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  1. #1
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    113
    Location
    North Carolina
    Tractor
    MF 1010

    Default Another first time buyer looking for help

    I'm a total rookie/green horn/noob/etc when it comes to tractors, but have been researching them now off an on for about 6 mo. and bought the book from this site and read up on them some more. I'm looking for some advice on what to look for in size, features, and attachments.

    Here's my situation:
    I have about 3.5 acres of cleared flat pasture and another acre I want to clear (also flat). The overgrown acre I will probably have to clear mostly by hand as it is also my septic field and I really don't want to put any heavy equipment on it (or at least I don't think I do)?

    I just finished mowing the cleared pastures (with my push mower [img]/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img], its now came down to either going through with the "goat plan" or getting a tractor) so they are clear now, but are quickly growing up. I think from what I've read so far I would prefer a mid mount mower. The cleared pasture also has some ruts and rough areas where a previous tractor was stuck. I would like to smooth these out.

    I'm still debating what to do with my fields right now, but things like a small orchard and/or berries are coming to mind. The previous owner had horses so they have a mixture of rye, Bermuda, clover, and fescue on them right now (along with weeds and small trees).

    So for now my big tasks I need to do are:
    1. Mowing
    2. Smoothing/grading.
    3. Hauling/Spreading (compost, mulch, fertilizer, & seed)
    4. Digging up small beds or holes for trees.
    5. Clearing some brush but not much (I can always use my weedeater & push mower [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]).
    6. Maintaining less than 100' of gravel driveway (very light grading & spreading).
    7. Keeping my fence line maintained.
    8. Gardening (intensive gardening and/or green house).
    9. Small to medium tree stump removal (no bigger than 8" diam.).

    Another thing I think I would like to do, but may not be possible with a small tractor is divert my neighbors' pond spillway that floods my fields especially in the winter [img]/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]. The spillway runs right over the middle of my fields right next to the house and makes one heck of a muddy mess. I was thinking if I could drag a ditch to channel the water along the side of the field I might be able to avoid the mess.

    Since I live in NC, snow removal is not a need.

    I'm also thinking ahead after I get a hang of some of this stuff of buying a little more land and growing some stuff on it, but that's a ways down the road.

    Finally I'm a part-timer on all of this, so its hard for me to justify dropping $15k on a tractor, but at the same time I can't see myself dropping 2-3k on one of those dinky garden tractors and not being able to do half the stuff I need (*ahem* want) to do. So I was leading towards used, but after reading over this site, things like ease of use, service, warranty, and new and shiny are awful tempting [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img].

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    260
    Location
    Central IL
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2230, JD 400, AC 190XT

    Default Re: Another first time buyer looking for help

    I just bought my first tractor too. The only thing I can really say is you might as well get used to the idea of spending $15k on this purchase.

    OTOH, maybe you could just buy yourself a $2500 riding mower and hire out the heavy work?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Another first time buyer looking for help

    You could get into a Kioti LB1914 with a front end loader (FEL) for around $11K or so, and a Kioti CK20 with FEL for probably $12,500. These are 20, and 21HP tractors (same engine with differences) and would be plenty to do what you want, ahem, need to do.

    The FEL is almost a necessity any more and you'll find more and more jobs for it than you can even think of right now. Of course, adding a mid mount mower to the CK20 (it comes with a mid PTO shaft) will bring the price up a good bit. A rear finish mower would probably be the better price and is easier to connect/disconnect.

    The LB1914 comes with a mechanical shuttle shift transmission. In other words, choose the gear you want, and then you can change from F/R with a single lever after stopping the tractor first, but not having to shift to another gear.

    The CK20 comes in a hydrostatic (HST) or gear model that is synchronized between 1st and reverse, acting much like a shuttle.

    I use my CK20HST for 2, 4, and 5 acres and it does just about anything I need to do.

    There are quite a few models/brands in this range and most all are good tractors. Check them all out and see what you like. I'm fond of the Kioties because they tend to have more weight in their class than others, and I like the weight for what I do.
    John

  4. #4
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    6,568
    Location
    Sacramento
    Tractor
    Sold the farm, sold the tractors, moved back to the city

    Default Re: Another first time buyer looking for help

    Last May I bought a new 21hp kubota B7510HST with LA302 FEL for $12,600 plus tax = $13,300 approx. Highly recommend the HST for newbies. Makes FEL work a lot easier than with a gear tractor, or so I'm told.

    Added a 4-ft King Kutter rotary mower (aka bush hog, brush hog) for $675 from Tractor Supply Co (TSC).

    Got a 48" KK box blade from TSC ($375) and a middle buster plow/subsoiler from TSC ($135).

    Will probably invest in a post hole digger ($600 with 12" auger) next year when I replace a 1/4-mile of old farm fence.

    I have 10 acres, flat grazing land, 30 trees from an old almond orchard. The buildings, garden, grape/berry orchard and landscaped areas take up about 3 acres so I have 7 acres of weeds to mow with the brush hog.

    Use the FEL and box blade for general grading/smoothing and to dig 6"-deep trenches for 4-ft wide paver block walkways.

    Use the middle buster/subsoiler to dig trenches for 4" landscape drain pipe and for the PVC sprinkler pipes.

    I bought a cheapie Huskee 42" riding mower ($1000 + $180 for 3-year service plan at TSC) to handle the lawn mowing.

    Use a Tanaka weed whacker and a Swisher 2-wheel string mower to mow the ditches and fence lines.

    It's easy to run up a $15K bill for tractor, implements and other stuff if you buy everything new.

    Of course, you can always check out the pre-owned stuff in your area to keep the cost down. But you have to have some mechanical skills to do the maintenance and repairs when you go that route or the labor costs will eat you alive.

  5. #5
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    113
    Location
    North Carolina
    Tractor
    MF 1010

    Default Re: Another first time buyer looking for help

    Thanks guys,

    So just to get an idea by looking at the kubota & Kioti specs, the kind of machine I'm looking at is:

    In the low 20 Hp range (around 60 cu in.)
    PTO around 15 HP
    HST, but I'm not totally opposed to gear, as I will mostly be mowing fairly open square fields especially at first.
    A dual pump hydraulic system with total output around 7 GPM
    A cat 1 hitch and about 1300 lbs lifting power at lift point.

    A question, when I look at the spec, it describes the PTO for the gear models as "Transmission Driven w/ One way clutch" and for the HST as "Live-continuous". What's the difference and is there a benefit to either?

    Another question, it lists 2 different kinds of hydraulic control systems, "quarter inching valve" and "Position control valve". What's the difference there?

    For attachments I'm looking at starting with:
    Either a mid mount or rear finish mower.
    an FEL
    Some sort of box blade

    Right now I'm just trying to get an idea on the size of tractor and the attachments that will fit my needs (*ahem* desires [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]). Then I can start looking at individual features.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Another first time buyer looking for help

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( A question, when I look at the spec, it describes the PTO for the gear models as "Transmission Driven w/ One way clutch" and for the HST as "Live-continuous". What's the difference and is there a benefit to either?

    Another question, it lists 2 different kinds of hydraulic control systems, "quarter inching valve" and "Position control valve". What's the difference there? )</font>

    Transmission driven means just that. The PTO runs off the transmission, so when you push the clutch in, the PTO stops turning. If you had a dual clutch, when you push the clutch half way, the tractor stops moving, but the PTO will continue to turn. Push it all the way, and the PTO will stop.

    With HST, the PTO will continue to run even when you let off the HST pedal and stop the tractor. You can push the clutch on the HST to change ranges and an overrunning clutch will engage to keep the tractor from pushing forward, but the PTO would eventually stop turning if you hold the clutch long enough.

    The live continuous clutch is considered safter because you don't get pushed by PTO momentum.

    The CK20 gear has an overrunning clutch as well so you can't stop the tractor without stopping the PTO, but at least the overrunning clutch will keep the tractor from continuing to move. If you were to need to shift from low range to high range, a quick stop with the clutch will allow time to change the lever without too much PTO stoppage however.

    Position control means that when you set the hitch lever to a certain position, it automatically goes to neutral when you stop moving the lever. This allows precise leveling of the hitch. 1/4 inching means that the hitch moves in 1/4 inch movements, and is not as exact. This can be a little more critical if you are trying to keep your implement right at the same level all the time. 1/4 inch may be more or less than you desire to have, so position control is more desirable. PC also has numbers that you can set to austensibly be able to come back to that same number and have the same level as before at that number.

    A plain 3pt hitch requires the operator to drop the hitch to where he/she wants it, and then move the lever back to neutral manually. This is not nearly as accurate as PC OR 1/4 inching.

    So to sum it up. Live continuous PTO is preferable, second would be a dual clutch system, and last would be an overrunning clutch.
    Position control would be the first, 1/4 inching second and plain 3pt, or non-position control would be third in desirabilty.
    John

  7. #7
    Gold Member proudestmonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    439
    Location
    Cottage Grove, Minnesota
    Tractor
    Kubota BX 2230

    Default Re: Another first time buyer looking for help

    You don't need to spend $15K for what you plan to do, but I doubt you'll be able to do it for less than $13K. I just bought a kubota BX2230, which has a 22 HP Engine, 6.3 gpm hydraulics, about 1,000 lb lift capacity with the standard FEL and I paid $12,000 even (plus tax) for one with a 60" mmm, and an FEL, for an extra $300 and some change, I added a rear ballast box (to even the weight out on the FEL), a front grill, "R4" tires (in between turf and ag tires) and liquid installed in the rear tires (extra weight and traction). If you added a few 3rd party inexpensive implements to the setup I bought (like a box blade and subsoiler at TSC), you'd be able to do everything you want to do.

    If you haven't already checked it out, a bunch of us have written reviews of the tractors we've bought. Some of us, like me, are newbies too, so we are all sort of learning together from those around here kind enough to share their wisdom, knowledge and experience.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    25
    Location
    Mansfield, Ohio
    Tractor
    Kubota L2650

    Default Re: Another first time buyer looking for help

    Welcome to TBN from one newbie to another! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    I too am in the tractor search process and have been for the last 6-9 months. I have similar needs/wants as to what you have listed. I was thinking CUT or SCUT until I stumbled across the Power Trac section here on TBN.

    The Power Trac is an all wheel drive articluated machine that can handle the jobs you have in mind. It has advantages/disadvantages compared to conventional tractors but they offer the PT180 and PT422 starting well below 10K. Final price is really determined by the number of attachments purchased w/ the machine. I could go on further but you'll get considerably more information from the posts on the Power Trac page.

  9. #9
    Super Star Member IslandTractor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    16,029
    Location
    Prudence Island, RI
    Tractor
    2007 Kioti DK40se HST, Woods BH

    Default Re: Another first time buyer looking for help

    PowerTracs can be a great match if the prospective owner 1) is happy to do their own wrenching with some technical assistance from a great group on TBN, 2) likes gas engines (unless willing to spend &gt;16K), 3) can deal with transport charges from WV (about 1.50-2 bucks/mile these days), 4) ready to buy most of the attachments they'll ever need initially to avoid #3 all over again each time you need a new implement. 5) they do not excel at ground engaging work.

    With those caveats, the PTs are great swiss arm knife like tools. If you can work with the PT180 then you can save lots of $$$ but you won't be able to upgrade to a larger machine without replacing all the implements too. The 422 may be the sweet spot financially but many guys opt for the few extra HP and larger frame of the 425.

    Were it not for the transport charges and price increase last summer I would have jumped myself for the 425. Instead I have a Kioti CK20 which I would also highly recommend.

  10. #10
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    113
    Location
    North Carolina
    Tractor
    MF 1010

    Default Re: Another first time buyer looking for help

    Thanks again John &amp; proudestmonkey.

    Tang,

    Thanks for the welcome and the PT tip. After reading up on these, I'm quite impressed.

    Their biggest limitation appears to be in dragging implements like plows, something I predict not to need too much of. It looks like if you were planning on doing a lot of dragging type operations, driving backwards for a couple of hours would get old real quick.

    Also they appear to have a pretty low clearance, but its ability to "oscillate" might help with that some.

    Also their lift height seems kinda low, what's normal for say some of the tractors mentioned earlier? For the PT 425 its only 5'. That's probably not a real big issue for as I have a fairly low little trailer that I use for most of my hauling, but I could see where it could be an issue if unloading/loading a large truck.

    Looks like they would be awesome for mowing or brush clearing.

    IslandTractor,

    Isn't it VA not WV where they are located at? I'm in NC and probably only about 3 hours drive, so that isn't too much of a problem for me (and I drive up that ways anyway as most of my family is from KY).

    What is the advantage of diesel over gas?

    What do you mean by not exceling at ground engaging work?

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