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  1. #1
    Bronze Member
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    Crestview, FL

    Default New Guy needs expert advise on tractors

    I am new to this world and am going thru the tractor selection process. I have read as much as I can but haven't really found good comparisons on tractor brands. Here is my situation: 125 acres, 8 acre pond, have about 50 acres in pine (15 yrs old and up) and the rest natural forest and some semi-cleared area. I would like a tractor to clear/prep an area for a house, maintain roads, clear some areas, plant maybe 10-15 acre garden for personal use and sales, mow about 10-15 acres, maintain/work on pond, put up fence, other? I believe I need 4 WD tractor with a front end loader and forks, heavy duty box blade, bush hog/mower, post-hole digger, other (backhoe)? I have been told I need a 70 HP tractor and I have looked at some between 50 and 70 HP. I have no brand loyalty and am open to almost anything except Chinese (unless someone can convince me that these are reliable, maintainable, and have good dealerships--from what I have read this isn't the case). I have personally looked at Mahindra, kubota, MF. From what I have read and seen, the Mahindra is heavier and can lift more both w/FEL and 3 pt (so far best price); Kubota is the lightest but by all accounts is a quality tractor; MF didn't impress me and the dealer was the most expensive by far. There are also Deere dealers close and probably others. It seems almost all if not all tractors are made overseas so buying American isn't an issue and that most folks are satisfied w/whatever tractor they have (except Chinese) which doesn't make selection process easy. I want quality, reliability, parts/service availability, and a good price. Ergonomics are important but being new I think I can adapt to most things. I don't want to pay for a name. There are numerous dealers in my area (Florida panhandle). Any good advice is greatly appreciated. If you believe one brand is better than another, please state why. Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    LarryRB
    Guest

    Default Re: New Guy needs expert advise on tractors

    It is advisable to mention just where you live, The reason is, many here can help steer you towards the right tractor and implements in relation to the geographical make up of your area.

  3. #3
    Bronze Member
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    Sep 2006
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    Location
    Crestview, FL

    Default Re: New Guy needs expert advise on tractors

    I live in the Florida panhandle, Crestview to be exact. My land has mostly sandy areas, red clay areas, swampy areas. Hope that helps.

  4. #4
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
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    7,503

    Default Re: New Guy needs expert advise on tractors

    Quote Originally Posted by Blu 82
    From what I have read and seen, the Mahindra is heavier and can lift more both w/FEL and 3 pt
    Just a word of caution, Mahindra is one of the companies that uses "pivot point" and I believe "ball eyes" measurement points for their capacities. The problem with using those points is that they make the tractor look like it will lift more than a comparable tractor from another brand. In fact, pivot point capacities are roughly 30% higher than if you measure at the industry standard 500mm (19.7") forward of the pivot point. The main reason to measure at the 500mm point is because when you carry a load INSIDE your bucket, it is, in fact, carried well forward of the pivot point. So in the real world, you want to know what the loader will lift where the load will actually exist. If you compare Mahindra to either kubota or MF you will see that the Mahindra loader appears to carry more. Sometimes it does when you correct for "pivot point inflation" and sometimes it does not . . . it totally depends on which tractor/loader you compare it to but typically I find Mahindra is actually offering lower capacity than either of the other brands.

    Mahindra use to, and perhaps still does, rate their 3pt at the ball eyes, rather than the industry standard 24" behind the ball eyes. Again, this is a real world issue. When you put an implement on your 3pt, it carries the weight well behind the ball eyes, so the 24" capacity is far more realistic, and far less misleading than a ball eye measurement.

    I consider brands that rate at the pivot point or the ball eyes to be using deceptive and misleading advertising. That is just my opinion, others may disagree. However can you now see that you might have been mislead by Mahindra brochures?

    If you want to "correct" for the pivot point inflation, simply multiply the capacty by 0.70 and that will give you a rough idea of the actual capacity of a load carried at roughly 20" forward of the pivot point. You can do the same to correct for the ball eye capacity inflation since the capacity at the ball eyes is roughly 30% higher than the capacity measured at 24" behind the ball eyes.

    Realize I am not criticizing the tractors, just trying to explain that many of the tractor companies provide very confusing, and potentially misleading, statistics and capacities. You must be VERY careful when you compare specs between brands. The brands that I have found that are consistently most honest in providing specifications are Case/New Holland and Kubota. Massey-Ferguson and John Deere provide some capacities that I consider honest and some that I call into question. The last time I checked the specs on the Mahindras, they published capacities that I would seriously question based on real world uses.




    Snow Trac, the Swedish Snow Tractor, at Wikipedia
    Never insult a man with a bag of dog poop in one hand and a tennis racket in the other hand!

  5. #5
    Bronze Member
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    Sep 2006
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    Crestview, FL

    Default Re: New Guy needs expert advise on tractors

    Bob--thanks for that info, I was definitely unaware of the difference. I will ask the dealer to clarify those 2 specs so I ensure I am comparing apples to apples. The Mahindra dealers I have been to definitely stress that the tractor is heavier than others and can lift more. They do lead one to believe that their tractor is stronger and built "old school" (nothing fancy and built to last with stronger components). They stress that the weight of the tractor is very important to get the torque to the ground and that it is better to have the weight in the tractor/components than making a lighter tractor heavier by adding weight. I asked them about the type of metal and whether it was better/stronger than the lighter tractors but the person couldn't answer (ie a tractor made of lead may be heavier but not stronger than one made of steel). Are most tractors/frames made of cast iron?? thanks, more info helps people like me make an informed investment.

  6. #6
    Bronze Member
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    Sep 2006
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    Crestview, FL

    Default Re: New Guy needs expert advise on tractors

    Bob--some quick calculations using your 70% number shows the following on the 3 tractors:

    Mahindra 6520

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
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    May 2000
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    1,126
    Location
    Badlands of Alberta

    Default Re: New Guy needs expert advise on tractors

    First off I'd suggest not getting too caught up in the spec sheets,only confuse you in the long run. To do what you are asking I'd say go with a mfd tractor with outboard planetary drives,not bevel gear. For brands I'd say look at Valtra,Zetor,CIH-NH,for better bang for your buck. Only seat of the pants time will tell you which one you feel most comfortable with.

  8. #8
    Bronze Member
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    Sep 2006
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    Crestview, FL

    Default Re: New Guy needs expert advise on tractors

    Sorry, hit a couple buttons and it posted before I was finished. Anyway, I multiplied Mahindra #s by 70% and here is what I got:

    Mahindra 6520 kubota M7040 MF 471
    3 pt lift 3570 3307 3212
    FEL lift 2730 2536 don't have #s
    HP 65 68 72
    PTO HP 55 62 60
    tractor wt 7300 4608 6305
    Hyd steering 5 ? 7.1
    Hyd 3 pt 11 11 4.4
    Hyd Aux ? ? 11.2
    Trans 12x12 8x8 8x2 (8x8 opt)
    Turn radius in 153.7 135.6 ?
    F-R shuttle Std Std Opt (std 8x8)

    Initial quote w/FEL
    $26,595 (offers 0%) ? $32,314

    Also above are other specs that are different on the 3 tractors I have looked at to compare. I am not sure how important each spec is since I have never owned a tractor. Many of the other specs are same/similar for the 3 listed. Haven't checked Deere or others but will.

  9. #9
    Bronze Member
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    Sep 2006
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    Crestview, FL

    Default Re: New Guy needs expert advise on tractors

    that didn't quite come out the way I typed it so the 1st # after spec description is for Mahindra, 2nd # is for kubota, 3rd is for MF. Question mark for those specs I didn't have.

  10. #10
    Elite Member
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    Jul 2006
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    4,227
    Location
    South Central OK
    Tractor
    Kubota Grand L-4610HSTC

    Default Re: New Guy needs expert advise on tractors

    Blu82, Sometimes trying to figure what you can "get by with" leads you away from perfectly good or even superior solutions. The cost of ownership of a tractor is not nearly so simple as the purchase price. There is a reason why JD and kubota are so highly acclaimed by their long time users (there are several other good brands as well, just making a point.) If heavy and strong were overwhelming factors then the Belarus would be an ultimate solution because it is a huge pile of cast iron, and really low tech. The good news is that they are repairable (if and when you can find parts) but the bad news is that you WILL be looking for parts. If your command of Russian is rusty or you are challenged by the Cyrilic alphabet that is another hurdle.

    I'm sure there are happy owners of virtually every brand but sticking to the top brands increases youir chances for long term satisfaction. Do you want/need a maint challenge and have to scrounge for parts and devise work arounds?

    Name brands have actuall parts availability, service, and support, not just hypothetical but the real thing. There is a reason why NAME BRANDS are in fact known as NAME BRANDS. They got there on actual performance.

    The cost of ownership of a tractor includes buying, maintaining, and operating it over its useful life. Loss of use while down for a part from somewhere in the world or maybe no longer available is another consideration. If the tractor is just for fun and you'd be just as happy watching reruns on TV then buy the cheapest brand X you can find and it will keep you busy trying to keep it going, if not immediately then in a few years.

    There are lots of quality tractors available. I have owned only one but have sure witnessed the foibles of many friends, neighbors, and acquaintances with brand X. One guy bought a tractor from Atwoods (on price), modified it to operate the clutch by hand as he is paraplegic, and he is down for parts 3 times in 4-5 months. The latest is a broken steering wheel.

    I make no claim that Kubota is superior to other NAME brands. I own a Kubota and have been around others (as well as JD, etc.) It works well and I abuse the heck out of it. I have had to get non-scheduled maint performed due to my use of the tractor. I have NEVER had a parts availability problem.

    I have 160 acres with 10 stocked fishing/stock watering ponds. I have all the implements the original poster listed plus others. I have used it to support building a new house (see Oklahoma Farm House thread at CBN) I use the tractor to log cedar trees up to 36 inches in diameter. I brush hog brush up to 2 inches in diameter and the odd tree up to 4 inches. I don't have a backhoe and can't fit a Kubota hoe because I have a cab but the A/C is worth it. I maintain gravel roads (maybe a mile and a half or so in total)

    I have found a few things that beg for a bigger tractor in order to save time but most tasks are accomplished just fine. I do bring in a dozer or 4 ft bucket track hoe when the job requires. Even a huge tractor would not fit those jobs.

    My tractor is 4X4 and with a standard tranny is 40 HP to the PTO but I am hydrostat and get 39 to thte PTO. There is a trade off in size and power. A larger tractor would have NOT been nearly so useful supporting the house building as you need tight manuvering ability. I find the manuverability of this Kubota to be quite an asset. It has good hydraulics, enough so that you have to do more than weight the rear wheels to use the FEL to its capability. I carry the HD box blade for ballast when doing serious FEL work.

    The hydrostat can not be over rated for a general purpose tractor. If you are row cropping a standard is the right stuff but for FEL and general purpose stuff, even just loading and unloading round bales, the hydrostat on the Kubota is miraculous.

    No one ever complains about their tractor being too powerful or getting the work done too quickly and sometimes I wish I had a few more HP but if it has to come in a larger package, I'll stay where I am.
    Grand L-4610HSTC

    I can't say another tractor isn't as good but I can say over time, all things considered, most folks will be ahead with a name brand. If tractor maint is your hobby, you can disregard a lot of the above.

    If you expect to spend serious seat time in the heat and humidity the cab model with A/C is a wonderful thing. I get more done with A/C because I can stay at it.

    Pat
    Never wrestle with a pig (however titled) as you just get dirty and the pig has all the fun.

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