I made a decision a couple of years ago to move away from some of the larger scale logging and excavation work I had been doing in the pacific Northwest and downsize to more tractor service work.
I wanted a sturdy machine with a heavy 3-point hitch system and a direct PTO. I started shopping for skip-loaders as most agricultural machines are woefully underbuilt in regards to their frames and especially their front loader assemblies. Most skip loaders have backhoe scale arms,cylinders, buckets and lift capacities as well as heavy 4X4 front axles.
I intended to use the machine for mowing, grading, auger, rototilling, and tree service work/logging. Uniforest, FARMI, TajFun, Wallenstein & Farsgard all make 3-point logging attachments which are very popular in Europe and on the Eastern seaboard in the USA and Canada. Take a minute and browse "tractor skidding winches" or one of the above brand names - you'll be amazed at what you'll find.
I shopped for both new and used -- New Holland, John Deere, CAT, Case, etc. One problem with most of the new models (regardless of brand & aside from their $70K pricetag)was that their PYO's are typically hydraulic units anymore and there's a significant loss of HP - a typical 70HP tractor for instance will only net 40-43HP with a hydraulic PTO plus you typically have to have additional cooling capacity if you really want to use your PTO for anything serious.
To me, this was a dealbreaker, so I satrted shopping used machines. In the process I looked at FERMEC machines. FERMEC was a subsidiary of Massey Ferguson Industrial Construction Division in the 1990's. Around 2000 TEREX bought out FERMEC as TEREX wanted to expand into "smaller" equipment since most of their products were large mining type equipment.
I own a FERMEC backhoe as well now and the build quality on these machines far surpasses anything I've seen produced stateside. My 650B skiploader has a heavy Cararo front axle, a turbo 4 cylinder Perkins engine and a very heavy 4n1 bucket assembly. The unit weighs 14K and you can see where it all is. The subframe, loader assembly, gussets are all very heavy duty. The pins, bosses and hydraulics are all excavator grade and oversized. The thing is a beast. And the PTO is direct, 540 & 1100 RPM.
I feel that these are some of the most overlooked tractor values available as brand loyalty in the traditional US market has kept many a blind eye to other options. I know that JCB is the largest backhoe manufacturer in the world and builds a heavy machine (much like the FERMEC) but in the US most people will only look at CAT, JD or Case. Too bad, because they're really missing out.
The other great thing about FERMEC/TEREX skip loaders is that because they don't have as large a footprint in the US market and their name recognition isn't up there with the traditional US machines they make for a really good value. I paid something of a premium for mine as it was a very low hour machine that had had exceptional care taken of it.
I'm planning on working this machine for a few years to get my last kid through college and then I'll kept it for my "weekend warrior" toy as we cut a lot of wood, p;low snow and always seem to be lifting something or needing to grade our driveway. we live on acreage and have ~ 2000ft of gravel drive to get to our house.
I'd give a thumbs up to anyone looking for a sturdy multi-use tractor to take a look at one of these machines. I'll include some photos below.
I listed the manufacturer in the data field above as Massey since they website didn't have FERMEC and wouldn't take the review w/out selecting something.