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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Baltimore MD

    Default advice on 2 and 3 family JD CUT's

    My father and I are looking to buy a tractor together. I have suburban rental properties (snow removal, gravel driveway maintenance, light construction) and he owns a couple acres of non-ag fields (mowing, trenching, leveling, materials handling). We're looking at 2-family or 3-family (or similar competitors). Ideally a FEL, MMM, backhoe, and something to drag behind for dirt leveling.
    Can anyone shed some light on features to look for? There are so many options and variations of the models. We ruled out the 1-family as it's a little small and traction would be an issue in snow/ice but any plain English information on the types and options and features would be appreciated much.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Marshall, Va
    1952 Ford 8n, saving up for a new Kubota or Yanmar

    Default advice on 2 and 3 family JD CUT's

    Some folks on here are not fans of the John Deere E series line of economy tractors, but most seem to think the R series are pretty good.

    JD uses a proprietary quick-hitch system instead of the more universal Skid Steer Quick Attack system. This is an attempt by JD to get you to buy their attachments. You may be able to use non-JD attachments using an adaptor.

    Some of JD's lower-end loaders are non-removable, or difficult to remove. You can pay more to get an easily removable loader.

    John Deere uses Yanmar engines. They're very good. Yanmar, a 100 year old Japanese company, is now building entire tractors and they have a new line, the YT series, with removable SSQA loaders. You may want to cross shop the YT235 during your search.

    There are also very good options from kubota and the Korean manufacturers like Kioti, LS, TYM, and Branson. Mahindra is another brand appreciated by many on the forum.

  3. #3
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Piedmont, NC
    Kubota L4610 & BX2230, Farmall Super M, Super A

    Default Re: advice on 2 and 3 family JD CUT's

    The backhoe attachment is a very costly option since it is a large and complex piece of hydraulic machinery. Many people find it is more economical to rent equipment when needed for digging, however we used our backhoe attachment extensively over a number of years and it more than paid for itself.

    I would also recommend getting a tractor with a hydrostatic transmission for the work you've described since HST's are generally more convenient for close-quarters and precise movement of the tractor. They are also easier to master for less experienced operators.

    There are some excellent small tractors available from different manufacturers. Each one has distinctive features that may make it more or less appealing to the tastes of individual buyers, so it becomes a matter of personal preferences. By all means, look at different ones and form your own opinions.

    This is equipment is complex. Configuring it for work and operating it can involve hazards, particularly to new owners just learning the ropes. Even though tractors are ruggedly built, they need proper maintenance to continue working productively. It helps greatly to have a good dealer who will help you choose your equipment, show you how it works and be there for questions, parts or service when needed.

  4. #4
    Elite Member KennyG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    SW Michigan
    John Deere 2320

    Default Re: advice on 2 and 3 family JD CUT's

    You'll have to look carefully at your needs and make a decision. In general you are wise to move up to the 2/3 series since the limited ground clearance and 3 point lift on the 1 series may limit your options. Beyond that, it's a matter of weight/power vs. access to tight spaces and lawn use. I went with a 2 series because I do a lot of mowing and have some tight spots to work in. There are times I would like to have the greater pulling power of a heavier tractor and the faster hydraulics but overall the small 2 series is best for me.

    You will see the same trade offs in any brand. For general use, I think most people are happier with a Hydrostat and R4 tires which is why they are by far the most common.

  5. #5
    Elite Member bigtiller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    central Iowa
    JD 2720

    Default Re: advice on 2 and 3 family JD CUT's

    Quote Originally Posted by Blasternot View Post
    snow removal, gravel driveway maintenance, light construction) and a couple acres of non-ag fields (mowing, trenching, leveling, materials handling). Ideally a FEL, MMM, backhoe, and something to drag behind for dirt leveling.
    I like the 2 family for the MMM, it's lighter and a little more nimble than the 3 family. But it sounds like your mowing is limited to empty lots. That, and the desire to have a backhoe, ups it to the 3 family and I would swap out the MMM for a 3ph rear finish mower, or a rough cut mower.

    If you want a cab for the winter snow, then it is 3 family for sure.

    Life is easier when you plow around the stumps.


  6. #6
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    somewhere usa
    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, L130

    Default Re: advice on 2 and 3 family JD CUT's

    There are a lot of good choices available in many brands. I am more familiar with Deere and would suggest something such as the Deere 3039R for your purposes. That would be enough weight with filled rear tires, three range hydrostatic transmission, good hydraulic flow for fel and other implements and enough horse power to get something done quickly. I would choose the H165 fel with the higher height and lifting capability, add extra remote hydraulics front and rear, quick hitch and telescopic lower links. I would add a three point finish mower, 5' heavy duty box blade and a 6' land plane grader scraper. R4 tires and matching chains for winter use and snow equipment should round out a good set up for your needs. Others have a better idea of the snow equipment you need.

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