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  1. #11
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    536
    Location
    Thornville, Ohio
    Tractor
    No longer Searching. Mahindra 3016 Shuttle

    Default Re: 30 acre farm. What tractor system do I need?

    Gonner3,

    Give serious consideration to 1970s era utility tractors, 30-50 pto hp (John Deere 1010/1020-2010/2020 and International Harvester 424-444). Certainly you will want a front loader. If you can find one of these tractors with less than 2000 hours, grab it. Used implerments for this size tractor are fairly reasonable.

  2. #12
    Gold Member dntfxr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    314
    Location
    north Louisiana
    Tractor
    2 or 3

    Default

    Your spread sounds very similar to my property, in fact we just started on our home. I'm going to second the last post and suggest you look for an older tractor with at least 40pto HP. With the amount of mowing you have, I'd look for a 6' brush hog. Trust me the 6' will cut the mowing time by quite a bit. 6' box blade for dirt work and driveway. If you keep looking there are deals out there on good used tractors and implements. A late 60s to early 80s model Deere or IH diesel will serve you well.
    '76 John Deere 2040
    '83 Ford 3610
    '94 Kubota B7100 mfwd HST
    '14 Ferris is700 61" Vanguard BB

  3. #13
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    271
    Location
    Canton, TX
    Tractor
    JD 301A and yanmar YM2500

    Default

    There are a lot of industrial Massey and JD tractors available that have the capabilities you're looking for for good prices. Just make sure they have the Pto option. The industrials from the 60-70s are mostly beefed up popular ag models with good parts availability and around here I've seen them for the same or less than the ag version and usually have a HD bb and sometimes a brush hog included.

  4. #14
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    373
    Location
    Darlington, SC
    Tractor
    1957 Ferguson 35, 1977? Yanmar 2200, 1963 Cub Cadet Original

    Default Re: 30 acre farm. What tractor system do I need?

    wolftree, I think he already has a tracloader so that covers his loader needs. I find a loader on my tractor would be in the way most of the time when doing non loader chores. Yes, they are nice but myself, if I only had 1 tractor, I'd want one without the loader.

    I agree with the others. Something in the 8N Ford Or Ferguson 35, MF 135 range would be cheaper and do a good job for bush hogging, pulling a box blade, post hole digger and other light tractor chores. I'd suggest whatever you buy have a high/low transmission and a 2 stage clutch. The 2 stage clutch is a necessity if bush hogging. You can make do with a single stage clutch and an added slip clutch but that's what you'll be doing, making do. Spend the extra for a 2 stage clutch.

    You didn't say if you wanted it to be backhoe attachment ready on your first buy or if you want to start small and work up to the backhoe. In order to be backhoe ready you'll need to buy a little heavier, more expensive tractor with the plug in style hydraulics already attached and ready. But you'll spend more money to get this. To do the other chores you can buy a cheaper tractor. I like having more than 1 tractor, can have different tractors set up with different implements, not as much switching implements when doing a job. A good for instance would be to maybe have a tractor set up with the post hole digger and another pulling a trailer loaded with posts and other supplies. With 30 acres you'll have a need if you can afford them, buy small now and add a bigger one as you see the need.

    With not having any tractor experience at all, if you have any oppertunity to visit someone that has a tractor that will show you his and how things work, how he does different tasks, talk to him and get a feel of what he's doing vs what you need to do. That would be time well spent and a good beginner course in tractoring. Ask on this forum if anyone is close by that would be willing to give you a Tractor 101 crash course. If you were close to me I'd offer myself.

    Different people have different ways of doing things but I use mine to pull trailers for cutting firewood and general yard maintenance. I hate using a pickup to maneuver around trees (got lots of trees) and find it so much easier to do that with my tractor. So that's another plus on having more than 1 tractor too. I'd say start small and add larger when needed.
    modify, adjust and improvise....a country boy can survive

  5. #15
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    6,371
    Location
    Northern California-Tehama Co.
    Tractor
    2008 Mahindra 5525, 1964 MF-135 diesel, 1951 Farmall Super A, 1951 Minneapolis Moline BF, 1945 Oliver 60 Row Crop, 1949 JD B widefront

    Default Re: 30 acre farm. What tractor system do I need?

    First, bookmark TractorData.com which is your resource for tractor specs.

    TractorData.com - information on all makes and models of tractors

    Next, since you probably aren't in the market for a new tractor, camp out on eBAy and Craigslist for a month or so and look at prices on 40-50 hp (pto) tractors of various makes with diesel engine, power steering, shuttle-shift or hydrostatic tranny, front end loader.
    Also set up searches for implements--brush hog mower, box blade, rear blade to start.

    Then post back here with more questions and comments.

    Good luck

  6. #16
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    373
    Location
    Darlington, SC
    Tractor
    1957 Ferguson 35, 1977? Yanmar 2200, 1963 Cub Cadet Original

    Default Re: 30 acre farm. What tractor system do I need?

    The comfort of having 2 tractors with 30 acres will be a big plus for you. With me, I have a tiller on my Yanmar right now, I'll till my garden once more before it comes off. It's a PITA to hook and unhook, atleast for me it is. It goes on and stays on til I'm finished with it. I have the other tractor do do my other chores with while it is hooked up. Sometimes it stays on most of the winter, mulching in leaves and other stuff into the garden while it is not planted.

    In a few weeks I'll hook my bush hog to my Ferguson and it pretty much stays on all summer. I only have 5 acres but seem to constantly be cutting the back section and small pastures. Too much and too tough for my lawn mower. With your 30 acres you'll get lots of seat time while bush hogging. And having it already hooked up is nice. By then the tiller will be off my Yanmar and I can use it to do any other chores.

    So my suggestion for you now would be to be in the market looking for a good "bush hog tractor". It can do the rest of your chores but not every tractor in that size range is capable of being a good bush hog tractor. You get what I am saying? That will be a big part of what you'll be doing right now.
    modify, adjust and improvise....a country boy can survive

  7. #17
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    442
    Location
    Albion, Indiana
    Tractor
    1710 Ford

    Default Re: 30 acre farm. What tractor system do I need?

    I will provide a different opinion than most of what is here. 40 hp should be minimum. It isn't much more expensive but with the haying work you will appreciate it. A front end loader is a must, I use mine almost every time I use the tractor. you will be moving lots of stuff from here to there and sometimes you will want to load things. the tracloader is just no near as convenient.
    I have driven hydrostatics and regular tractors in many applications. Hydros are nice but they have some disadvantages mainly power consumption and cost. If a tractor shifts well a standard transmission is fine. Two features i would not compromise on are hydraulics flow and pressure for use with loader, backhoe, mowers, implements, logsplitter, etc. and live PTO. Having the PTO stop when you push in the clutch is a pain especially if you are trying to be careful mowing around something and want to clutch it a little for a moment. Diesel is good.
    Bush hog type mowers are great but with one big blade they really do not cut behind one set of tires so you effectively lose a foot or so. With 40+hp go for 6 ft. I prefer a sickle bar mower as it leaves the grass laying flat and does not bunch it like a bush hog. You can also get a full 7 or 9 ft cut which means a lot less mowing time.
    Blades of various styles are relatively inexpensive and very handy. Nobody has mentioned a landscape rake but I would not be without mine. Once I got I was hooked. A box blade is very handy especially since you are going to build a house and probably a lot of landscaping. I like my regular blade with angle capability for grading the driveway, pushing snow, and lots of little clean up tasks but i would think you could get by without on if you have a landscape rake and box blade.
    If you are going to garden get a rototiller - otherwise no. Tillage equipment can come down the road but in general it is not real useful with today's no-till farming techniques should you want to grow crops it is so much easier and I believe better.
    A set of pallet forks is a must. You will use them a lot for moving things around. I have a multipurpose toolbar that most of the time is connected to my pallet forks but I also use disc hillers on for my garden. One of the big uses I have for my pallet forks is a large box I carry as a carry-all - whether it is firewood out of the trees or tools for a job.
    A trailer is a must as well. A small dump trailer will serve many purposes over the years.

    Just a few things.

  8. #18
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    373
    Location
    Darlington, SC
    Tractor
    1957 Ferguson 35, 1977? Yanmar 2200, 1963 Cub Cadet Original

    Default Re: 30 acre farm. What tractor system do I need?

    I just reread your original post and looked over the replies again. Nobody seems to have talked about implements that much.

    Implements will all pretty much be used on the 3ph (3 point hitch) system, it's pretty much standard unless you get into the 140 Farmall 1 point fast hitch. But that pretty much is a "cultivating" tractor, not what you need. They come in different sizes know as "category". Catagory 1 is pretty standard for the smaller tractors and you will find will be less expensive when buying. I suggest you go to a good implement dealer and look and get prices. Have him show you category 1 and category 2 implements so you can see the difference in what is offered and what it will cost. You'll get a feel of what you think you might need as far as how wide. With the tractors we've been suggesting, 5' wide will be pretty standard too. You may see where you want to go bigger/wider. The wider the implement, the faster you get a job done...BUT...it doesn't fit in small areas as well and costs more. If you want a 7' bush hog, a 8N Ford or MF 35 won't pull it. You'll need more tractor. So go look at implements to decide what size you'd like to have and then get whatever size tractor is best for that implement group. And remember, as said above 5hp per foot of bush hog is pretty much standard.

    Not only will you decide what size, you'll also see prices too. Then if you see something on Craigslist, you'll have an idea what it costs and if it's a good deal. Most probably he'll have used tractors too. Talk to him to get a feel on prices on them too. Tell him you're in the looking/deciding stage and don't get talked into anything on your first visit. It's a pretty good way to get a feel of whats going on and give you lots to think about while deciding.

    Don't start buying implements until you've found your tractor. The tractor will be the most costly. If you buy several implements in category 1 and find a deal on a category 2 tractor, you've mixed the sizes and it won't usually work out good. So buy the tractor first.

    Hope all this helps and feel free to come back asking lots of questions. We didn't get off our bicycles knowing everything about tractors. We all had to grow into it, just like you're doing now.
    modify, adjust and improvise....a country boy can survive

  9. #19
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    2
    Location
    Lexington, Ky
    Tractor
    None

    Default Re: 30 acre farm. What tractor system do I need?

    Thanks so much you all. You are sharing such helpful information, suggestions and experience. Having a sounding board like this forum is, as you all know, extremely beneficial. I have so many thoughts and questions running through my head that I don't know where to begin. So, I'll start here. In an effort to minimize cost I'm boiling down our property needs to what is absolutely necessary: mowing the pasture and grading the drive. Therefore I'm looking for a diesel tractor of at least 45 hp and 40 hp pto. I would prefer hp as high as feasibly possible. Would there be any reason to avoid tractors with hp over a certain amount other than the physical size limiting access to certain parts of the property and potential increase in implement cost? I'm looking for hydrostatic tranny (though that's flexible) and live pto.

    Regarding implements my crawler loader has a clam bucket so I can actually grade the drive. It seems to me though that starting the loader to grade the drive would be unwieldy and, since a box grader would also grade around our new home, a brush hog and box grader (in that order) are the two implements needed sooner rather than later. Knowing that preference plays a role, how many times an average central Kentucky season might I need to brush hog the pasture? Asking it another way, how tall can a field grow before a brush hog, or other mowing implement, has trouble cutting it?

    I've been on Craigslist quite a bit, use TractorData.com frequently and will attend an auction soon. Like when I researched buying the crawler loader I'll spend way too much time combing this and other websites before pulling the trigger and buying a tractor. If you guys wouldn't mind briefly commenting on the following tractors I've spotted on Craigslist I'd appreciate it.

    IH 784
    Long 460
    Ford 5000
    NH 3930, 1999 year, 2900 hrs
    MF 135

    Thanks.

    Phil

  10. #20
    Elite Member foreman Etexas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    2,663
    Location
    texas
    Tractor
    kubota M7040 &m7040

    Default Re: 30 acre farm. What tractor system do I need?

    I'm going to say that the ag.exemption the place probaly has you have to either do hay twice a year or have a working livestock farm for atleast 6mnths out of the year,you may won't to work a deal out for a couple more months or if you think your going to be set up before year runs out,just in case may lose the exemption. As other have mentioned 40hp to 60 depending on really what your going to deside to do on it,if going to buy your own cows and graze it,then a 6ft mower will just be used for alittle clean-up here and there,weed spraying will cut down on a lot of weeds,can either do it yourself or maybe local place can do it for you. I like having loader on tractor,lots of stuff can find a need for one and I also like 4x4 but it may not be needed on your place,I dunno. Most the 40hp+ can easly handle a 4x5 round bale,I would suggest a box blade that will cover atleast your tires tracks on whatever tractor you deside. If you don't deside to bother with round bales pallet forks are nice to have but my double hay fork can double as a pallet fork. Auctions are a good place to start or a new package deal,some brands even have 0-84mnths finacing.

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