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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    5
    Location
    Overland Park, KS
    Tractor
    about to buy

    Default Noob getting analysis paralysis

    Hi All,

    I've been lurking here a littel while trying to learn enough to make a semi-wise tractor buying decision. I'd appreciate any advice you can give me.

    My wife and I bought 40 acres in northeast Linn County Kansas. It's not great farm ground but hay may be doable. I found a farmer who worked the adjacent ground a few years ago. He is going to hay the 26 acre field (so I'm not looking for a tractor capable of haying). the other 14 acres is a mixture of brambles, woods, two spring-fed ponds and about 4 acres of grassy glens.

    I'm looking for a tractor to help keep the ground next to the road somewhat cut, turn most of the glens into food plots, keep the two lanes in the woods clear, do a little grading and plant an acre of sunflowers (for my wife).

    My dad and uncle had farms I used to visit as a kid. Every tractor there was green. So of course I'm only looking at tractors that are green. (My wife's grandpa had a red tractor so she wants me to look at red tractors. Silly woman, she'll be happy with the sunflowers.)

    I'm thinking an older compact or newer subcompact tractor. So far I've narrowed my choices to several model numbers. I like the old school reliable tractor reputation of the x55 series.

    To that end, there is an MFWD 855 with a 1,000 hours and 60" mmm available for $7,900 not too far from here. It has a little rust and could use some new front tires but overall the pictures look like it has potential. I'm a little concerned about parts availability but I like it's reliable reputation.

    I've looked at the 1023/1026 series but I just can't warm up to them. I think they are great tractors but for my first tractor I'd really like to keep under $10,000 if possible and stay used rather than new.

    I was looking at 2210's until I saw the transmission case problems.

    I had been avoiding the 2305's for the same reason but one just became available (estate sale) that has really caught my attention. It's a 2006 with a 195 hours, 200CX FEL, a 60" mmm and a box blade. By the pictures, it is in real good shape. If I can get it for $9,000 or thereabouts I'll probably buy it. Am I fooling myself thinking I can avoid the transmission case problems by avoiding using the rear pto? The only real use I anticipate of the rear pto is a spreader. (When it comes time to prep my wife's sunflower patch I'd probably rent a kubota from a shop about 3 miles from my farm. Let the rental equipment deal with the rocky ground I've got.)

    Even if I get the 855 down to $7,000 it won't have the FEL or the box blade. I can probably get by without the FEL but the box blade is probably a must have. So for anther $1,000 to $2,000 I might be able to get a much newer tractor with the FEL. I'm thinking the 2305 is the way to go. I just have to realize I can't make heavy use of its rear pto.

    Of course they are both green so I probably can't go wrong with either one. Thanks in advance for any advice.

  2. #2
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    9,392
    Location
    somewhere usa
    Tractor
    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, L130

    Default Re: Noob getting analysis paralysis

    For what you will need I would suggest a larger older tractor. An example would be something similar to my Deere 820, it has around 1700 hours on it, 31 pto hp 3cyl diesel and two wheel drive. No issues with the pto either. I have seen these priced from $4000 to $8000 and think one such as mine is worth about $6000. So that would leave some change for a few attachments in your budget.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -deere-820-001-jpg  

  3. #3
    Elite Member AKfish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    4,993
    Location
    Kasilof, Alaska
    Tractor
    JD 5075M; JD 110 TLB; JD 4720; Ford 9N; JD X300R

    Default Re: Noob getting analysis paralysis

    Quote Originally Posted by jenkinsph View Post
    For what you will need I would suggest a larger older tractor.
    2x^ here. What you said... and what I came away with was - maintain field road thru 14 acres, clean up and make field ready for food plots on 4 acres, clear a 1 acre patch and plant to sunflowers, mow along the road side throughout the 40 acre property.

    Is that about right?

    So, some brush hog mowing; small tree, roots, brush clearing and removal; some disc harrow work and maybe some rototiller work; a broadcast seeder, fertilizer spreader and/or a 1-row or 2-row planter work.

    All that with a tractor with 20hp or less @ pto?

    The tractor would be overmatched by the projects and your back will suffer - IMO.

    I would be looking for a tractor in the 35hp-40hp range at the very least. Front-end loader, and the other implements as previously mentioned. And, if you plan to work when conditions might be less than ideal - 4x4.

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

  4. #4
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    278
    Location
    Kentucky
    Tractor
    John Deere 3320 - gator cx

    Default Re: Noob getting analysis paralysis

    I would also check out the 70 series. Probally a 970 or 1070 would be perfect. The are basic and dependable tuff tractors.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    710
    Location
    Staunton, VA
    Tractor
    John Deere 3038E

    Default Re: Noob getting analysis paralysis

    12 years ago my first tractor was also green - and used. I just shopped around dealers, auctions and want-ads within a 50 mile radius. There were some non-green options, but no dealer support for them locally. I had a $8,000 budget, but finally found a 1974 JD 2030 30 miles away and owned by a JD mechanic, so it was in great shape. It was much bigger than I planned (68 hp) and it had 2WD... But it also had weight and wide rear tires and only ever got stuck on hills in snows over 24 inches. And it did have a FEL. It had 2,000 hours (nearly new for that size tractor) and cost me $8,000 after some dickering.

    A heavy old 2wd tractor with FEL can do all you want and more. Just get a tractor with a good dealer and service nearby in case you need it. I did my own minor maintenance. The only problem in 11 years of ownership was a water pump - and a neighbor farmer replaced it for me cheap. I traded it last year on a new, smaller JD for almost what I paid for it.

  6. #6
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    5
    Location
    Overland Park, KS
    Tractor
    about to buy

    Default Re: Noob getting analysis paralysis

    Thanks guys. You understand about right.

    I could have been clearer about the lanes. They are grassy paths through the woods.
    One has been kept very clear. It needs mowing only.
    One is dirt and small brambles. It needs some grading and brush cutting.
    The others are grass and brambles.

    I do have a self propelled brush cutter that right now is fun to use.

    What I'm hearing you say is that I'm looking at too small a tractor. This is partly where I get paralyzed. I see my primary long term usage as mowing, seeding, fertilizing and some light wood and dirt moving. For that I see a smaller tractor. I also have a short term need for some heavier grading work. The sunflower field particularly concerns me because somebody did a rough grading job on it years ago and the ground is a little rocky. This is where I see renting a larger tractor.

    I almost see needing two different tractors. A smaller one for mowing and working in the woods and lanes. A larger one for the grading.

    Jenkins, I'll keep an eye out for an 820 but I haven't see one locally yet. Occasionally a 955 will be available but the asking price is usually $10,000 or so without any attachments. I'll look around some more.

    AK, I hear what you are saying. I need to study food plots. I think you are saying I just can't mow and over-seed the glens, that tilling will be necessary. If that is the case, then you are right and I definitely need to look larger. Time for me to do more research.

    JD, I think there are a couple of 1070's locally. I'll check the stats and take a look. I've been watching for an 890 or 990 but haven't seen one yet.

    DK, the 2030 sounds like a big tractor. Big is good, right. I hadn't planned on something that big right away. I figured that was a couple of years away and only if I wanted to try haying myself. I'm concerned that something that big is going to be really hard to use in the woods. The lanes/paths are generally pretty narrow.

    I've got to give my brush cutter a workout. Geez, working in the field is soooo much better than working in the office.

    Thank you all.

  7. #7
    Elite Member AKfish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    4,993
    Location
    Kasilof, Alaska
    Tractor
    JD 5075M; JD 110 TLB; JD 4720; Ford 9N; JD X300R

    Default Re: Noob getting analysis paralysis

    I had a JD 970 TLB for almost 5 years. Used it to clear the trees, stumps and brush around the place and to establish several of my horse pastures. Awesome tractor! But, with 20 acres I could definitely see the "end-game" for that tractor!

    I was gonna end up with a broken-down, used up machine! Too many hard acres for the type/size of tractor. It wasn't a good logging platform..

    I had a bad winter-kill on 2 acres of pasture one year. Needed to be completly re-done. Disking the sod and rototilling and packing the seedbed and fertilizing and seeding was a good workout for that machine. It was perfect for those projects. But, it was 4x4 and 30hp @ pto.

    That said, you have outlined projects that involve at least 5 acres every season that will require that the ground be broken up, leveled and fertilized and planted. Every season. And the amount of mowing that will be needed around 40 acres during the course of a year - 2/3 times - I would not want to be the guy walking around with a self-propelled brush cutter doing it! You might discover the need for additional fencing or additional brush clearing... with 40 acres to work - it won't be too many years down the road that the work is beyond a 970-1070 tractor. That's when I'd really be looking at a 60-70 hp utility tractor.

    IMO - you should be looking at a tractor that will power 6 foot implements at least. My old 970 would work a MX-6 brush hog for most of the stuff I had to mow. And it would power a 65-72" medium duty rototiller. Raking, seeding, roller packing, and spreading fertilizer were quick, easy (and fast) exercises! A 1070 would be an even better machine for your purposes! But, a similar size/hp machine to a 970 would be the minimum starting point - IMO.

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

  8. #8
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    342
    Location
    OHIO
    Tractor
    2001 New Holland TN70,2003 John Deere 250 Series II skidsteer,1987 John Deere 2155,2013 John Deere 5055E MFWD,2007 Duramax 4x4 truck, 1973 MF 165,Artic Cat 550 Cougar sled

    Default Re: Noob getting analysis paralysis

    I would go for a 50 to 70 hp machine. The 2030 tractor that someone mentioned above is really not that big of a machine in person.Older John Deere tractors especially around here bring good money so you may be a little on the low side with $8,000 especially if you need a bucket loader on it. The older John Deere machines where good as long as you got a well taken care of one. Allot of the models out there where prone to electrolosys problems and hydraulic issues that where not as common with some of the other brands & models out there such as MF and Ford that I have owned. I am not trying to scare you away from older Deere's but am trying to tell you what to look for at used machines and what to think about.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    1,206

    Default Re: Noob getting analysis paralysis

    Think outside the box. Do you want a tractor or do you want a green tractor? Be honest with yourself. I like a good tractor and have three in different colors right now. Go with the bigger tractor. The thought of enjoying your brush cutter makes me smile-I see myself 3o years ago. The 6ft. bushogs used are cheap. Box blade with rippers, grooming mower, post hole digger and other equipment will come along later. Enjoy you have been bitten and do not even know it.

  10. #10
    Elite Member AKfish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    4,993
    Location
    Kasilof, Alaska
    Tractor
    JD 5075M; JD 110 TLB; JD 4720; Ford 9N; JD X300R

    Default Re: Noob getting analysis paralysis

    Let's try to not look past the current projects... what he wants the tractor for - getting too far ahead of oneself oftentimes causes the feet to strike ones backside! If/when the project list changes or the work load increases in size/scope - go bigger!

    Just because you can find "cheap" big iron doesn't necessarily mean it's a good buy..

    Yes, you should fit the tractor to your budget whenever possible - that's just plain sense. But, I can find a whole barn yard of 250hp+ 4x4 articulated tractors for less than $15K, too! They run, they'll do the job. (Just pray to God that they don't break down - 'cause you'll never be able pay for the parts/repairs! )

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

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