I finally joined TractorByNet after reading many threads in preparation for buying a tractor. Thanks to all members who offered their advice about choosing kubota and Massey-Ferguson. We went red. I just had my first real work session on the machine yesterday and it was great. The power was stunning to me. As the day went on I got better with the loader, but I'm still jerky with the backhoe. It was real satisfying to do the work myself, and not have to pay someone else to do it. Now I look forward to learning more about operating and maintaining my tractor from all of you! Thanks again for all the advice so far.

The most important tractor job for us in the long run will be snowblowing a 700' driveway at the new house that we're building this year, and working a garden. No lawn. After hiring a mini-excavator operator for several tasks, we decided to get a tractor now so that we can take over that kind of work. We considered orange, green, yellow, and red. Orange and green are by far the most popular brands around here for small machines. I think our red one might be the first one in my Valley. Dealerships range from 45 to 100 miles away.

I ruled out green early on because a number of locals thought there were chronic problems with their smaller tractors. I also got negative feedback about the green dealer, especially their sales force. So I got quotes for orange, red, and yellow tractors. Cub Cadet lost out because they were most expensive, didn't seem to have a stellar reputation with people, and the dealer didn't have any to see and test drive. Plus the person I talked to just didn't make any case for it. Kubota was the front runner, because they are well-made, reliable, and definitely a known quanitity in the Methow. But Valley Tractor didn't have any available, for at least 3 weeks, and there was no deal to be had. In the end we went with red, and the choice was easy for three reasons: 1) least expensive, 2) it seemed to be a better overall machine, and 3) the dealer had one on the lot.

We got the Massey-Ferguson GC2410 TLB. The dealer, Central Washington Equipment, is very much an old-fashioned kind of place, dirty inside and out, no salespeople (we dealt with the owner), and minimal computerization. It was quite a contrast to the clean, well-lighted milieu of the Kubota dealer. But we were impressed by the shop--at least half a dozen mechanics, and tractors being worked on that were stripped down practically to their chassis--a real serious fix-it place. It seemed that the low-overhead nature of the dealership worked in our favor in terms of getting a good price ($16k for the TLB). We also got a Rankin ZLL-130 rototiller and Rankin box scraper, with an MF snowblower to come this fall. The dealer threw in a Rankin thumb, front tire sealant, hooks on the loader bucket and a chain for no extra charge.

The beautiful red machine was delivered Friday and I am having fun learning how to use the loader and backhoe. There is a lot of stuff that can be done with a small machine at our construction site, so the motivation to learn is really high! My wife tried out the rototiller for a few feet and its power was stunning. We have only worked by hand and with small walk-behind machines before. It makes getting the garden going in the virgin ground that much more exciting.

I've never really been a motor machines kind of guy, but I have to admit this whole process of researching and getting a tractor has given me a whole new perspective and interest in using and maintaining a set of powerful tools!