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  1. #1
    Silver Member
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    Mar 2013
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    Harrisburg, PA
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    New Holland TC45DA

    Default Skid steer vs. tractor for hobby farm use

    Normally this comparison is apples and oranges, but going down my list of uses this situation is not obvious. 15 acre horse farm. 3 acres wooded, 5 acres pastured, and 7 acres of buildings, drainage, and grass to mow. Long driveway, almost entirely level ground.

    All mowing will be done with a dedicated commercial mower.

    My chores will be:
    - Clear snow in winter (central PA, so some snow but not lots)
    - Moving / flipping the muck pile
    - Pulling drags around the arenas. Arenas are engineered footing but are somewhat soft so traction needs to be considered.
    - Lifting / moving large square hay bales within an 80' x 35' wide storage building. Mixed gravel floor. Hope to stack them 3 high, each one weighs 1000# max.
    - The odd chore of moving tree branches, moving cut firewood, pulling small stumps, and pulling a few fenceposts.
    - Spreading some stone on the upper driveway every few years.
    - Light dragging to break up the manure piles in the pastures.*
    * This one is more likely to be done with the mower.

    Contrary to many small farms, I will not be cultivating any land or doing serious excavation.

    After some consideration including the fact that a good used CUT with a sufficient loader costs $15k+, and a used skid steer is well under $10k and more compact, I'm re-evaluating the skid steer option.

    Will a skid steer with a bit of ground clearance be suitable for pulling drags around the rings, or may it get stuck? I'm thinking that one major advantage to the skid steer is handling the big hay bales safely with less access space in the building.

    Also, with the compact tractor I was basing the loader capacity assuming I use a bale spear in place of the bucket and using the 500mm offset full height lift capacity. Per recommendations, I'm considering tractors with no less than 1200# rating for this condition. Are the same assumptions valid for the skid steer, or are the lift capacities more robust?

    David

  2. #2
    Silver Member
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    Jul 2011
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    103
    Location
    Billings, MT
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    kubota L3400, Farmall 'A', Farmall F-14, Ford 860, JD 4520

    Default Re: Skid steer vs. tractor for hobby farm use

    My vote is for a medium size skidsteer for everything but dragging a harrow. A skidsteer is so much faster then a tractor and can turn around in its own space. There are lots of attachments that can be used on the loader, including a bale spear. There are still plenty of Farmall "A"s and Ford 9N/8N size tractors around that can be had for little money that would pull a harrow just fine. Just my .02cents.
    Steve

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
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    Jul 2007
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    874
    Location
    WV
    Tractor
    John Deere 1026R

    Default

    A skid steer for 10k is gonna be rough. I'd get a tractor since they are designed to do everything except work in a barn. You may be able to fit a tractor in it anyway depending on how empty it is.

  4. #4
    Silver Member
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    Mar 2013
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    Harrisburg, PA
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    New Holland TC45DA

    Default Re: Skid steer vs. tractor for hobby farm use

    I'm going to need to drag the rings regularly and a mower won't do it. If the skidsteer won't either, I'll need yet another implement for that like a 4wd UTV. Now there is no cost benefit, but it would be an interesting combination:
    Option A: Skidsteer for snow, big bales, loader chores. Mower for mowing. UTV / 4wd golf cart w/ dump bed for dragging rings, hauling stuff around.

    Option B: CUT w/ loader for snow, moving big bales around the property, loader chores, dragging rings. Mower for mowing. Used forklift for handling large bales within the utility building. With this option I can put off the forklift until we get into the big bales.

    Dave

  5. #5
    Bronze Member Chickengrower's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
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    80
    Location
    Arkansas
    Tractor
    JD 5093e, JD 2240, Bobcat 773G, F800 w/ 16' lo pro Chandler bed

    Default Re: Skid steer vs. tractor for hobby farm use

    I vote tractor. Skid steers can be a major PITA to work on and if you have to hire it done it is expensive. They get stuck easily and generally tear up the ground pretty good when turning. ALso they are slow as christmas and rough riding as heck.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member Bob Rooks's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
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    2,270
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    Bothell & Silverdale, WA
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    Yuchai Bulldozer

    Default Re: Skid steer vs. tractor for hobby farm use

    I vote for neither, for reasons already stated.
    Instead, I suggest a compact articulated wheel loader such as the Gehl, although there are quite a few other brands as well, which will give you the best of both worlds without the drawbacks of either.
    Gehl Company - Compact Equipment for Construction and Agriculture
    Yuchai 306R dozer, Mustang 2040 skid steer, Mitsubishi MS035 Mini-Ex with four buckets and a rake, Trimble equipped 7' Dual Dozer with twin GCR-2 laser receivers, and a LiTW BH7600 back hoe (sold).

  7. #7
    Elite Member Ken45101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    3,288
    Location
    southern Ohio
    Tractor
    Kubota M5040, M9540, B21 TLB, B2710, RTV900, JD 325 Skid steer, KX-121-3 mini excavator

    Default Re: Skid steer vs. tractor for hobby farm use

    I have a skid steer, and several tractors. The skid steer is for digging and for rough trail work. Even for mowing, it's for rough areas, it does an uneven job although maybe a different design cutter would be somewhat better.

    As mentioned, a ss really tears up the ground if it is muddy or soft. You wouldn't drag an arena with a ss, you would have to come back with a tractor to smooth it out.

    Yes, a ss can maneuver better in tight spots...BUT the visibility to the sides and rear really suck!

    Turning over the muck pile? You will need tracks or the ss will just spin and sink in. Tracks again tear up the ground.

    For handling heavy loads, a ss is more tippy than a tractor (the ss is short wheel base). Lift capacity may be an issue. Skid steers are rated for lift capacity and tipping capacity. Usually the lift capacity is about 1/3rd the tipping capacity. I doubt that 10k will get you a decent condition bigger ss.

    Perhaps you need a "utility" class tractor, not a CUT.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member SpringHollow's Avatar
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    South of Rochester, NY
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    Power Trac 1850, NH 2120

    Default Re: Skid steer vs. tractor for hobby farm use

    As Bob Rooks mentioned, articulated wheel loader or tractor. Some Power Trac models might be appropriate for what you want to do.

    Ken
    PT1850, mini hoe, grapple, stump grinder, brush hog

    http://www.usadiscountgenerators.com...T1850Home.html

  9. #9
    Silver Member
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    Mar 2013
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    Harrisburg, PA
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    New Holland TC45DA

    Default Re: Skid steer vs. tractor for hobby farm use

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken45101 View Post
    Perhaps you need a "utility" class tractor, not a CUT.
    The models I'm considering are kubota L3240, New Holland TC35D, TC40D. Not sure what class they fall into, but with appropriate rear weights and loader they can all lift 1000# to full height. In any case I will be using a SSQA bucket so that bales will be lifted with a bale spear attachment rather than bucket clip-ons.

    David

  10. #10
    Veteran Member
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    Kubota B3200, Ford NAA, IH 454D, Case 1845C

    Default Re: Skid steer vs. tractor for hobby farm use

    I'd go with a large compact tractor or small utility tractor with 4wd and a loader.

    I have both a SS and compact tractor and for most 'chores' around the farm the tractor is a lot easier. It doesn't tear up the ground, is 10x easier to get on and off of and is just more user friendly for a lot of the work you describe. However, in a farm setting the skid loader does excel at work with the forks (visibility is much greater), cleaning out the barns, and stacking hay. That said, I mostly use the skid steer for my construction business for excavating, dirt work and moving building materials, the compact tractor mostly gets used on the farm. For the farm I wouldn't be without a tractor of some sort.
    Kubota B3200
    Ford NAA Jubilee
    International 454D
    Case 1845C skid steer
    JD 265

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