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  1. #1
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    252
    Location
    Lake Charles, LA
    Tractor
    Kioti DK45

    Default Newbie needs advice on tractor selection

    I just bought a 6 acre lot in Louisiana. The lot has no tree and used to be a rice field so it's pretty low and a bit boggy at times (I have to use my 4WD truck to drive on the land after rain). I am contracting someone to dig me a fish pond and use the dirt to build a 225ft x 150ft x 6ft high housepad. I plan to get a tractor with a FEL to do landscape planting and a 5ft cutter for cutting grass. I am pretty handy but have never dealt with tractor before and need advice on what to get. My budget is 8-15K.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
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    Sep 2001
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    2,252
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    MI's Thumb

    Default Re: Newbie needs advice on tractor selection

    With a 5 ft. cutter you would want something about 30 hp'ish. Is that a new word? lol Anywho, with the budget constraints I would recommend something like the Kioti LK3054XS. It isn't hydro, though. It is a mechanical suttle shift transmission. You have to stop and clutch to move between forward or reverse (with the shuttle lever). The main running gear, though, is synchronised so you don't have to stop to change gears. The LK should be able to handle a 5 ft. cutter rather well. I'm not sure you could get something with HST (if that's what you want) that would fit within your budget (well new anyway). I'll give a link to Kioti's website:

    Kioti Tractor

    Their site seems to be having some trouble. You can check it later. I was going to provide a direct link to the LK3054XS, but I can't get to their site. Anyway, mouse over Products and choose Tractors. Then scroll down and click the LK3054XS.

  3. #3
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
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    7,503

    Default Re: Newbie needs advice on tractor selection

    I would look at the 24 to 30 hp classes of compact tractors. Given you said a 5' cutter for cutting grass, I'm assuming you are talking about a "finish mower" if you go as high as 30hp you could go up to a 6' finish mower. In the lower hp range you have a lot of choices. In the smaller frame sizes, and all at about 24hp, you might want to look at JD 4115, Case/Farmall DX24, New Holland TC24 and kubota B7610. If you'd prefer larger & heavier frame tractors, those can be had from Mahindra (28hp) and Kioti (25hp). The chinese made Jinma (sold under various brand names) has a 25hp machine, it typically comes with AG (R1) tires, it will liekly be the absolutely lowest priced new tractor you will find, take a look at the Chinese forum to see what users feel about their machines. From the budget standpoint, the Mahindra and Kioti may be the lowest priced national brands, Kubota is probably slightly more expensive, the John Deere, Case and New Holland will probably be slightly more expensive but as pricing is often VERY regional, you may find pricing to be different in Louisiana. The lightest tractor of the group will be the Kubota, given your very soft ground it might be an advantage to go with a very light tractor.

    Understand that each tractor has its own characteristics and some are better at some things and others are better at other things based on their designs. For a mowing tractor, it is hard to beat a lightweight Kubota, but they not the lowest priced machines.

    As you planning on getting a front end loader then a heavier tractor often has more capacity than a lighter tractor (although that is not always true it is a reasonable generalization).

    If you are planning on running implements like tillers, bushhogs, etc then PTO (power take off) horsepower becomes an issue and you'll want to make sure that you have enough PTO HP to run implements that are wider than the rear wheel width of your tractor. When you wrote a 5' cutter for mowing, if you mean a bushhog/rotary cutter, then I'd go to a 30hp tractor, there are lots of choices.


  4. #4
    Veteran Member
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    Jul 2004
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    Default Re: Newbie needs advice on tractor selection

    Cajunrider

    Welcome to TBN!

    I have a couple questions before making any recommendations.
    How big of a pond are you planning on digging to get that much fill? By volume, I'm thinking 1/2 acre minimum.

    Do I assume you plan on mowing the remaining acreage in its entirety? Will it be "lawn" and the 5' cutter you're referring to is a finish mower?

    The reason I'm asking is although you haven't chosen a tractor, you've pre-selected the mower. If the pond generates only enough fill for the house pad, I'm mentally picturing the remaining acreage as still being very flat and relatively wet. Many of us that have tractors in this size have gotten rid of our RFM (rear finish mower) because when the ground is soft, the tractor leaves ruts.

    If your tractor/loader needs are only for the initial landscaping and then subsequent mowing, I'm thinking you may want to consider getting a used CUT/loader and think about getting a ZTR for the long term.

  5. #5
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    187
    Location
    Upstate NY

    Default Re: Newbie needs advice on tractor selection

    Bob
    I must admit!? I agree with what you say, But I am biased towards Mahindra (Surprise!!!) I would start the search with Mahindra then see how close the other well known tractors come in the price range, The Mahindra is a good/solid tractor and the Company is customer service oriented and my Dealer is one of the best in this area. Having said that, when I first started looking at tractors at my state farm show I saw a Bulldog (made by Dong Feng) Chinese tractor, 38 hp, Koyker FEL, Chinese 6ft Backhoe, for 16,599.
    Great deal, month later went to the dealer(distributor for Dong Feng)70 mi from my home to drive tractor, nice tractor -good ride- almost deal done, then I talked to worker about another different tractor on lot, he said "we are trying another tractor line(Chinese) to see how they sell, asked if they will be selling my tractor two yrs down the road he said
    "" I don't Know, it all depends how the new Chinese tractor line sells". END OF DEAL!
    I guess it all depends on the brand of chinese tractor you pick, and who you buy it from, this is my one and only experience with Chinese tractors. It ain't much and you should go out yourself in your area, you might have a better experience with a Chinese tractor- but its what happened when I was looking.
    What ever you chose "Good Luck"

    Ron

  6. #6
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie needs advice on tractor selection

    <font color="red">
    Bob
    I must admit!? I agree with what you say </font>

    I'm not sure I still agree with what I wrote, because after reading what Brian wrote (bczoom) I think he may have given a much more reasoned answer than I gave. I liked my answer when I wrote it but I admit to not thinking outside the box. I don't like ZTRs on anything other than glass smooth lawns because they can rattle the fillings out of your teeth, but given the potential ground conditions that will be mowed, a ZTR or some other dedicated mowing machine might be a much better choice than a tractor with a 5' mower. Some of the front mount dedicated mower machines might be excellent choices for ground that is as soft as an old rice field.

    As for choice of tractor for doing the landscaping, I think I tried to give a comprehensive answer that was objective.

    Then again, 1 tractor and 1 mowing machine is going to really destroy the budget unless used equipment is given some serious consideration.


  7. #7
    Veteran Member
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    Jul 2003
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    Location
    New Hebron, MS
    Tractor
    MF 1455v 4wd, 1040FEL

    Default Re: Newbie needs advice on tractor selection

    Are you anywhere near me CajunRider? Your land sure sounds like my place! If there is a bayou within reach a few shallow v-ditches to help the water drain off quickly will help a lot after a while. Seems that nothing but rice that I know of likes standing water. It'll slow down sod growth, trees, and everything else in addition to keeping your ground boggy. I'm trying to keep up twenty acres and use the bush-hog to cut about fifteen and a dedicated mower on the rest around the house. Because it's too wet in the spring and I'm to lazy to cut every week my grass gets pretty high sometimes, though I try to cut it at about 10-12". I've never used a finish mower, but just have figured that they wouldn't cut too well with grass that high. The bush-hog does a pretty good job, as I keep it fairly sharp and cut at 4".

  8. #8
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    252
    Location
    Lake Charles, LA
    Tractor
    Kioti DK45

    Default Re: Newbie needs advice on tractor selection

    Thanks everyone for your quick replies. The pond size is 150'x250'. The 250'x150' pad will have a lawn and I have a ZTR from my existing home that I can use for that. For the rest I plan to use a 5ft bush hog. I am planning to dig a shallow ditch a long each side of the lot to allow for draining. Hopefully the lot won't be too wet.

    My search so far brought me a couple quotes.
    Lenar (JiangLing Mfg) LE274-1 (28HP) + Koyker 160 FEL + 5ft bushhog + 5ft box blade + 16ft tandem axle trailer = 13K
    kubota L2800DT, LA463 FEL + 5ft bushhog + 5ft box blade = 14.65K.
    Are those good prices? I am planning to talk to the John Deere people soon.
    I am also told that I may want to spend $450 to upgrade to R4 tires to keep from making deep ruts with the standard Ag tires.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Newbie needs advice on tractor selection

    For a little extra money go with the kubota. You will be happy you did.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member
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    New Hebron, MS
    Tractor
    MF 1455v 4wd, 1040FEL

    Default Re: Newbie needs advice on tractor selection

    I had R1's on my previous tractor (TN65) and went with R4's on this one because of the ag tires cutting the ground up. The R4's definitely help with this, but you don't have nearly the traction. I'm OK with this, as the FEL is always on and generally something on the back that gives more weight but just wanted you to be aware of the tradeoff.
    I'll also recommend a quick-attach system for the FEL from the start. The one I opted for from MF requires removal of two pins to change from bucket to forks, and utilizes the regular pin-type implements. It was relatively cheap and is easy to use. I don't know what's available from other manufacturers, but would think something similar.

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