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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    22
    Location
    TN
    Tractor
    John Deere 790

    Default Minimum Tractor HP

    Hey guys. We're getting ready to buy our first (probably used) tractor and I've got a question. I tried to search the forums as best I could for an answer before posting but I didn't come up with what I needed, so please forgive me if this topic has been beaten to death before.

    The tractor we buy will primarily be used for preparing and planting wildlife food plots. The property we'll be planting is fairly flat. As far as a tractor would be concerned it's VERY flat except for one hill to make it up if we decide to take the tractor into the "back 40" so to speak. So, considering we're not going to be farming hilly terrain, what's the bare minimum HP requirement in order to pull basic implements like a disk, bush-hog, spreader, and possibly a tiller? The largest field we'd be planting tops out at just below 1-1/2 acres. Also, I know the size of the implements plays a rather large factor here, so let's say we stick to the less massive ones. Like a 4 to 5 foot bushhog and disk and so forth. Since the largest field we have to deal with is under 2 acres the smaller implements would probably be a better choice anyway.

    I've personally set the minimum to look at around 30 HP. A few we've seen for fair prices go around 29 HP (which I consider 30 HP for all practical purposes). Finding one at 35 HP for a good price would be great, but I'm really trying to fit the tractor to the work it will be doing.

    So, would 29-30 HP be enough for the light work I've described? Thanks.


  2. #2

    Default Re: Minimum Tractor HP

    The answer is yes to 29-30 HP being enough for what you describe. In general, a PTO HP of 15 HP is usually enough to run a small brush mower, with 4x4 may be enough to pull a small set of disks, but keep in mind that anything that low HP will take longer to do the same as with more HP. With 30 HP, you should be able to use a 5' or even 6' brush mower, and a fairly good-sized set of disks. I would be sure to get 4 wheel drive capability in this size tractor.
    For PTO implements (tiller, mower), the PTO HP is most important.
    25-30 engine HP should do you just fine with no more than you mention you have to do. I do many of these tasks, on more property, with a 21 HP (15.5 PTO HP) Kioti CK20.

  3. #3
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    210
    Location
    Hawaii - Big Island
    Tractor
    Kubota B7800 / also Scag Turf Tiger

    Default Re: Minimum Tractor HP

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( what's the bare minimum HP requirement in order to pull basic implements )</font>
    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( I've personally set the minimum to look at around 30 HP )</font>

    There are a lot of TBNers doing harder work than you describe with tractors well under 30 HP, and having no problems.

    You probably would be better off with a smaller tractor from any of the leading manufacturers than a larger off-brand costing the same, especially if the smaller one is newer. Newer is not only likely to have less mechanical problems, the newer machines also have more safety features built in (although there are some who feel that some safety features make the machines less functional).

    Spend some time reading threads, and getting to know who is here, and what they are doing with what machines. Compare these descriptions to your situation. Have fun.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Birdhunter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    1,114
    Location
    Murphysboro, IL
    Tractor
    Ford 3910

    Default Re: Minimum Tractor HP

    If you're wanting a good used tractor to do some mowing and your food plots try to find a Massey Ferguson 135, deisel or gas (Z-145 or Z-134 engine). That will be a perfect tractor for what your are wanting to do, they are older but they are very durable and even though they are older many are still in great shape..

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    492
    Location
    southwest Indiana
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2200

    Default Re: Minimum Tractor HP

    Tractors are great. I started my food plots with a walk-behind brush mower and my atv and small disk. Now that I have a tractor I am really getting spoiled. My tractor is only 22 hp but has no problem with a brush hog or tiller. A bigger tractor would be able to run bigger equipment and would get the job done quicker, but then it would probably be too big to mow my yard. Anything from 25 to 35 hp will serve you well, just keep an eye on local classified ads and let your local dealers know what you're looking for. They will give you call when they get a trade-in.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    1,927
    Location
    Home-1+ acres New Hope, TX / 24 acres-Fannin County
    Tractor
    JD 950

    Default Re: Minimum Tractor HP

    We planted our 2 acre plot using one of our guy's kubota (about 20 hp) and a tiller. He had a 4' cutter for it but we never used it. We hauled it 300 miles each way each year to do that. Then the landowner bought an old 8N. We used that with a disc harrow and it did it even faster &amp; better than the tiller and we no longer had to haul it back and forth. The landowner has since bought a slightly larger newer but still old Ford with live PTO. It doesn't take long at all to do that 2 acres, even with the 8N.

  7. #7
    Elite Member thcri's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    4,664
    Location
    Minnesota SE
    Tractor
    New Holland TC29D, 2001

    Default Re: Minimum Tractor HP

    I am assuming you have more than one field that is 1-1/2 acres. You don't tell us how many acres total you have. Based on this assumption I am going to agree with Kiotojohn. The 30 HP range would work great. Others have said 20 HP but in my opinion that is a bit small. Yes you can do it with that size but there is more to life than sitting on the tractor all day long. In other words smaller can do it, it just takes longer. Again this is based on having multiple 1-1/2 acres fields.

    murph

  8. #8

    Default Re: Minimum Tractor HP

    +1

    You didn't discribe anything that couldn't be done and done well with a Ford 8N, a disc and a 5ft hog. A MF35 or Ford 'hundred series' would do it even better, sometimes for a few bucks less.

  9. #9
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    22
    Location
    TN
    Tractor
    John Deere 790

    Default Re: Minimum Tractor HP

    Ah, thanks for the input guys. It's helpful.

    Sorry I wasn't too descriptive about the property. We only have one 1-1/2 acre field and around 5 that wouldn't break 1/4 an acre. The total area we'd be doing runs between 3-5 acres depending on if we attempt to do both the back and front of the property.

    This site's great. I've been trying to find out the answer to that question for a while. One post and it's knocked out. Awesome.

  10. #10
    Platinum Member v8dave's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    617
    Location
    Northern, Calif.
    Tractor
    Kubota 7610

    Default Re: Minimum Tractor HP

    John, nobody made any comments about tractor equipment. I'll throw my 2 cents worth in here. Strongly consider getting a loader with your tractor. Probably one on a quick disconnect, because of your plowing and bush hog work. It will make hauling things around for planting easier and will make land clearing easier. If you plan on buying a wheel barrow get a loader. Just remember to take the tools out before you fill it with dirt/debris.

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