Choosing between sub-compact and compact options.

   #1  

LuckyLuke1184

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I'm sure this subject has been done to death but I really need some informed minds to help me confirm my own thinking. We have a (new) 30 acre property with about 8 acres of lawn and former horse pasture (recently brush hogged) and the remainder is hilly forest that I am starting to manage for timber and maple syrup production.

Primarily, I need a tractor for mowing, garden work and then snow removal on the gravel portion of our (long) driveway in the winter. A much smaller percentage of the time I would use a tractor for tree work and moving/pulling collection tanks of sap.

I can wrap my head around the idea that my max usage would really benefit from a compact tractor but when I think of my day-to-day it would seem like something in the sub-contact range would be ideal.

At this point I have looked closely at a Kubota BX23S and a Kioti CK2610 as my two ends of the spectrum. I really like the factory loader and backhoe of BX, it sounds like it could handle the finish mowing well with its mid-mount deck and since it is lightweight. However, my best guess is that once it is out in the woods it would be outclassed quickly by something on a larger frame like the Kioti.
 
   #2  

tamersinger

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lx2610 with mid mount pto sounds better. you could get a b2601 which still has a drive over mower deck option kinda the sweet spot
 
   #3  

dodge man

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I owned a BX for 10 years and now own a John Deere 2025r. The JD is considered a compact, although a smaller one. You will be much happier with a compact. I have a mid mount mower on my JD and it cuts well. The big advantage of a compact is the larger tires, they ride better on rough ground and give better traction.
 
   #4  

Rdrcr

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If you’re looking for something slightly larger than the BX, the B2301/B2601 would be great. Nothing wrong with Kioti or other brands/suggestions for your planned usage.

Mike
 
   #5  

DieselBound

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Understand what kind of weight you need to move. Make sure you get something that can handle that weight PLUS. Condition of ground. PTO implements, what size is thought to be needed will determine HP. If you can get rear remotes it could prove to be a great move: hydraulic top links are, IMO, a must- have to have the hydraulics in the back to do that!

I was once planning on buying super sacks of feed. My B7800's loader couldn't lift that weight but it's 3pt could, or so I thought. Lift capacity is usually listed close to the machine. I failed to note that the 2k lbs averages out as it's on a 4' pallet! Tractor could barely lift using a set of 3pt forks. And, further, up and down trailer ramps when you can't lift very high was a big FAIL. I managed to get ONE such load off a trailer and that was it. I now handle pallets of feed (though I gave up on super sacks) with my Kioti (loader rated at 2,700 lbs), and, due to the lever effect, it feels a lot heavier, it's borderline strain.

My B7800 is like a hybrid CUT - SCUT. It's a small framed tractor, but it's got 30hp. A used "L" series in this range is a great option. Note that I mention "used." My B7800 had 738 hrs on it when I bought it. It now has 1,800 hrs. And other than a job I had to use it for, it's never left the farm: all repairs, which haven't been that many, have been done by myself- all as I learned about tractors.
 
   #6  

jeff9366

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Primarily I need a tractor for mowing, garden work and then snow removal on the gravel portion of our (long) driveway in the winter. A much smaller percentage of the time I would use a tractor for tree work and moving/pulling collection tanks of sap.

All of the tractor applications you have specified call for Three Point Hitch mounted implements or Front End Loader (FEL) work. None of the tractor applications you have listed call for a Backhoe. Forget the Backhoe, instead budget for a heavier, more stable tractor.


We have a 30 acre property with about 8 acres of lawn and former horse pasture (recently brush hogged). The remainder is hilly forest that I am starting to manage for timber and maple syrup production.

Subcompact tractors are best regarded as wonderful lawn mowers with the ability to do light landscaping tasks. The practical top speed of a subcompact tractor over uneven ground is 5 - mph. You will find low mowing speed of perhaps 3-mph ( 1-1/2 acre per hour. ) tedious mowing eight acres regularly. Small tires on a subcompact tractor yield a very rough ride over uneven ground. Former horse pasture qualifies as uneven ground.

Subcompact tractors with a Mid Mount Mower have about 3" or ground clearance with mower attached, 9" ground clearance with mower removed. Removing/replacing a Mid Mount Mower, with its front PTO shaft, is a tedious, sweaty task. Subcompacts have two-range (2) HST transmissions. Subcompacts generally draw 48" wide implements.

Ground clearance due to larger wheels and tires is the single greatest difference in tractor specs between (all brands) of Subcompact tractors and the lightest Compact tractors. Larger wheels and tires permit compact tractors to bridge holes, ruts and tree debris with less operator and implement perturbation relative to subcompact tractors. One can mow a field faster with larger wheels and tires. One or two mph with larger wheels/tires will significantly reduce field mowing time.

Compact tractors of 1,600 - 1,800 pounds bare tractor weight have larger wheels and tires. Larger wheels yield greater ground clearance, usually at least 12", and a much smoother ride over rough ground. With 12" ground clearance you can tractor cultivate a garden until crop reaches 12" to 14" height.

Compact tractors have greater FEL lift capacity than Subcompacts and usually have three-range (3) HST transmissions. Compact tractors generally draw 54" or 60" implements. Allowing for a 6" overlap in use, a considerable improvement over 48" implements.

MOWING CALCULATOR: Mowing Calcuator | How many acres can I mow in an hour

Five reasons owner/operators trade up from a Subcompact Tractor:
More tractor weight.
More FEL lift capacity.
Greater ground clearance
Three-range (3) HST rather than two-range (2) HST.
(Lower LOW, Higher, HIGH) (Higher ground speed.)
More tractor engine horsepower to operate wider PTO powered implements.


VIDEO:




Like many new to tractors, you are thinking too small/light.

I recommend buying a 3,500 pound to 4,000 pound bare weight tractor, 66" wide, typified by Kubota's MX series. This is a high volume compact tractor category; every tractor manufacturer has 2-5 models in these mid-weights.

A Kubota L3560, with standard adjustable rear wheel stance, would also be safe.

You will be much safer working thirty acres of hilly forest.

When considering a tractor purchase bare tractor weight first, tractor horsepower second, rear axle width third (stability), rear wheel/tire ballast fourth (stability and traction).


BUY ENOUGH TRACTOR.
 
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   #8  

kenmbz

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I have 6 acres and my SCUT is great for that. I know someone with 30 acres and a SCUT, not a good fit.
Agree moving up a step would speed up all of your work.
I love having the BH and use it quite a bit. But if you're plans don;t call for long trenches and digging straight down, a toothbar on a loader may have you covered with renting a BH when needed.
 
   #9  

sea2summit

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I'm sure this subject has been done to death but I really need some informed minds to help me confirm my own thinking. We have a (new) 30 acre property with about 8 acres of lawn and former horse pasture (recently brush hogged) and the remainder is hilly forest that I am starting to manage for timber and maple syrup production.

Primarily, I need a tractor for mowing, garden work and then snow removal on the gravel portion of our (long) driveway in the winter. A much smaller percentage of the time I would use a tractor for tree work and moving/pulling collection tanks of sap.

I can wrap my head around the idea that my max usage would really benefit from a compact tractor but when I think of my day-to-day it would seem like something in the sub-contact range would be ideal.

At this point I have looked closely at a Kubota BX23S and a Kioti CK2610 as my two ends of the spectrum. I really like the factory loader and backhoe of BX, it sounds like it could handle the finish mowing well with its mid-mount deck and since it is lightweight. However, my best guess is that once it is out in the woods it would be outclassed quickly by something on a larger frame like the Kioti.
This much I can say, if you get that BX you'll get a bigger tractor in a year with the chores you listed.

How much do these tanks of sap weigh? Just because the loader is rated to lift it doesn't mean you should be driving around with it, I like to drive with not more than 3/4 of the capacity and much prefer 1/2 the capacity. Also in the smaller tractors (specifically the BX with turf tires) the tires can't handle the weight in a FEL. If your land is anything less than well maintained dirt road to drive the tractor with a load I'd strongly consider looking at a much larger tractor.

Not sure what tree work means to you but to me it means moving trees around that I've felled or wind has dropped. Typically you're going to drag these or cut them up and carry sections in the FEL. Like Jeff said, you need weight for this job.

I personally hate mid-mount mowers and like rear finish only slightly more. Mowing a lawn with a tractor at 3 mph is painful. Just buy a zero turn for mowing that much grass and take that task out of the tractor shopping equation so it's not a distraction from real work you need the tractor to do.

ETA for what it's worth I bought my MX when I had six acres and my BX because the BX couldn't do enough work in the time I had available to do the work. So think about how much time you want to be doing these chores too. 10 horsepower will do everything 100 horsepower will do but it will likely take about 30 times as long to get it done (my BX took 45 minutes+ to dig a 8" pine tree stump and the MX took six minutes).
 
   #10  

Tractorable

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For the OP’s needs I’d be looking at a zero turn for the mowing and a Kubota Grand L or MX series or equivalent tractor from another manufacturer.
 
 
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