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  1. #1

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    Sep 2004
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    Illinois

    Default Neophyte buying first tractor

    I've recently purchased a 16 acre property that my wife and I will be moving a small herd of alpacas and a few horses on to. I've never lived on more than 1/2 an acre and never even had a riding mower. I have just started my research on tractors and would truly appreciate any informed advise anyone would send my way.

    That said, my main uses are for cutting pasture, snow plowing and dragging the pastures.The pastures comprise about 10 mostly flat acres and the driveway is about 300' x 30' at about a 7% grade.

    My accountant told me to buy new because I can write off the whole thing via Section 179 deduction this year. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neophyte buying first tractor

    Tuck, you didn't fill out your profile so I have no idea where you are in terms of climate, snow load, etc. But right off the bat, knock the idea out of your head that you will be plowing snow with a tractor if you get more than modest amounts of snow. It is very slow work trying to get rid of snow with a blade, and using a FEL is also slow. If you get reasonable snowfalls go for a snowblower.

    As for size, I'd be looking for something about 30 to 35hp. I'd also be limiting myself to a dealership that is convenient to where you are living, one that has been around, offers a fully equiped parts and service department, and one that treats you well when you walk in the door.

    As you are a newbie, you need a hydrostatic (HST) transmission, it is easy to learn, and safer to use, especially given your experience.

    As for brands, any of the name brands will do what you want. The minor brands also make good machines so don't discount them, but eliminate any brand that doesn't have the HST transmission. Personally, I use both New Holland and kubota and both are excellent machines. Nobody complains about JD either. 16 acres will give you plenty of work, 30hp is on the small side but will probably do for you.

    I would opt for something just a bit larger than 30hp and a New Holland TC33DA would be high on my list of choices (or its twin sister the Case DX33). They are nice size machines (fairly small) but plenty of power, and featured filled to make your tractoring easier. I don't think you would make a big mistake if you went as large as 40hp. The New Holland and Case tractors use an excellent curved arm loader that has greater capacity than most others, but has the added benefit of having the best bucket visibility of any loader on the market.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Default Re: Neophyte buying first tractor

    Only from what I've read, I'll agree with Bob that you should go with a snowblower for the tractor. We don't get snow here in North Florida very often!
    As for tractor size, I think a good 30 HP or larger tractor will be all you would need. The NH TC30 and TC33D are both good tractors with the TC30 being a more basic, no frills tractor, but quite capable.
    I personally really like the Kioti's, own a CK20HST, and would reccommend the CK30HST with the KL130 loader. The visibility is comparable to the NH, with sloped hood and curved-arm loader, and the tractor has more standard features such as telescoping lift arms and sway bars, a liftable PTO shield for easier hookup, tilt steering, adjustable spring suspension seat, etc. The CK30 also includes the hydraulic valve block and joystick controller at no extra charge for hooking up the front end loader (FEL). You could carry up to a 6' brush mower easily with any of these tractors. I have tried out the CK30HST with loader recently and found it to be VERY capable. My CK20 has, so far, been very dependable with no warranty issues so far at over 200 hours. Good luck in your search and welcome to TBN. John

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Neophyte buying first tractor

    "As you are a newbie, you need a hydrostatic (HST) transmission, it is easy to learn, and safer to use, especially given your experience."

    I agree that HST should be a consideration for a new tractor buyer, or any tractor buyer for that matter. However, I've said it before that HST is no substitute for a trained tractor operator. If a person must have HST as a crutch to operate a tractor, they truly have no business on a machine.

    Having said that, I also agree with Bob that HST probably offers quicker learning curve and possibly a degree of safety. When we purchased a tractor for groundskeeping at the plant that I work at for use by multiple users, many of which had never driven a tractor in their life, we evaluated HST and gear tractors. The HSTs were a little more expensive, but that was not a deal breaker. The real difference was that all of the folks who looked at the tractors, apt users and newbies alike, prefered the mechanical shuttle tractors (we settled on a kubota 3130). What we did do was set up a training course for all operators to take on the proper, safe operation of the tractor. Training, not HST, is what helps to make a new tractor operator safe and productive.

    To say that New Tractor Owner=HST transmission and shouldn't consider any other types is a gross oversimplification. By all means, the potential user should try both and go with which one they prefer, but it seems wrong to say all new tractor owners need HST (do all new car drivers need automatic transmission?

    Anyway, not meaning to stir up a fuss, just seems like gear tractors, particularly shuttle shifts, should get a fair look (and a proponent) as well.


  5. #5
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neophyte buying first tractor

    rtimgray. . . I will first say I am biased toward HST transmission tractors because they are easier to use, easier to learn how to use, and because, especially for a new user, they are safer. I play with antique iron as often as possible and like to restore it, but for my tractors that I acutally use, I pony up the extra money for HST. I can use either, but HST is also the standard type of transmission on many industrial machines, and it is faster to use with a loader and faster to use with a mower if there are lots or twists, turns and trees to deal with. All that said, I am not trying to stir up a Gear vs HST debate. I will easily and quickly admit that any gear tractor can do anything a HST tractor can do, and gear machines are better suited for pulling a plow too. We have a newbie looking for help, and the newbie has a grade to deal with, on hills HST is safer for both experienced and new users.

    Friar Tuck, With 16 acres there is going to be plenty of stuff to work, my thought was that a 33 to 35hp tractor would have the PTO hp to handle an 84" finish mower deck, a 72" rotary cutter, a 72" snow blower and a host of other implements. The TC33 or DX33 I previously recommended is built on a slightly smaller frame than the TC35 / DX35 which may be an advantage IF the property Friar Tuck has includes some tight spaces, otherwise either is fine. Any equivalent brand in that size machine would do the job. I just don't know exactly which size JD or kubota, etc is comparable to a TC35 / DX35 and still offers a HST transmission (but I know both brands do), I do know that in that class of machine (above 33 to 40hp) only NH & Case Farmall offers the curved loader arms, these machines, as well as JD & Kubota also feature flip up PTO shields, extendable lower links, and cushy seats on most machines in that class.

    I see you have added that you are in Illinois, since you have a grade to deal with I'd have to guess you are in the western part of the state, and since you have snow, I'd say maybe Galena area or perhaps somewhere roughly in that general quadrant of the state??? Not a lot of snow over there, but if you are up closer to the Wisconsin line you can get a dumping on in the winter. Anyway, a 60" blower would also do the trick, but you'd end up making one more pass on the driveway to clear it. That might not be a big deal for you.

    Your best bet really is going to be to go out and shop at all the local dealerships, we have several people here from Illinois, if you post what city you are near, someone may be able to direct you to a couple of local dealers who are good dealers.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Neophyte buying first tractor

    "I am not trying to stir up a Gear vs HST debate. I will easily and quickly admit that any gear tractor can do anything a HST tractor can do, and gear machines are better suited for pulling a plow too. We have a newbie looking for help, and the newbie has a grade to deal with, on hills HST is safer for both experienced and new users."

    I'm not trying to stir a debate either, I'm just saying that an HST is not the do-all, end-all to new tractor user safety. They still need to be properly versed in tractor operation and safety. If you feel that HST is safer, that is your opinion. I feel that gear tractors are just as safe, in the hands of a capable operator. If a person is so unsure of their abilities that they have to have HST on the tractor to work on a hillside - they have no business in the seat of a tractor. It is that simple. If they feel that it helps them, so be it, but not that they must have it.

    Having said this, I will no longer seek to hijack this thead in the interest promoting operator training in lieu of HST. If folks feel that HST is as good or better than being a capable, safe operator, then we should spend all the money spent on printing gear tractor manuals and convert them to HST and say "Hey man - you're a newbie with an HST - go tractor, no training necessary" Good luck.

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
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    Feb 2004
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    655
    Location
    Hereford, PA
    Tractor
    LK3054

    Default Re: Neophyte buying first tractor

    Don't let the HST = safety and gears = too hard thing bother you. People contrive various situations in which HST is safer, but I'm sure I could think of a situation where the opposite is true if I cared to try. None of the various gear box designs is hard to operate at all, some people just prefer HST, and that is fine. Look at them both, and recognize that sometimes the HST/gear versions of a tractor may have other diferences as well, so check the literature carefully.

    There are differences between HST and gear, but the most important of them come down to what you like. As Bob pointed out, each can do the same things as the other. They are just optimized for different types of jobs.

  8. #8
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Neophyte buying first tractor

    rtimgray . . . I did not mean to imply that no training is necessary. In fact in other threads I have commented on how dangerous these machines really are. But being an ex-city boy moved to the country, I believe that newbies are better off with HST. Other than a 15 minute training course in the dealers flat parking lot, who is going to train Friar Tuck? Even a HST tractor will require a lot of practice to operate safely.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    S.E Texas
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    Ym1300d-1401D-1601D , 1610D & Massey Ferguson 1020

    Default Re: Neophyte buying first tractor

    Would like to add - The New tractors incorporate all the safety features (guards,ROPS,belts) that will keep you alive. Make it part of your daily routine. Good luck.
    Mark

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Neophyte buying first tractor

    As I've posted many times, most people will get used to, and like, whatever type transmission they buy.
    One of the biggest mistakes I've seen newbies make with gear/shuttle transmissions is that they keep their foot on the clutch, using it to slow instead of finding the proper gear for the job and keeping their foot OFF the clutch. One can really burn up a clutch slipping it in and out all the time to slow.
    In this respect, HST could be better, but anyone can learn to properly gear the tractor and save the clutch. John

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