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  1. #1
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    Lexington, Ky
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    Default 30 acre farm. What tractor system do I need?

    Hello all. This is my first time posting here though I've been reading you all periodically for a few months at this point. I'd love to pick your brains (figuratively speaking) about how to care for the 30 acres my wife and I just purchased. Here is our scenario.

    We are utter novices regarding living on a small farm and any response should keep that in mind! Of the 30 acres we purchased 23-25 is in pasture heavily grazed by neighboring cattle. As of April 15 the cattle will no longer be grazing there. The remaining acreage has a mix of various tree species of various ages gathered in pockets around the property. We are building a home, building a 3000 foot gravel driveway (of which the first 1500 feet is shared and completed), have just completed cutting in and graveling our private driveway portion (I purchased a late 1980s Case 1150c crawler loader and did the work) and will break ground June 1 on our home. We are not going to raise crops but may raise livestock at a later time. Currently we are needing a tractor to mow and grade the driveway primarily, potentially split wood and sink fence posts, and whatever other tasks I'm unaware of. I could use a backhoe attachment also.

    Given our needs, here are the issues regarding a tractor and implements, and where I need your help:

    ** Price is paramount and the leading concern. How can I purchase what I need for the least amount possible and where can I do it?
    ** What range of tractor hp do I need?
    ** What implements would you suggest?
    ** What method of attaching implements to the tractor do I need? What pto hp would you suggest?
    ** Is there an older model of tractor where implements are available and an appropriate grouping can be created? I don't care what the tractor looks like...it can be ugly as sin...only that it is functional.
    ** What questions am I not asking that I need to be asking?

    Thanks you all. I appreciate your input.

    Phil

  2. #2
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    65
    Location
    Harris & Fayette Counties, TX
    Tractor
    Kubota B6200, MF 230, JD 4240

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

    Here are my suggestions. First off, you should look for a diesel, not gas tractor, in the 30-45 hp range. Craigslist is a good place to look. Many times you can find someone selling the tractor and several implements together. At least in my area there are plenty to go around. I know of at least 10 nice looking tractors in my area right now for under $7000. New is going to cost you over $15,000. Just because a tractor is from the '70s or '80s does not mean it is not perfect for your needs. It is not like a car. Tractors do not get used every day, and diesel engines last much longer than gas engines. Most tractors made after about 1960 will have a "Category 1 3-point hitch" assembly. This is the standard and almost all implements and attachements have them. The 3-Point Hitch or 3ph has 2 arms extending from the rear of the tractor which hydraulically lift or lower the attachment. The PTO connects by a shaft from the tractor to the implement in the same area as the 3ph and a speed of 540 is standard. You are going to need a mower. A good rule of thumb on mowers is 5 hp for every foot in width of mower. I'd go with a 5 foot mower(rotary cutter, shredder, brush hog). These are different from finish mowers which are for a very groomed look. Plan on $500-900 for a mower. You will need a box blade for the driveway, around 5 feet wide. That is the basics, you can get into post hole diggers and log splitters later. Tom

  3. #3
    Bronze Member
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    Sep 2006
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    73
    Location
    Kentucky
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400 & JD 5220 & MF 4243

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

    Congrats on your purchase. My recommendation would be to attend a large farm equipment consignment auction with someone who know what they're about. You can see many of the implements you might want, and get an idea of tractor sizes and prices on the used market. It's a bit of a drive for you, but there's one coming up 20 April down in Barren County.
    For your pastures, there are cost-sharing options for converting active ag/pasture land into wildlife habitat if that's of interest to you. Just contact your local private lands biologist with Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. See http://fw.ky.gov/kfwis/viewable/priv...biologists.pdf. The type of equipment you may need will really depend on what you want to do with your property. Tree farm? Wildlife habitat? Row crop? Pasture?
    __________________________________________
    MF 4243, JD5220 & Kubota L3400 with all the fixin's.
    Truax FLXII 88
    PLANT NATIVE!

  4. #4
    Elite Member newbury's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    4,463
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    From Vt, in Va, retiring to MS
    Tractor
    Kubota's - B7610, M4700

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Gonner3 View Post
    <snip>
    ** Price is paramount and the leading concern. How can I purchase what I need for the least amount possible and where can I do it?
    Getting the "best bang for the buck" requires a LOT of research, which by your following questions it seems you haven't done yet. At this point it might be best for you to visit all the dealers in your area. Also check out renting a tractor from some place like Sunbelt rentals.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gonner3 View Post
    ** What range of tractor hp do I need?
    Probably 30 to 40 HP
    Quote Originally Posted by Gonner3 View Post
    ** What implements would you suggest?
    Box blade, pallet forks, rotary mower, PHD, trailer
    Quote Originally Posted by Gonner3 View Post
    ** What method of attaching implements to the tractor do I need? What pto hp would you suggest?
    3PT, a few HP < than the engine
    Quote Originally Posted by Gonner3 View Post
    ** Is there an older model of tractor where implements are available and an appropriate grouping can be created? I don't care what the tractor looks like...it can be ugly as sin...only that it is functional.
    That would be a dealer until you get experience/knowledge, I'd recommend Home | Barlow Equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Gonner3 View Post
    ** What questions am I not asking that I need to be asking?
    TONS
    Based on the fact you have the Case and can operate it you are halfway there. Things like HST vs Shift, what brand, etc. will sort themselves out.

    Hang around and read A LOT. You are looking at a $10k to $30K investment. Getting one to save a few dollars may result in EXPENSIVE repair costs. Spending a few extra $K for a tractor from a reputable dealer may save a LOT of worrying and money.

    You've found this forum and started and as long as politics don't get involved most of us here LIKE to assist other soon to be tractor addicts.

    Good luck
    My rides - '95 Kubota M4700 w/ PEC, LA1001 FEL :'07 B7610, LA352 FEL, Bush Hog SBX 48 box blade, '09 Woods BH70-X w/ 16" bucket and thumb, 3pt pallet forks, Dale Phillips PHD, Jinma 8" chipper, Winco 12KW PTO generator, Howse plow, 5' KK tiller with a 2002 7.3L Ford F350 CC DRW 4x4 and '07 18' Hudson HSE Deluxe trailer - 5 Ton to haul it all

  5. #5
    Silver Member
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    Jan 2012
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    153
    Location
    Alabama
    Tractor
    Kubota M7040, Kubota B2710

    Default

    Having owned both types of tractors, I would HIGHLY recommend a hydrostatic transmission (vs the more traditional transmission). It is much easier to maneuver and drive in my opinion. I would also get a good quick hitch system (Pats easy change or JD imatch etc) and get implements compatible with that. I use Pats easy change and makes a huge difference.

  6. #6
    Elite Member Bob77064's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
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    3,968
    Location
    KY @ TN line
    Tractor
    2011 LS R3039

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

    Welcome neighbor

  7. #7
    Veteran Member kebo's Avatar
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    May 2006
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    2,265
    Location
    Lexington, SC
    Tractor
    2001 John Deere 790 4x4, bar tires

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

    Good advice has already been given but I will add in my 2 cents worth.... Since the OP seems to be on a budget with this, I would suggest that he doesn't have to make the big $$$$ "end all" purchase up front. It might be better to start out with something relatively low cost and old, and yes "ugly as sin", to get used to operating tractors and gain some experience with them. Later on, he could sell that one (and probably break even or lose very little on that initial purchase) and then move up to a newer tractor as the budget permits, and after he's had time to learn more and figure out what his real needs/wants are.

    He indicated initially he's only going to need it for grading, mowing, splitting firewood, and digging post holes. An old 8N or MF 35 will do all that except for operating a 3pt log splitter. So, that would come in as a bit of compromise, but stand alone log splitters can be had for $1k or less and used to solve that problem, and it may be that he decides to not go with a 3pt log splitter in the long run anyway. The only attachments needed up front would be a box blade, a mower (or two if rough cut and finish cut are both needed) and then a post hole digger. That would get him going, and probably for under $5k for used equipment, with some prudent shopping. Suggesting he spend $10k to $30k didn't seem to be anywhere in his post, at least that was the way I took it since he said price was "paramount". Well, he did mention a backhoe which would significantly increase the expenditure but it didn't sound like a BH was an initial req't.

    I would also suggest that the OP start visiting a few tractor dealers and look at both the used inventory, and some of the new ones as well. Drive them around the lot some, if they will let you operate it. Ask lots of questions, get lots of prices. But, be wary of getting sucked into the 0% financing lol!! Also, start watching craigslist, the deals are out there, just have to be the first one there.
    Nothing could be finer than riding my JD790 in South Carolina!!

    2001 John Deere 790 4x4 with Model 70 FEL, 5ft International World Agritech bush hog, 5ft Wallberg BB, 5ft Frontier disc harrow, 5ft King Kutter II Rototiller, 5ft Cultipacker, 5ft Sitrex finish mower, Leinbach PHD with 9" & 12" augers, Leinbach middlebuster, Leinbach #11 Field Cultivator, boom pole, custom 3pt handi-hitch, clamp on bucket forks, Pat's Easy Change.

    Nothing runs like a Deere, or smells like a John....

  8. #8
    Member
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    Aug 2012
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    42
    Location
    North Creek N.Y.
    Tractor
    Kioti CK35 HST

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

    Get a hydrostatic, you will not regret it. Any kind of shifting gears on hilly terrain or slopes can be a pain in the you know what. Box blade for leveling and adding stone in driveway. Livestock will keep the field down, and as far as post-hole digger, how much would you use it? If only to do one big job, then I would rent one. Bottom line, get the tractor that you want, which requires homework, testdrives, etc., etc. As a previous post said get a diesel. Good luck!!!!

  9. #9
    Super Star Member murphy1244's Avatar
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    Ohio
    Tractor
    Kioti DK 40-Massey ferguson 135-Ventrac 4500 Diesel

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

    Murph ------------

  10. #10
    Super Star Member murphy1244's Avatar
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    Location
    Ohio
    Tractor
    Kioti DK 40-Massey ferguson 135-Ventrac 4500 Diesel

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

    How soon you need one? My advice is to read this forum and other tractor blogs for awhile before you start shopping so you will get an idea of what you need not what sales wants you to have.
    Murph ------------

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