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  1. #1
    Bronze Member Nathan_OR's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
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    Default Beginner needs some advice on size and implements!

    Hi everyone, thanks up front for any help you can offer.

    My wife and I have finally paid off our truck, and are ready to get the tractor we've been needing for 5+ years. We have a 4 acre llama ranch, all flat, on a very gentle grade. About 1/2 acre is in lawn, another 1/2 acre in fruit orchard. It's Oregon (that's OR-ee-gun, folks) so the ground does get muddy, but I don't want to ruin the grass in the winter (I'm planning on R4 tires).

    There are three main things I do every week:
    - muck the stalls out and spread new sand (I do this now by hand)
    - mow the ~1/2 acre lawn around the house and orchard (I do this now with a small White riding mower)
    - knock down the tall grass/weeds in the ~3 acres of pasture, so they don't seed my neighbors hay fields (I do this now with a line trimmer)

    But there are also several other things I want to do with the tractor:
    - pull old fence posts and dig new postholes
    - landscape our back yard, including pretty major earth moving
    - pull around the truck's utility trailer to gather up pruning cuttings and deadfall, firewood, that kind of thing
    - ideally I could also rig a hitch to move around our ~3000 lb gooseneck hitch llama trailer... don't know if this is possible
    - transplant some trees

    Okay so I know this is a lot of stuff to do. What I need to start with are suggestions about how big a tractor to get, and what attachments I should own. I know that to do my main jobs I need:
    - loader
    - brush hog
    - mower (although I'm thinking that due to the orchard trees being low I might just stick with the riding mower for the mowing duty)

    I also know that to get the other jobs done I would need:
    - post hole digger
    - box cutter
    - backhoe

    Alright so my monthly payment max is about $500. If I can get interest free financing for 36 months then I can afford about $18k. I could probably come up with $2k down for about $20k total.

    I know the backhoe is really expensive and maybe I'd be better off renting for that work. But I have to work in small blocks of time so renting can be hard, since you really want to line it all up in one day. Anyway I don't want to tell you guys what I should get because really I'm new to this whole deal of CUTs. I've run my uncle's tractor on his almond farm quite a bit and my grandpa's on his walnut farm so I know that you always want that extra bit of power when you're trying to get work done.

    So I've looked at the JD and kubota selection tools and the are no good. They don't let me say I want to primarily load and mow, but also want to be able to run a real backhoe and pull around a 3k lb. trailer. Also I'm not sure what the deal is with the different lines... JD 2305 vs. 2520 vs. 4210 vs. etc etc and all the Kubota lines. Don't even know how big these guys are... I don't want such a big tractor that I can't get around my orchard with it.

    I guess I want the smallest most powerful tractor that is still built to do real work. I'll be pulling stumps, trying to dig up boulders with my loader, and all that... you know, hicks beat up tractors and all that

    Anyway any tips on where to start, how to narrow my search down, that would be really great. If you think you know just the tractor I should get that's even better.

    Again thanks, I know these kind of questions are hard to answer since there are so many factors you don't know. I just want to avoid making a big mistake spending all this money because I didn't know about some big difference between one tractor and the next.

    Thanks,

    Nathan

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    1,561
    Location
    Central Lower Michigan
    Tractor
    Kioti DK40SE

    Default Re: Beginner needs some advice on size and implements!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan_OR
    There are three main things I do every week:
    - muck the stalls out and spread new sand (I do this now by hand)
    - mow the ~1/2 acre lawn around the house and orchard (I do this now with a small White riding mower)
    - knock down the tall grass/weeds in the ~3 acres of pasture, so they don't seed my neighbors hay fields (I do this now with a line trimmer)
    These three tasks have subcompact written all over them - a JD 2xxx series, kubota B series, etc. Bigger than a riding mower but not really hard work. Question - how wide are the stall doors and do you intend to get the tractor into them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan_OR
    But there are also several other things I want to do with the tractor:
    - pull old fence posts and dig new postholes
    - landscape our back yard, including pretty major earth moving
    - pull around the truck's utility trailer to gather up pruning cuttings and deadfall, firewood, that kind of thing
    - ideally I could also rig a hitch to move around our ~3000 lb gooseneck hitch llama trailer... don't know if this is possible
    - transplant some trees
    Unfortunately these tasks really have CUT or utility tractor written on them - with more hp equaling less time spent. Moving the llama trailer is probably realistic with a larger CUT or a utility, but not with a SCUT. Examples of larger CUT's would be Kubota L4400, L4240 or 4740, JD 4120, New Holland TC40DA, etc. Utilities would be like a Kubota M5040, Deere 5105, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan_OR
    Alright so my monthly payment max is about $500. If I can get interest free financing for 36 months then I can afford about $18k. I could probably come up with $2k down for about $20k total.

    I guess I want the smallest most powerful tractor that is still built to do real work. I'll be pulling stumps, trying to dig up boulders with my loader, and all that... you know, hicks beat up tractors and all that
    Your budget, if you want new, will get you a a really nice SCUT, a smaller sized deluxe CUT, or a larger bare-bones CUT - but without any implements except the loader. Figure $3000+ for the basic implements you listed, not including the backhoe which is pricey.

    In an ideal world I would send you to get a SCUT for routine work and a larger skidloader or loader/backhoe for the heavy work. That's not anywhere close to your budget though. I'll be interested to see what other people have to say. I think you'll need to focus on either the routine tasks or the heavier tasks.

  3. #3
    Bronze Member Highsmith's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
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    84
    Location
    Kingsbury, TX
    Tractor
    Kubota L2350DT, BCS 853

    Default Re: Beginner needs some advice on size and implements!

    I know little about tractors as I am new to this forum myself, but I see Z said what I was thinking.

    IMO, you need 2 tractors, but can afford only one. I think you should go smaller for the many routine things and hire out/rent/borrow for the larger things. Perhaps someone nearby would appreciate use of your SCUT in exchange for use of their large utility/ag with loader.

    Best Regards,
    Highsmith

  4. #4
    Veteran Member hunterridgefarm's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
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    Western NC
    Tractor
    Kubota L3130DT, Kubota L185DT, JD LX277

    Default Re: Beginner needs some advice on size and implements!

    I think the 18K may be the limiting factor on what you can get.

    I would look for a 30ish HP (or 25-35HP)tractor But it may be hard to get 30 HP with loader toothbar, boxblade, bush hog or finish mower for 18K. But talk to the dealer and see what kind of package deal he can give you.

    Do you want gear or hydrostat? Hydro could add $1000-$1500 on to the price of the tractor.

    The interest rates for 4-6 years is not too bad right now and may allow you to add a few thousand.

    Take the $2000 you said you could come up with and look for some used equipment like the box blade and bush hog.

    Hire the back hoe work since they would run you $...4-8K.

    Keep the lawn mower for the lawn and to mow close to the trees. A mid-mount mower is kind of expensive.

    Do you want to finish mow the pasture or bush hog it? How high do you let the weeds and grass in the pasture and orchard get?

    What dealers are close to you besides kubota and John Deere? Do you have a New Holland, Massey, or Kioti dealership close?

    I would go look at several different brands. Drive them and get some kind of pricing so you can see what all you can get for $18-20K. See what each dealer will offer you on a package deal for a 25-35HP tractor. Each dealer should have several tractors in this HP range.

    David

  5. #5
    Bronze Member Nathan_OR's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
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    62

    Default Re: Beginner needs some advice on size and implements!

    Really helpful stuff guys and good questions. I get what you guys are saying about two tractors. Okay so let's assume for now that the loader work, fence work, and pasture mowing (rotary brush hog, not finish mow) are the top priorities. I don't have to drive into the stalls, so I don't need a super narrow SCUT (e.g. the vineyard-style 4100's I've seen). I really want something big enough to handle the post hole digger and eventually have the option to add a back hoe, because I have lots of plans to do dirt work, like a race track, a patio, and pathways all over, plus a foundation for a new barn, etc etc., but that's all a ways down the road.

    So if I'm happy for now with just the loader and rotary cutter, since right now all I really need to do is move stuff around and keep those weeds down, it sounds like I should get a nice mid-sized CUT and loader, and buy a used rotary mower (brush hog type) with cash on hand. Can you guys tell me off the top of your head which JD and Kubotas I should look at?

    25-35 HP includes the JD 2550 all the way up to the JD 3320. Problem is I don't know whether the 2xxx series is really too "light duty", since they do sell a backhoe and all the attachments I'm looking at, I'm don't know what the advantage is of going up to the 3xxx tractors.

    Same for the Kubotas... B or TLB?

    I also don't know what ballpark of MSRP to look at... can I assume I can talk my dealer down 10% off MSRP on a CUT + loader? 20% off?

    I don't know of any NH or MF dealers nearby but if there is one I should definitely look at in the price range we're talking about, I can find one farther away and go look.

    Thanks again this is really helping me to go from 20+ model lines to less than 5. BTW I've already driven the older JD 4220, loved it, couldn't afford it at the time. Drove a similar kubota, loved it too.

    BTW slightly off-topic, what is "top n tilt" on a loader? Don't they all have bucket tilt nowadays?

  6. #6
    Super Star Member RoyJackson's Avatar
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    Nov 2001
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    Location
    Bethel, Vermont
    Tractor
    John Deere 4400 MFWD, Deere 855D UTV, Z920A Zero Turn Mower and assorted implements

    Default Re: Beginner needs some advice on size and implements!

    I'd look at a Deere 790, New Holland TC-30 and kubota B7800.
    The Deere is gear drive, the TC-30 can be had gear or hydro (gear being cheaper, of course)...I believe the B7800 is only available in hydro.
    The Deere 790 has 27 engine HP with 24 HP at the PTO. The NH and Kubota are pretty close to that. I would not give any time to the Deere 3203. Apparently, you cannot operate the PTO without an operator on the seat. That makes that machine just a big lawn mower IMHO. Make sure any tractor you look at has the ability to run the PTO without someone on the seat (it's an "Operator Presence Over Ride Switch""). If you want to use a post hole digger, you'll want the over ride, most likely.
    I'm not sure if any of these tractors would be sized right for doing the stall work...

    Anyway, the Deere can be had for about $15K including a loader. Make sure the Dealer throws in a ballast box...you'll need it for the loader. That $15K doesn't include taxes. If you operation is commercial, you may get a break on the taxes (check Oregon's laws on that).
    A 60" rotary cutter can be had for $800-$1200 with no problem. As the other guys wrote, keep your lawn tractor for the time being. Yon can look into buying a rear finishing mower ($1500-$2000 for a 60" unit) later.

    As far as tires, Industrials are the most versatile but they load up pretty quick in snowy or muddy conditions. Ag's might be the better choice, but not good for finish mowing.

    "Major earth moving" is a relative term. None of the tractors are "major earth movers" although this work can be done...it'll take longer then it would with a bigger machine.
    The backhoe would bust your budget...

    Of course, you can always go used. You may save some money (not much on a backhoe rig though) but the interest rates would probably offset some of that.

    And, if you're OK with turning wrenches, you can look at the "off brands" although I'd be very careful about that...Kioti might be the only exception since their dealer network appears to be developing quite well. I would run far away from any of the badge-engineered Chinese tractors! Support for many is non-existant.

    There you go...one more opinion...
    Roy Jackson

    "Any government that does not trust its citizens with firearms is either a tyranny, or planning to become one."
    -Joseph P. Martino

  7. #7
    New Member PMRT's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
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    11
    Location
    MA
    Tractor
    2005 Kubota L3130, HST, 4x4, weighted tires

    Default Re: Beginner needs some advice on size and implements!

    Hi Nathan:
    I have been playing with tractors for only a few years. I really like my current set up. It's a 4wd kubota L3130 with cab, weighted tires, HD loader and a Woods BH9000 backhoe. Everything is a 2005 model. Bought it new. Aside from my wife I love it most. Sometimes I love it better. OK, it's a bit more than you want to spend but you could buy used. There is a rule of thumb about HP per acre. With 31hp at the crankshaft it's got plenty of power. Still, I wouldn't want less. I have made retaining walls, put in 4500 sq feet of grass. This summer I will build a 100 ft rock retaining wall on my 5 acres. I also plow my long driveway in the winter. Funny thing: I am selling the backhoe attachment to buy a new one with a hydraulic thumb........which is the primary reason I am on line. You are probably too far away but if you decide you want a backhoe attachment, this one has only about 20 hrs on it. Not sure if I attached my picture correctly but here's my beaut. It's the most fun a guy can have.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
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    Jan 2007
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    584
    Location
    Manhattan, Kansas
    Tractor
    NH TC45D

    Default Re: Beginner needs some advice on size and implements!

    I would suggest a moderately used(600-1000 hr) New Holland TC35D, with loader. They(2001's) can be had or 14-15K$ if you are patient. The only thing it would be oversized for is mowing the 1/2 acre lawn. The HST on these machines make them significantly more useful for close in work(stall cleaning) than gear machines. This usefullness also translates to safety.

    If you can get a suitable tractor for 15K, you will have enough money to get equipment.

    I have a TC45D, which is a bit more engine and lifting capacity, but the same physical size, and would recommend it to anyone. The 35's are 1-2K cheaper. Other brands like this would also be useful, but I have no direct experience, except on lots, with them. Get the SuperSteer if you can find one(they have the 17LA loader instead of the 16LA). People who don't have it, don't necessarily recommend it, but I find it quite useful(the back wheel can pivot within 1 ft with using steering brakes). With SS, the whole front axle turns, in addition to the front wheels.

    Another option would be a utility tractor like the JD 5105(the alternative that I was looking at). However, you could likely only get a 2wd for your price, and if you have mud, it is probably better to get something lighter in 4WD.

    Have fun looking. I did.

    Chris

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
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    Manhattan, Kansas
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    NH TC45D

    Default Re: Beginner needs some advice on size and implements!

    (the back wheel can pivot within 1 ft with using steering brakes).
    should have been

    (the back wheel can pivot within 1 ft without using steering brakes).

  10. #10
    Veteran Member jbrumberg's Avatar
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    Western MA
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    New Holland TC29DA, John Deere 455D

    Default Re: Beginner needs some advice on size and implements!

    Nathan OR:

    Welcome to TBN ! I would recommend a HST tractor for serious FEL work and mowing your field with a rotary cutter. Geared tractors would be somewhat more effective with heavy ground engaging attachments IMHO. I would keep your White rider mower for your lawn. I have a NH TC29DA (29/23+PTO HP) with a HD 60" QA bucket and a White LT1650 (18 HP rider) which I use to manage my 12.5 sloped and wooded acres.

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