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  1. #1
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    162
    Location
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

    Default Tractor comparison checklist

    Hi all

    We are taking ownership of 36 acreage land in late April or early May.

    I do not have any experience with tractors other than talking about them - I used to be a counter person for a parts store.

    I would like to create a spreadsheet that would list all of the options /features that I should be considering so I can make a comparison. Has anyone created such a thing?

    Our acreage runs beside the South Saskatchewan river, we have about 600 yards of river front. The river is about 30 feet below the primary plateau. There is about 20 acres of Alfalfa which we will leave to a renter. We will be having a large garden, grass, lots of loader work.

    After lurking in the background at TBN, I think I need around 30 HP tractor. I wish I could get a cab on the tractor for our cold season but I doubt if I can cost justify the Utility tractor.

    I am also thinking about a new tractor with a warranty. I am understand mechanics but always seem to get in some trouble do repairs. So maybe with a 3 year or 5 year warranty I can get used to the tractor.

    This is sort-of unfortunate with the large number of farm auctions this year. I am detered from buying an auction deal because they generally have a lot of hours and CAT's or UT's go for pretty high value.

    We have a fair number of dealers - JD, NH/Case/Ford, Massey, Kubta, and Montana. Kioti is about 90 miles north.

    Any recommendations will help make a comparison spreadsheet.

    How does the buying process work - Does the dealer give you an initial price, then do we counter a lower price or more stuff. Or does the dealer give you the best price? Is the barter process or not the same with all dealers?

    I notice that Montana has 0% financing, if it is cash do they usually adjust the price?

    Sorry for so many questions.

    Thanks to all

  2. #2
    Veteran Member jbrumberg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    2,073
    Location
    Western MA
    Tractor
    New Holland TC29DA, John Deere 455D

    Default Re: Tractor comparison checklist

    GarthH:

    Welcome to TBN ! I would recommend that you try as many tractors as possible to get a "feel" for both the tractor and dealership. Both are equally important. Most of the Big "3 or 4" offer comparable tractors at competitive prices. Do not make yourself crazy comparing the Sales and Marketing driven "specifications" in the marketing literature. The "data" compares the same variables differently. JD, NH, and kubota (I believe) provide tractor finder softwear that appears to be FEL driven, but will help identify tractor models based on the information you input. I would look at weight, "footprint", ground clearance (some tractors have "soft underbellies") if you have rough terrain, and hydraulics. I would try to get the most HP for the tractor class (I, II, or III). You should give us more information about your intended uses and property terrain. If you intend to use ground engaging attachments I would go with a heavier tractor; if mowing will be your primary use I would go with a lighter tractor. If FEL work is going to be your primary task I would go 4WD, PS, and HST. You will probably get a lot of opinions from the readership. We all want to help you spend your money . Once you get it down to a tractor of interest or two I would "play" the dealers. I warn you they do not often like to play . I will warn you that there is no perfect tractor and there are a lot of HP junkies out there in TBN land. Jay

  3. #3
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Posts
    6,553

    Default Re: Tractor comparison checklist

    Here's a version of a check list,

    If you think you need a 2wd, 25 hp, 2000# tractor you really need a 4wd, 40 hp, 4000# tractor. Post your needs and "check" what everybody "lists".


    Tractor sales guys can be great or they can make you wish you were dealing with a used car salesman with a bad hair hat. Always know as much or more than the sales person before you go in. Never talk money or deals until you are ready to buy. Never take the first offer. Always leave to think it over, on the way out, by the door - look over your shoulder and give a counter that is good for that day only.

    example;

    Stop at the door to put on your coat or new branded hat the sales guy gave you, look at the offer sheet. Start to put it in your pocket, look at it again --> look over your shoulder (with one hand on the door) and say that if the offer was $19,500 and not $22,750 you would buy it, now - today. Assuming you know that 19,500 is a good place to be. If they hemm and haw, let them know that the next day you are going "back to" the competition to get a final look at their tractor before putting your money down.

    One strange thing that seems to happen with sales guys. They may give an email request for quote a better deal than if you go in to the see them in person.


    jb

  4. #4
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    48,737
    Location
    Central florida
    Tractor
    ym1700, NH7610S, Ford 8N, 2N, NAA, 660, 850 x2, 541, 950, 941D, 951, 2000, 3000, 4000, 4600, 5000, 740, IH 'C' 'H', CUB, John Deere 'B', allis 'G', case VAC

    Default Re: Tractor comparison checklist

    Lots of things to consider.

    2wd vs 4wd, power steering vs manual steering. tire type.. most common are turf, industrial and Ag.

    If you are using a loader.. DO get PS.. and deeply consider 4wd.

    Turf tires are kind to grass and soft soils.. however lack traction for heavy digging and pulling. AG tires have significant traction, and are very agressive. Soft soils and delecate grasses will be printed if you use ag's. Industrials are a go-between. better traction than turf.. though not as agressive as an AG.

    Base your tractor size on the size of implements you want.. base your implement size on the types of jobs you will be doing, and how long you want that to take. ( a kubota bx with a 40" mower can mow 100ac..... if you mow day and night continously!! )

    If you already know you don't want to get into mechanical repairs.. then either buy new with a warranty.. or slightly used with a warranty.. or at very least.. slightly used and just out of warranty.. and have a good relationship with the local dealer of that color. You may want to consider staying with a BIG 3 brand.. or a very popular '2nd' brand, and get one with great dealer support... both parts and labor.

    For 30 ac.. I'd say a minimum of 30hp... ( and a max of 100 hp )

    Once you hit the UT / 50hp range.. you will notice that implement cost will rise dramatically. That is.. 5' and 6' implements are 'fairly' reasonable.. however 7-8-9-10-12-15 foot implements can be pretty spendy... So keep implement cost in mind when buying your tractor... You won't be happy about buying a 65hp tractor and using your entire budget.. and then find out that a 12' mower is 6k$ more dollars.. etc.

    Soundguy

  5. #5
    Gold Member psdx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    456
    Location
    London, OH
    Tractor
    Kubota B3030

    Default Re: Tractor comparison checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by GarthH
    I would like to create a spreadsheet that would list all of the options /features that I should be considering so I can make a comparison. Has anyone created such a thing?
    In no particular order, elements for comparison might include: weight (more for ground engaging, less for traversing finished lawns), wheelbase (shorter for tighter turning radius), tire size (affects footprint and pounds per square inch - more psi for ground engaging & less for mowing), horsepower, rpm for rated engine horsepower, rated horsepower at PTO, peak torque & rpm it peaks at, torque at rated engine speed, displacement of engine (more displacement is favorable for a better torque curve), flow rate in gpm for hydraulic system, 3-point hitch control type (position control, draft control, or quarter-inching), flow rate in gpm for power steering, lift capability of 3-point hitch (be sure to compare all at 24" behind lift arms, or all right at lift arm ends to be consistent), maximum travel speed, number of speed ranges, ground clearance, price, distance to dealer, and confidence in dealer's service ability.

    I didn't list the transmission type as an element for the spreadsheet because I don't think you can really cross-shop a gear drive and a HST transmission, or HST/GST, etc. You almost need to decide that up front then limit your spreadsheet entries to tractors with that transmission type. This would be analagous to limiting your comparison to tractors having horsepower in the range that fits your need. For example, there's no point in wasting the time to gather information on a B-series tractor if you need a utility tractor to harvest hay.

    Even though it might not be a spreadsheet item, I would also try to look at the torque curve for the tractors you consider. The John Deere 2320 for example has a torque curve that looks about like an upside down letter U and would be unsatisfactory for me. The JD 2520 and most of the kubota B-series have torque curves that ramp up quickly (from left to right) then drop very slowly (almost linear) as the RPMs increase. To me, this is a very desirable characteristic that you might enter in a spreadsheet as a subjective variable - say a 1-to-5 rating, for example. Good luck with your search.
    Kubota B3030, LA403 FEL, Woods RB72 Back Blade, LandPride GS1560 Grading Scraper, Frontier CA2060E Aerator, Kubota ZD331-72 mower, John Deere x575 & 47" snowblower

  6. #6
    Veteran Member BillG_in_TX's Avatar
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    Feb 2002
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    1,350
    Location
    Texas
    Tractor
    none any longer

    Default Re: Tractor comparison checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by GarthH
    Hi all

    We are taking ownership of 36 acreage ... I do not have any experience with tractors other than talking about them ... There is about 20 acres of Alfalfa which we will leave to a renter ... We will be having a large garden, grass, lots of loader work ... I think I need around 30 HP tractor. I wish I could get a cab on the tractor for our cold season ... I am also thinking about a new tractor with a warranty. Thanks to all
    Garth,

    You don't need a spreadsheet. You need a new kubota B3030 w/cab.
    I've been to Saskatchewan in the wintertime, and you need a cab!
    Bill

  7. #7
    Veteran Member BTDT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    2,209
    Location
    North Texas
    Tractor
    IH M Farmall-propane powered, H Farmall (father-in-laws), Ford 1300 diesel

    Default Re: Tractor comparison checklist

    If your looking for something to spreadsheet, wouldn't that be a manure spreader?
    Praise is not something you do to get closer to God, praise is a response to God being close to you.

  8. #8
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Posts
    6,553

    Default Re: Tractor comparison checklist

    no no no, it's one "i" and not two "e".

    jb

  9. #9
    Super Member 3RRL's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    6,812
    Location
    Foothills of the Giant Sequoia's, California
    Tractor
    55HP 4WD KAMA 554 and 4 x 4 Jinma 284

    Default Re: Tractor comparison checklist

    Quote Originally Posted by BTDT
    If your looking for something to spreadsheet, wouldn't that be a manure spreader?
    LOL...
    Rob-
    ...The Older I get...the Better I Used to be...
    Member of the Month

  10. #10

    Default Re: Tractor comparison checklist

    Here are a couple of suggestions,
    1. Stay with a known brand, NH, JD, Kub, etc..
    2. Dealer support, the brand should somewhat determined by a dealer that is close by. Parts for an odd machine could be a challenge.
    3. If any of the work is in the snow, 4-wheel drive is a real benefit. Cabs are nice, but a cab usually means a larger and more costly machine.
    4. Transmission type - How many different people will be using the machine? Hydrostatic can be easily used by anyone with very little training.
    5. Size??? Smaller machines are less costly but aren't as productive. Larger machines do more work, but are $$$, and as noted previously, inplements also cost more. Taking longer with a smaller machine is not a bad thing unless the tractor is used for a business.
    6. Horsepower?? Very few operations really tax the engine.
    7. Loader, Very nice to have, but keep in mind they are designed for moving material. Heavy digging should be left to a construction machine that is designed for that purpose.
    8. Talk to people who have them, and most important test drive as many as possible.

    Happy Shopping!

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