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  1. #1
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    Default two machine solution?

    Seems like there's been a debate on this forum about the two machine solution. That is, a lot of us are country folks who have a decent little patch of land, maybe 8-30 acres, with a couple or three acres to mow, long gravel driveways to maintain, some snow to push in winter, various dirt, landscaping and big garden work, messing around in the woods, etc. Some guys are interested in one tractor to do it all. That's why JD sells so many of the 2000 series with a MMM and FEL as the big attachments. Other guys take the view that it's better to have two machines; a pure mower and then a tractor for everything else. I'm trying to get opinions/experiences with both, because I'm right at that decision point right now.

    I think the do-it-all tractor folks would say:

    1. Maintaining two machines is a pain.
    2. Buying two machines, all other things being equal, is more expensive than one machine. Plus buying two machines requires you to store two machines, so you've got to have quite a bit of barn/shed space available.
    3. The MMMs on the tractors mow pretty nicely, so you don't need a pure mower.
    4. Unless you buy an x700 series mower, which is almost as expensive as a CUT anyway, the two machine solution means your mower is going to be a belt-driven machine, and there's just no way it'll hold up for more than a decade, while a well-maintained CUT should still have a lot of life and value a decade down the road.

    I think the two-machine solution folks would say:

    1. Maintaining two machines isn't such a big deal, really.
    2. A good, dedicated mower (like an x300, say) mows better than a MMM on a 2000 series or 3000 series. Better cut, more manueverable and less tippy on hills.
    3. Having a dedicated mower means you're not switching out the MMM (and FEL or other attachment) as you go back and forth between mowing and other work.
    4. A MMM costs around $2500-$3000, and a good x300 or x500 series costs $4000-$6000, so the savings of one machine is there but not comparatively huge.

    What do y'all think? Anyone out there start with the all-in-one tractor and then decide to go with the two machine solution? Anyone out there start with the two machine solution and then regret it? Anyone disagree with the considerations I suggest above or have different ones to add?

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Runner's Avatar
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    John Deere 2520, 1989 John Deere 185, 1960 Panzer T70B

    Default Re: two machine solution?

    I have 6 rough, hilly acres, 2 of which are lawn and 4 are pasture. When I moved here, all I had was an old JD 185 lawn tractor. I knew I needed some type of compact tractor to handle the chores (finish mowing, rough cutting, snow removal, gravel drive maintenance, etc.).

    I decided to go with a JD2520, knowing that I'd still need something smaller to cut in around the edges and get in the tight spots. A dedicated mower sounds good, but the property is so rough, anything smaller than a 2520 would beat me to death.

    My problem is, I need a better trimming tractor. I need something that is the size of the 185, 42 inch mower deck, 4 wheel drive, 4 wheel steer and only costs a few thousand. Unfortunately, I don't think such a machine exists, except maybe a used Simplicity.

    All the above notwithstanding, I still believe I have the best solution for my needs, i.e., a compact tractor with a lawn tractor to cut in the edges. It's just too rough and steep to use a lawn tractor (or ZTR) for the whole thing, but I can't get in the tight spots with the 2520.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails two machine solution?-img_1596.jpg  
    Runner

  3. #3
    Super Member
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    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, L130

    Default Re: two machine solution?

    Not to sound arrogant but I am not confused about any of this stuff. I am interested in easy hookup yet wan't it to perform as a specialized tool. I have a small tlb for digging and loader work. Two tractors for 3pt work and a lawn mower for mowing the lawn.

    I don't use a lawn mower to till or dig out stumps, a mower needs to be light, agile, and have a very small turning radius. I don't want a fel on my tractor either but I do wan't it large enough to get some work done, something a lawn mower cross has trouble with. While I have a 3 pt hitch and top n tilt for my tlb I prefer to leave the hoe in place unless I really need three tractors at one time (isn't likely). For digging I looked around and used lots of different machines before deciding on the Deere 110. Initially I wasn't impressed with the 110tlb, I really thought a separate mini excavator and compact wheel loader was the better route. Also considered a Terex 760B full sized cab with extendahoe because the price was cheap. Transportation was the problem with these other combinations though, I finally decided I could do at least 90% of the jobs with the smaller 110tlb in one trip behind a service truck and this just made more sense.

    After many years of using different equipment I have narrowed it down to a good lawn mower and am planning on purchaseing a Deere X749 for this, keeping the 4520 cab ehydro for 90% of the tractor work. Keeping the 110tlb for 90% of the backhoe work, I can always hire or rent a larger or smaller unit when needed. Lastly if I really need a heavy tractor for tillage then I will consider a Deere 100+ hp tractor at that time.

    In my opinion, after a long winded post, "Eight in one tools suck big time."

  4. #4
    Super Member mjncad's Avatar
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    Default Re: two machine solution?

    Quote Originally Posted by jenkinsph View Post
    After many years of using different equipment I have narrowed it down to a good lawn mower and am planning on purchaseing a deere X749 for this...

    In my opinion, after a long winded post, "Eight in one tools suck big time."
    Let me know how you like the X749 as that is my dream mower right now. I really want the AWS, shaft drive, power steering, power deck lift, etc. I have 30 trees to mow around plus a number of man-made obstacles that the X749 would be nice to have, even on the small lot we live on.

    Your quote says it best!

    Back to the OP, before all the trees got planted and the ground was inhabited by tumbleweeds, the 5' Bush Hog on my 4200 wasn't that difficult to use and maneuver. Now the cutter isn't used often; but I won't get rid of it as its paid for. Removing/installing the loader on my 4200 isn't difficult; but I sure don't want to deal with the hassles of doing the same with a MMM for my 4200.

    Now the L-130 does the mowing chores of native grasses and non-woody weeds; but it's tiring without power steering.
    Paraphrasing Douglas Adams - So long and thanks for all the bacon.

  5. #5
    Super Member mjncad's Avatar
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    Default Re: two machine solution?

    Quick question Runner...how do you like your mirror setup for your loader, and I'm assuming you are only using for non-bucket type of attachments? Do you have much trouble with vibration blurring the image?

    We now return you to our regularly scheduled thread.
    Paraphrasing Douglas Adams - So long and thanks for all the bacon.

  6. #6
    Elite Member AKfish's Avatar
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    Kasilof, Alaska
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    JD 5075M; JD 110 TLB; Ford Ferguson 9N: JD X300R

    Default Re: two machine solution?

    You've hit most of the major areas of discussion regarding the pros and cons of owning multiple platforms. One point that I don't necessarily agree with - that a belt driven mowing tractor will only last a decade. I'd argue that with appropriate care and upkeep; it's not unreasonable to expect another 5-10 years beyond that - especially if you work up to the middle of the series - X360, say.

    One further comment that I can offer - are you the only person in your family that will be operating any of the equipment? One major advantage that saves me considerable time is that my wife and youngest son can work one or both machines and allow me to work on something else. More chores taken care of at the same time..

    That said, I'm a real believer in the 2-tractor family. I started out with a JD 970 TLB (after renting various machines over several years) and found I did not like the chore of dropping the hoe to attach a mower.

    Plus, the tractor was just a "skooch" too big to mow the edges and some corners and around some of the awkward spots around buildings and fences. So, that all had to be done with a push mower.. Which I liked even less than dropping and reattaching the backhoe.

    After using the 970 for about 4 years, I decided I wanted a bigger, more capable TLB. After 4-6 months of research and test driving a half dozen different models and brands; I settled on a JD 110 TLB. A few months after buying the 110 - I bought a new X300R.

    I no longer hassle with trying to mow with the 110 and I don't have to clean up the mowed areas with a push mower, either.

    However, I'm finding that I need another tractor for heavier duty PTO and 3pt work more often than before --- so, I'm now looking for another tractor... Therefore, the question now is: 2 machine family or three?? More and more looking like 3.

    Best of luck with your decision.

    AKfish
    "Most people want to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it."

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Runner's Avatar
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    Default Re: two machine solution?

    mjncad,

    The mirrors work fine, once you get them aimed. They are both on the small side, so they have to be aimed (at the trailer hitch) perfectly. Surprisingly, vibration is not a problem at all.

    Back on topic, I forgot to mention I also have the desire for power steering on the trimming tractor.

    A tall order indeed.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails two machine solution?-img_1595b.jpg  
    Runner

  8. #8
    Veteran Member magicheater's Avatar
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    Default Re: two machine solution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Magilla1 View Post
    What do y'all think? Anyone out there start with the all-in-one tractor and then decide to go with the two machine solution? Anyone out there start with the two machine solution and then regret it? Anyone disagree with the considerations I suggest above or have different ones to add?
    I started out with one tractor and used to back drag the lawn when the grass got too high. Graduated to lawnmowers in various colors and types and ended up with a zero turn mower. I now mow more and do the neighbors too. Got a second tractor, B7800HST, and now use that more than my L4350, go figure. Finances have a lot to do with decisions too. All I can say is if you are willing to change over one machine to do all the things you want, then go for it. I am not.
    Quote Originally Posted by jenkinsph View Post
    In my opinion, after a long winded post, "Eight in one tools suck big time."
    I had a shopsmith in my early twenties and learned what a pita it was to switch over every time you wanted to do a different function.
    Working to increase the scope of the small tractor experience, one quick attach at a time.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: two machine solution?

    Thi biggest advantage I see in (2) machines is tires. With just (1) you are setting yourself up for disappointment with R4 tires which are only real good for industrial applications for which they were designed. They will not give you much better traction than turf tires off the lawn, and will damage a soft lawn almost as bad as R1's. (2) Tractors lets you have the best tire for every job - turfs on the lawn, R1's off. Transmissions can also be optimized for on and off lawn usage, with a hydro being better for lawn mowing, but a gear is better off the lawn, especially for ground engaging work. As far as more maintenance with multiple tractors, not necessarily so. I currently have (2) tractors for on the lawn and (4) for off. Splitting the work up with multiple tractors prevents any one from being overworked and really limits breakdowns compared to what would occur if trying to do everything with one machine. Most maintenence is done according to hours on the machine and if the work volume is the same then so is the maintenance regardless of how many machines you use. Also, multiple tractors reduces or eliminates time changing implements and lets other folks help out getting the work done. Maintenence can usually be done inside when weather is unsuitable for outside work but having multiple tractors ready to go lets you make maximum use of times when weather and field conditions are favorable. I do believe that (6) tractors is a little over the top however and I am currently trying to unload one of my off-lawn models. I have a buyer lined up and as soon as he gathers the cash (he has about 3/4) he is going to come over and pick it up.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Runner's Avatar
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    Default Re: two machine solution?

    If I had flatter, smoother property, I'd have a ZTR for mowing, lawn tractor for little jobs, like pulling the sprayer, lawn cart, etc., and the big tractor for heavier jobs.

    I've just heard too many horror stories about ZTR's and hills and on rough property, so, stuck with the lawn tractor and compact.....
    Runner

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