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  1. #1
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    Dixmont, ME

    Default First time buying a tractor: need opinions on what size and snow removal

    Okay, so I haven't purchased the tractor yet and I need advice on two things: 1)what size tractor I should get and 2) info regarding a plow blade for it. (vs a snow blower or conventional plow truck)

    Question #1: The number one reason for wanting to purchase a tractor at this time is for snow removal. We live on a big hill, the driveway is quite steep, it's at least 1/4 mile long and we live in central Maine (which = lots of snow!). I'm under the impression that tractors are less likely to break down than plow trucks and are in general a better investment. We will use the tractor for other things, such as mow the lawn (maybe an acre or two, wide open but hilly), remove brush and small trees, maintain drainage ditches... We've been looking at ~30HP machines, is this enough/too much?

    Question #2: After seeing prices of tractors and front attaching snow blowers, we quickly learned that we cannot afford the $nowblower attachment this year and that our remaining options are a snow blade or a rear attaching snowblower. Is pushing snow with a tractor really much easier/better than with a plow truck? Is the front snowblower attachment that much better than a blade? And finally, are the rear attaching snow blowers a total pain? (I imagine they are)

    I would appreciate any input! Thanks
    Last edited by UpOnAHill; 11-06-2011 at 03:29 AM. Reason: To make title more specific

  2. #2
    Elite Member irvingj's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
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    2,621
    Location
    Etna, NH
    Tractor
    2007 MF GC2310 TLB

    Default Re: First time buying a tractor: need opinions on what size and snow removal

    First, my tractor, a SCUT, sounds like it would probably be too small for your use, but I imagine it could do the job. I bought it primarily for snow removal, with plans to do other things as well.

    Concerning snow removal: First of all, I don't believe anything beats a plow for speed. But -- plowing will always leave ridges, and eventually you may run out of places to put or push the snow. If you have all kinds of space, a plow is the way to go.

    My driveway opens onto a dirt road, and ridges at the top definitely become a liability in the winter, as they obstruct vision. My driveway also tends to get narrower and narrower as winter progresses, if it's done with a plow. I opted for a blower, front-mount, for my little GC. It works extremely well for me. BTW- my driveway is also quite steep, but only about 250' long, plus a large area in front of the garage.

    I never have any ridges. It will throw snow well into the woods, even across the road when I clear the top of the driveway and around the mailbox. And this on 23 HP, 18+ at the PTO. Yes, the blower was an expensive option, but I've never regretted it. I would definitely try to save up for it.

    I've also found hat the little GC does an excellent job of mowing; I managed to find a used mower deck for it --as an experiment. Now, you couldn't pry it from me.

    The 4WD is very helpful, not only for snow removal, but also for mowing on some of my steep hills. It's also amazing where you can fit a tractor this size!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails First time buying a tractor: need opinions on what size and snow removal-2-23-09-1-jpg   First time buying a tractor: need opinions on what size and snow removal-blowing-12-17-1-jpg   First time buying a tractor: need opinions on what size and snow removal-lawn-mower-steroids-6-7-a   First time buying a tractor: need opinions on what size and snow removal-dsc03316-jpg  
    Last edited by irvingj; 11-06-2011 at 06:39 AM. Reason: additional info
    '07 GC2310 TLB, 2360 snowblower, 2325 MMM, Bro-Tek thumb, Woods GTC40-2 tiller, Woods RB-60 back blade, KK TYR-60 landscape rake, DR 60" Power Grader
    '05 VW Jetta Wgn TDI
    Numerous vintage Japanese motorcycles

  3. #3
    Platinum Member High Compression's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
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    565
    Location
    De Soto, KS
    Tractor
    Kubota L5740-3/ Kubota ZD21 pro60

    Default Re: First time buying a tractor: need opinions on what size and snow removal

    Welcome to TBN! First thing is first. I have been doing snow removal for over 10 years now professionally and really since I was old enough to drive a tractor. I have used trucks and other various equipment through the years. I will say that a truck does not and will not hold up to pushing snow like a piece of equipment. So in my opinion don't even consider a truck for this purpose.

    Now, with that said. If you are only plowing your driveway, (not a big parking lot etc.) I would recommend a blade instead of a blower. The blade is faster, way less to maintain, and as you saw much cheaper. If the snow gets too deep, and I mean 3'-4' in one snow, then you might have to plow a couple times, but that's just more fun.

    Size wise, 30hp would be plenty for what you mentioned. You could even go smaller, but there are other considerations. Do you want a cab? If so, I would suggest the kubota B3030 or B3000. They have a full cab, you can get a loader, snow blade, belly mower, rear finish mower etc. They are a great tractor and I have pushed though 5' drifts with my B3030 and my BX2660.

    If you don't want a cab and you want a little smaller frame, the BX2660 is a great choice. It is 25hp, and will push snow like crazy. You can also run a 60" belly mower or finish mower with it no problem. Loader option etc.

    Lastly, budget will be a determining factor. You will have to check current prices of course and deals. Kubota does 0% and a free loader on certain models. I believe I paid somewhere around $27k, for my B3030, Cab, a/c, heat, etc. loader, snow plow sub-frame and snow plow.
    I think I paid around $15k for my BX2660, loader, snow plow sub frame, snow plow and a spreader.
    Good luck! Happy tractoring! Do us a favor though, when you get your new tractor, you have to post pictures like a proud new papa.
    "It is better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and prove it."

  4. #4
    Elite Member Dmace's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    3,838
    Location
    Wakefield, NH
    Tractor
    Kioti CK20 HST

    Default Re: First time buying a tractor: need opinions on what size and snow removal

    I was going to recommend a 30hp tractor as well but since you mention lawn mowing then I feel a lighter 20+hp tractor like the Kioti CK20, Bobcat CT122 or similar would be better and cheaper. Plus the CK20/CT122 is incredibly strong for it's size, 1074lb capacity loader, 22hp/17hp pto, etc... If you didn't have room to push the snow to the sides, I would recommend a snowblower but with a driveway over 1/4 mile long it will take a long time to clear. Your better off with a good front mounted blade that can angle.

    Check out Michigan Iron and Equipment's selection of front mounted blades that use the loader controls. They are a dealer that's on this site and have had plenty of very positive responses from other users.

    Derek
    Kioti CK20HST
    KL120 FEL // KB2365 BH // 60" JRW 3ph snowblower // 48" HD Boxblade
    Sims-Cab Depot heated cab
    Quote Originally Posted by DiamondPilot
    Now it's time for Ford and GM to step up

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Deere Dude's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
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    2,213
    Location
    Hohenwald, TN
    Tractor
    John Deere 3720

    Default Re: First time buying a tractor: need opinions on what size and snow removal

    I have a JD 3720 with a FEL and rear blade. I just had to try it last year for the snow we had in Wisconsin. I was having a great time pushing and piling and moving snow around, until I found that having to push all the previous snows a long way from the driveway was a pain and took a long time. I decided after 1/2 of the year was over to jump on my X740, maybe 24 HP, and blow the snow with a 47"? 2 stage snow-blower. Once the snow is in the woods or 50 feet away, you don't have to worry about it anymore. Unless the drive has bigger stones always coming through the hard-pack, I would use a snow-blower.
    For the time being in your case, I would get a x2xx series with with a front mount snow-blower. It should work with your lawn and the driveway quite well. I have a X740 that I wouldn't hesitate to tackle a 1/4 mile of driveway with, and it's a lot smaller than a x2xx series tractor, but I don't live in Maine and don't know how many inches you get all the time.
    JD 3720 with R4s and bulldozer capabilities.
    X740

  6. #6
    Gold Member
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    Mar 2007
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    399
    Location
    WNY
    Tractor
    NH T1510 Hydro

    Default Re: First time buying a tractor: need opinions on what size and snow removal

    I live in WNY snow belt, and have had all mentioned. I now have a 30 HP CUT with a rear blower and FEL. When you blow snow, you only handle it ONCE! NO pushing back banks.... etc... Good luck trying to plow a 3' snowfall. Just my opinion, which may be worth less than 2 cents........

  7. #7
    Elite Member nybirdman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    3,216
    Location
    north of upstate ny
    Tractor
    Kubota L4240 HSTC,L3000DT

    Default Re: First time buying a tractor: need opinions on what size and snow removal

    What is the average snow-fall for your area?
    My take on this:
    less than 100"=FEL and Rear blade
    100"-150" =Front Blade and rear blade
    150" + =snow blower
    Blowers are expensive,the fronts maybe twice the money,but much easier to use.
    I lived/worked for ten years in Central NY,200"-300" per year,snow-blower country.I now live in northern NY and average 150",front snow-plow and rear blade.
    You will need 4WD,FEL and 25-30hp.Tire choice....lots of reading here.My choice was R1's but I have a dedicated mower.

  8. #8
    Elite Member
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    Sep 2008
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    3,997
    Location
    NE USA
    Tractor
    JD LA115, WH 244, Troy Built Horse 8 HP

    Post Re: First time buying a tractor: need opinions on what size and snow removal

    Quote Originally Posted by UpOnAHill View Post
    Okay, so I haven't purchased the tractor yet and I need advice on two things: 1)what size tractor I should get and 2) info regarding a plow blade for it. (vs a snow blower or conventional plow truck)

    Question #1: The number one reason for wanting to purchase a tractor at this time is for snow removal. We live on a big hill, the driveway is quite steep, it's at least 1/4 mile long and we live in central Maine (which = lots of snow!). I'm under the impression that tractors are less likely to break down than plow trucks and are in general a better investment. We will use the tractor for other things, such as mow the lawn (maybe an acre or two, wide open but hilly), remove brush and small trees, maintain drainage ditches... We've been looking at ~30HP machines, is this enough/too much?

    Question #2: After seeing prices of tractors and front attaching snow blowers, we quickly learned that we cannot afford the $nowblower attachment this year and that our remaining options are a snow blade or a rear attaching snowblower. Is pushing snow with a tractor really much easier/better than with a plow truck? Is the front snowblower attachment that much better than a blade? And finally, are the rear attaching snow blowers a total pain? (I imagine they are)

    I would appreciate any input! Thanks

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____________________________________________


    About your dilema and snow removal;

    Many members use smaller garden tractors for long driveways with and without the soft cabs as well.

    If you visit the John Deere home page they have a selection guide that fits you to the size of mule you need have and the various attachments.

    The simple two wheel drive garden tractors with rear weights and chains and snow blowers will move a lot of snow with little work and less money spent.

    The last thing you want to do is push snow as it leaves snow banks that will drift in and this is big issue as the banks will freeze on you and your driveway will narrow because of it.

    The upper range of garden tractors are 19-20 plus horse power and have lots of power for mowing and snow casting.

    A small 42 inch blower and chains may be all you need but you may need to spend more time removing snow and would want the better soft cab from BERCO as they are very substantial in construction.

    We had a 12 horse Original International Cub Cadet with a single stage
    snow blower with rear chains and our driveway was steep and long and it never had a problem with snow removal.

    I purchased a JD 19.5 horse lawnmower with weights, chains and two stage snow caster for just under $3,700.00 in March.

    I have been very impressed with this John Deere and it has lots of traction when mowing as I left the rear weights on during mowing season and I have had zero issues with traction mowing my slopes.

    It may be simpler to simply rent any equipment you may need to do the work you eventually wish to do or simply have it done as you may not be able to find the time to do these things or find the expense of attachments are simply not justified in many cases.

    I would simply purhcase a garden tractor so that you have something to remove snow with this winter and then carry through the summer to see how well it works for you and you will be out less money the first year.


    When you get into maintaining drainage ditches that is another animal entirely and the work is very involved with maintaining grades and minimising erosion.

    Its better to simply live there a year with smaller garden tractor with a mower, snow blower, a dump cart and posssibly a monster cart from Tractor Supply to haul things and then decide how much work you really wish to do.

    You need traction to mow and a rear wieght kit like the ones for the John Deere lawn mowers is an excellent way to get traction for mowing UP AND DOWN SLOPES if they are greater than 15 degrees only.

  9. #9
    New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    6
    Location
    Dixmont, ME

    Default Re: First time buying a tractor: need opinions on what size and snow removal

    Thank you all for the input and specific recommendations. More things to think about...

    After consulting Google regarding our average snowfall, it turns out we fit into the 100-150" range. I would have guessed much more! It sure seems like more, but the internet doesn't lie, right?

    We are specifically looking at a Massey Ferguson 1529 or 1526-- the latter being a brandnew model that isn't even in the manuals we got. The 1526 seems like it will be better for mowing b/c a belly mower will attach to it, but I'm afraid it will fall short in the snow removal arena (our driveway really sucks) and perhaps in other tasks around the property. At this point, I'm leaning more towards the 1529 since our primary task is to remove snow and mowing the lawn with the machine would be a secondary, less important task.

    As soon as we make our puchase, I will post a pic like a proud mama

  10. #10
    Super Member crazyal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    6,413
    Location
    Northern Vermont

    Default Re: First time buying a tractor: need opinions on what size and snow removal

    I wouldn't even think of anything less than 30hp. What I would look for is something like a kubota B3030 or the equal version of the Massy. I'll have to disagree with some of the others here, it's not the amount of snow you get but how many places you can put it. Also how big of storms you get.

    I do a little more than you do and did it with a 2 1/2 ton dump truck with a 10' plow. While it did the job I would run out of room towards the middle of January and have to use the dozer to push the piles into the woods. Also unless you can be on top of it if you get a 3' foot dumping of snow you'll be fighting plowing it (with a truck or tractor). Snow banks quickly build up during those storms and you may run out of room before the snow is removed.

    With a plow you have to think way ahead. You need to push it as far as you can out of your way at the beginning of the season. You'll want to have the places you can pile it ready to go and close enough so you don't have to try to push the snow down your driveway too far to the next point. On a hill finding places close enough together can be difficult.

    A snow blower is slower. If your driveway has fist size rocks they will play havoc with a snow blower. You'll be replacing shear bolts unless you walk down your driveway and remove them before you get snow. With a snow blower the snow is gone, no piles to worry about. If you get 3' it's just going to take you longer but you'll be able to clear it. A rear blower on a long driveway is going to strain your neck, it'll be even worse if you have lots of turns.

    If you think you may want a front blower in the future then you should decide ahead of time if you want the factory blower it may use a center pto (chances are if you get a center mount mower deck it'll need it too). Not all models offer it and the ones that do it could be an option. Get the option as most dealers will install it free on a new tractor. A rear blower may need a hydraulic remote to rotate the chute, again if it's not standard and you'll need it get it when you buy the tractor. Also if you are going to get a front mounted blower in the future then I would add about 5hp more as you loose a little when you go from a rear pto to a front pto.

    They do may aftermarket front mount blowers that use the rear pto.
    Kubota L4240,Case 580K backhoe, Case 450 Dozer

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