget. I would look for a diesel engine if possible as the fuel stores better than gasoline. Even with fuel additives like STABIL, gasoline starts to sour after about 1 month and with all the alcohol in it, it attracts water like crazy.
    2010 LS P-7010C 20F/20R gear tractor & FEL, 2009 Kubota B 26 TLB, RTV 900 Kubota,17 foot Lund boat with 70HP motor, 2012-20 ft 12k GVW trailer, 2011- 52" Craftsman ZTR mower, 2013 Ferris Zero Turn, 3 weed whackers, pressure washer, leaf blowers, 7 foot bush hog, 8 foot landscape rake , 8 foot 3 PH disc, 2 row cultivator, 350 amp Miller AC/DC welding machine and all the tools needed to keep them all repaired and running.

  6. #6
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    6,354
    Location
    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 Size Do I Need

    Something like my 1964 MF135 diesel (45 hp engine, 37 hp pto, gear tranny 6F/2R) would handle all your tasks. I paid $3600 for it in 2006. You can find these tractors locally on Craigslist and on eBay. I bought mine from a seller who used it to mow and disc his olive orchard. The 135 will easily handle a post hole digger (PHD).

    Since your budget puts you in the used tractor category, be sure you check out candidate tractors thoroughly. Does it start easily? Exhaust smoke that persists after the engine is warmed up (white means possible internal coolant leaks in the engine block, blue means oil leaks in to the combustion chambers, black means fuel system problems).

    Check for coolant leaks, engine oil leaks and hydraulic oil leaks around the rear end of the tractor.
    On the 135 there's a weep hole on the bottom of the clutch housing. A few drips of oil is normal. A larger flow may mean problems with engine and/or transmission seals.

    Make sure it works in all gears, that the 2-stage clutch works, that the pto works properly, that the 3-point hitch works correctly.

    Check the tires, especially the rears, for rot, tire valve leaks, rusted rims. Rear rubber is expensive.

    Good luck.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    26
    Location
    AZ, TX and, OK

    Default Re: What Size Do I Need

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Fowler View Post
    I don't know how you guys use a PTO powered post hole digger, but it doesn't take much tractor to power one. Large heavy tractors don't give you any benefit more than small ones. They just turn the auger, no down pressure on 3 PH ones.
    For me it wasn't really about PTO HP. Does the 3 point resist "cork screwing into the ground" when it catches? What happens when you hit a rock or something solid? Does the tractor move under load?

    I've built corrals out of cut up telephone poles and railroad ties. There is a difference in how big and deep a hole you need and what type of soil conditions you have. I've also been around utility trucks with a post hole digger on a boom which worked fine in soft clear soil; I'm not sure they would have worked well around rocky conditions or heavy clay as a couple of examples.

    My friends Kioti has plenty of power but, the 3 point is weak and the tractor weight is too low for how I would use it routinely. A standard utility tractor will work better for the vast majority of situations because of its bigger 'footprint' and weight advantage unless you need to navigate around trees and into corrals and horse stalls.

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