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  1. #1
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Tracks vs Wheels

    I was talking the guy who has been clearing my land for a palm tree nursery. Basically the layout is about 16 1/4 mile beds 40 feet wide with swales between the beds. I see a long-term issue of keeping the beds from eroding into the swales. So I see me each fall pushing the dirt up out of the swales onto the beds.

    I also have a lot of loose sandy dirt to push around after the clearing and some palmetto stumps to grub up. I also have a few mature slash pine stumps yet to dig.

    I expect to do some mowing and general maintenance tasks, including some posthole digging.

    So I was talking to this professional about tractor capacity and he suggested a bobcat. He said the new wide tracts were great in our sandy soil. And that pushing even very loose dirt with a farm tractor was not very practical.

    I went to the bobcat dealer today got a bad case of sticker shock. They sure had a lot of nice attachments including a six-way adjustable dozer blade and one heck of a grappling root rake.

    I'm wondering if anyone has had head to head experience with tracked bobcat vs. tractor. The other thing was the loader-bucket was really close the operator. I also felt a bit claustrophobic in the seat. Does any one know how high a loader must lift to load a dump truck?

  2. #2
    Bronze Member clundog's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
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    88
    Location
    Adel, Iowa
    Tractor
    Mahindra 2615 HST

    Default Re: Tracks vs Wheels

    For dirt work the Bobcat or other skid steer (after you get used to operating it) will run circles around a tractor, that being said a tractor is more universal and as you stated it and it's attachments are less expensive. As far as loading a dump truck is concerned most skid steers and compact tractors will not lift the loader high enough but it would depend on the size of the dump truck! This is all just my opinion, you'll have to shop around and base your decision off of your needs. One problem I've ran into with a bobcat is when turning the wheels would dig into the dirt worse when it was soft, I'm sure tracks would be worse yet. Try to find a dealer that will let you operate both or maybe you could rent one for a day. Good Luck!
    Erick
    Mahindra 2615 HST

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Birdhunter1's Avatar
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    May 2004
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    1,114
    Location
    Murphysboro, IL
    Tractor
    Ford 3910

    Default Re: Tracks vs Wheels

    Track machine skid loaders don't rip up the ground near as bad compared to skid steer machines, reason being lower ground pressure and more ground contact. A buddy of mine that does concrete work can work on a lawn with a track machine and not hurt it one bit, while a skidsteer will rip it up bad. Track machines are better for loose soil than a skid steer since it has more groudn contact and won't sink quite so much, the tracks don't hold up well on concrete I've heard.

    As for the price yes skid loaders are pricey, older machines are more reasonably priced but if they break down it is also pricey, but like has been said a bobcat will run circles around a tractor doing dirt work. If looking for a used machine that would be able to dump into a dump truck a 773 will dump into a truck and should be able to do most any of the work you want to do. As for the bucket being close to you in the bobcat it is actually kind of nice so you can see everything that bucket is doing, unlike a tractor where you have to often peer to the side to see the bucket. Those bobcat grader blades sure look nice but on the price WOW!

    Not saying the work you want to do can't be done with a tractor, you can do anything with a tractor that you can with a bobcat, just a bobcat's main purposee is to do dirt work and lots of it in a very efficient manner. You said this is for a Palm tree nursery, you can get a tree spade for the machine that is the berries for planting new ones, will you be planting any of these trees?

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
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    Jul 2003
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    1,476
    Location
    SW Indiana
    Tractor
    Ford 1920 4x4 (traded in on Kubota). Case 480F TLB w/4 in 1 bucket, 4x4. Gehl CTL60 tracked loader, Kubota L4330 GST

    Default Re: Tracks vs Wheels

    I have both but not too many hours on the tracked loader. In my hands:

    Tracked loader pros over compact tractor:
    1) Great view of what the loader is doing
    2) Extreme manuverability
    3) great pushing ability

    Tracked loader cons over compact tractor:
    1) horrible visibility other than forward.
    2) fuel consumption
    3) low top speed makes trip to the "back forty" slow
    4) must trailer rather than drive to dealer or short distances
    5) short wheel base (and no pneumatic tires) make for rough ride and difficult grading if loader can't float. Usually operators just back drag.

    With tractors, you have to guess what is going on with the loader on the ground but rear visibility of the implement is excellent. Side visibility is good as well so manuevering around obstacles is much safer if you don't have someone on the ground.

    John

  5. #5
    Super Member
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    Sep 2000
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    6,553

    Default Re: Tracks vs Wheels

    First off, to dump into a dump truck you need 8'-8'6" for the small trucks, 10' will do most trucks. If you're not used to the sight of it, that bucket waaay up there will give you the Willies too!

    I agree with the above posts. Wheeled skid steer, like a bobcat will rip up the ground bad, but cost less than the tracked machines. The track machines like an AVS or the newer ones from bobcat, case, etc are very "industrial". They cost much more to buy, attachments cost 3x and when you need to do maintenance on the tracks, whhooeee brother!

    If you got a track loader, QA bucket, hydraulic post hole digger with 3 augers (9", 14" and 24"), grader blade you are talking some VERY serious money.

    Personally I'd get a mid-size CUT like a kubota 4330 HST with 853 loader (9' 3" lift height) &QA bucket, a Gannon Landscaper box blade, 9' back blade and 3pt PHD. Fill the tires, buy some good chains and you will have very good traction. Oh, and you will have a fair bit of change left in your pocket, too.

    If you want more tractor, then the M series will get you more loader lift weight and height, but they are bigger machines and I don't think they have the HST transmissions.

    It's your money, but it sure is fun to help you spend it! Do we get to play with the equipment when you get it??

    jb

  6. #6
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: Tracks vs Wheels

    I drove up to Sarasota and saw the AVS. I did not get a formal quote but the numbers tossed around were a lot less than bobcat. The controls are very good also. No extra money for joy stick as far as I can tell. The bucket control was on the stick also (bobcat on pedals). I took it in some wet mud (its Florida in summer) and it did not dig in at all as I spun it. I've been driving a rented Cat 930G cab loader. The cab is bigger than my pickup (at least that is how it feels). The cab on the tract loader is very tight and I'm not that big (5'10" 190). It is a weird felling to have all that stuff behind you I picture what it must be like to taxi a plane with the nose well back 30 feet or so. Odd feeling. I have to say the thing was easy to operate. I would definitely get a cab. The concept of a bucket of loose Florida dirt on top my head is not something I want to think about. The other nice thing on the AVS vs the bobcat is the tow hitch. This thing looks like it would pull a monster dump trailer. The sales guy showed me the 85 HP but I think the 50 or 60 would be plenty. The thing fells like driving a stainless steel bowling ball. I am going to get to demo one on the farm. I have a 14 inch old growth slash pine right by the gate. If it pushes it over I think they have a sale.

    If I went kubota it looks like an M is only a few thousand over the L and it is a much bigger tractor. I wish Kubota would let me demo.

  7. #7
    Super Member
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    Sep 2000
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    Default Re: Tracks vs Wheels

    The AVS is a VERY nice machine. Then again, so are the L and M kubota's. It all boils down to what feels right for you. Did you demo or test drive the CASE and JD machines too? It's probably best to at least check them all out.

    jb

  8. #8
    Veteran Member daTeacha's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    Location
    Funk, Ohio

    Default Re: Tracks vs Wheels

    A not uncommon item here in Ohio is a tractor on tracks. They are used in/on soft ground and might be the best (or worst) of both worlds for your situation. JD makes some, and I'm sure others do, too. With your 1/4 mile long rows, a skid steer would seem to be a slow way to get the work done. I'd be looking at a tractor.

    Another option which may or may not work is running a true 4 wheel drive articulated tractor rather than one with front wheel assist and conventional steering.. I don't know how much horsepower you think you need, but the things come in the small size like Steiner 20 hp low lift items up to the monster 300+ hp models with duals or triples at each corner.
    Rich
    300 hours on the DX29, 850 on the JD 240 and too many to count on the Cadet
    Funk, Ohio

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    Jul 2005
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    Location
    lower part of Md.
    Tractor
    JD310, ASV RC-100

    Default Re: Tracks vs Wheels

    Quote Originally Posted by pgflrob
    If it pushes it over I think they have a sale.
    There was a decent article in here about tracked units with specs and MSRP
    http://www.compactequip.com/pdfs/ce_...e_industry.pdf

    IMO ASV gives the most bang for the buck, that's why I bought one.

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