Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation

   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #1  


New member
Apr 28, 2021
0 tractor experience female here. Trying to decide if I need a tractor & if so what size/attachments. I've been doing some research but I'm overwhelmed by the options and all the different tractor lines within each brand. I also have the problem of having $50k taste on a $30k budget. :rolleyes:

Property background:
  • 75 acres in Vermont: approximately 40 acres are forest, 20 acres hay field (managed by neighbor farmer), 10 acres scrubby brush, 5 acres maintained lawn/garden/pathways
  • 1/4 mile long gravel driveway, about 1/3 of it is steep; local plow guy wants $200 per job to plow/sand
  • 80" avg. annual snowfall
  • Closest dealers to me are about 25min away: Kubota & John Deere. Then Kioti about 50 min away.
  • I am inexperienced, and really hard on my equipment
Current setup:
  • 2006 F250 150k+ miles beat up diesel plow truck that has been a money pit, needs new fuel injectors, with poor condition boss V plow and which I keep getting stuck all over the driveway in winter. Yes, I have chains. The truck is too big for me. I don't like it. Worth maybe $6k give or take according to my mechanic
  • 2019 Kubota Zero Turn 60" mow deck. It has maybe 25 hours on it. I love it. I love speeding around and whipping turns. Bought new for $8,500. Still owe $4,500 with 0% interest. Not sure how much it's worth now on trade or private sale. I do have the cash to pay it off if I want to.
  • SUV with 2,000 pound towing capacity, not currently set up with tow hitch
  • Lots of shovels and wheelbarrows and several helpful friends.
What I do/want to do:
  • Currently do- Means of hauling stuff to the dump every couple of months, and occasionally picking up a load of soil or garden manure maybe once or twice a year, or hauling large purchases
  • Currently do- Maintaining the driveway snow in winter. If I do this with a tractor I need plow/blower front facing; I do not have the experience or desire to do rear facing. I also need a means to stay warm (cab?) because I am fussy and hate the winter cold.
  • Currently do- mow 5 acres of lawn
  • Currently have- the truck serves as an extra (3rd) vehicle that makes me feel safe in case my or my husband's car is temporarily out of commission
  • Currently do by hand but would love to do with a backhoe attachment- digging holes for planting edible trees and fruit bushes
  • Currently do by hand but would love to have a loader bucket- haul wood chips, soil, garden manure
  • High priority want to do but currently can't- maintain the bumpy gravel driveway, and be able to pull the stones from the edges back onto the driveway
  • Medium priority want to do but currently can't- rototill my garden spaces
  • Maybe want to do- brush hog 2-3 acres of scrubby brush
  • Yes, I could pay someone to mow or plow, but I want to do it myself. So that option is out.
  • Get a better quality truck & plow, keep the zero turn, continue to struggle with completing other projects by hand?
  • Sell the truck and zero turn, get a tractor that can do it all, put a tow hitch on my SUV and get a small trailer for it?
  • Other options?

If I get a tractor, what size & attachments should I get?

Thoughts, advice, and suggestions much appreciated!

Thank you,
   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #2  
Whew, that's a lot of requirements to figure out.

If you have five acres of lawn to mow, unless you are retired/stay at home/otherwise full time professional home owner I would keep the zero turn. Tractor's are really slow for finish mowing, and with the other tasks you list I think the right tractor would be pretty heavy to drive around on your nice lawn.

You mention 1/4 mile driveway with some steep area, that steep spot is really going to drive the size and weight of tractor you need to look at. It's hard to give a recommendation without seeing it but if you're getting more than say 10" of snow and you have to push it up the hill in stead of pull it down you'd need a very significant tractor. If you can pull the snow down you won't need as significant a tractor. The front end loader (FEL) is designed to load material, not really to dig or push and the forces typically associated with a snowplow are lateral forces which further strains the loader frame. Not saying it can't be done or that it's uncommon but you need to really think about the largest FEL you can with a smallish plow. Tractors are made to pull which is why you see the rear blades for driveway maintenance tasks.

I want to say the Kubota MX's with a cab would be the right tractor for you but the LX's probably also worth looking at. I don't have any experience with the other brands.

Good luck!
   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #3  
Good morning! Yes, there are quite a few tractor brands out there and a BIG selection.

To try and answer a few of your questions:

Keep the zero turn.... you like using it and it takes care of mowing the 5 acres. A lot of tractors have the option of a mid mount mower (MMM), but will be slower and more cumbersome to use than the ZT. Rear mount mowers do a good job, but again, not comparable to a ZT.

You will definitely need to be in the 'compact' tractor size, not a subcompact. Something like a 3 series JD, Kubota B2601 / L2501, or the Kioti CK2610. when you talk about cabs.... well just think big $$$. You will need the size / weight to do the things you describe, like maintaining the driveway. Another thought is the HP. Higher HP is good. Can what you describe be done with 25 HP? .... yes.... but it will be done easier with higher HP. Especially if you want to have a front snow blower.... it will eat up power. You will need to get a tractor that has a mid PTO in order to use a front blower.... not all tractors have them available.

I have done A LOT OF WORK with a subcompact, It was never unable to complete the task, it just takes longer. If that is all that is affordable, I would still get a SCUT. In a few years, you could upgrade if needed. You may be more comfortable using a small tractor while 'learning'. You can then get all the attachments you need and even the BH.... at an affordable price. Better to have a SCUT than no tractor at all! You could probably get all the things you are looking for in the tractor for under $30K

Using an SUV to pull a trailer would be OK if you are going to pick up the occasional large item.... NOT for picking up soil, mulch, stone, etc... Towing the tractor would be out f the question. The weight capacity just isn't there. Getting a mid-size pickup that can tow at least 5-6K lbs would be more suitable. For example, my Nissan Frontier can tow 6700 lbs. So, allowing 1500lbs for trailer weight, I can still get 2- 2 1/2 tons of material.

You have a lot of research to do.... I would suggest going to the different dealers, find out which tractors will be suitable for your needs. See which tractor you feel most comfortable on / operating. Make up a spreadsheet comparing the features, price, capabilities.

Depending on your budget, you may have to wait on doing / getting everything. Maybe wait on the truck, and get a tractor suitable for your needs.

Good luck doing your research! Try to set priorities and match the tractor to those needs.
   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #4  
Good morning and welcome to the net.
If you have a Yanmar dealer near by I would suggest you try
a SA324 or a YT235 very easy to operate.

   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #5  
Wow, $200 to plow the driveway once? Around here they would charge $20 or $25.

The problem with a $30k budget is that you will pay almost a third of that just on the cab. And a front blower will eat up maybe another $3k to $4k. Not much left over for the tractor!
   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #6  
On a budget, take a look at a 3025e from John Deere or a Kubota L2501. Under 25 horsepower let’s you get away from emissions equipment. A box blade and/or a rear blade for maintaining your drive. A rear mount snowblower is the cheapest route there.

If you have more of a budget look at the 30 plus horsepower JD or Kubota tractors. Then you can go with a front mount snow blower.

A lot of debate on using a tractor to mow with a mid mount mower. I like them but in your case I’d keep the zero turn and skip the tractor for mowing.

The final answer, yes you need a tractor.
   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #7  
Kubota LX series seem made for you.Vermont =4WD,Cab ,front plow or blower.FEL of course.I would advise the new R14 tires also.
   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #8  
Front mounted snowbowers can be pricey. If you seldom get more than 1.5-2 feet of snow at a time and no drifts to deal with, consider an inverted snowblower. This way you can for sure try to get a cabbed tractor. With 80 acres, aim for a 35+Hp tractor. Here is a video of me in my TYM T474 (48.3Hp) tractor for illustration. Attachments sounds like brush hog, snowblower of sorts and a box blade to grade driveway/move dirt.

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   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation
  • Thread Starter
Thanks to all for chiming in and trying to help a girl out! Ok. Here's what I'm thinking. I'm going to sell the F250 and keep the zero turn. The cost of a front snowblower and cab is about 2/3 of what it would cost to get a decent, cheap plow truck, and then I'll still have that 3rd vehicle and capacity to run to the dump that I want. Plus I'll also be saving money because I don't need a mower/deck. And since I won't need to snowblow/plow with the tractor I can stay on the smaller side and basically just get a loader for doing odds and ends chores. I would REALLY like a backhoe, but most people advise me that it is a lot of money and I should just rent something instead. I dunno, for me, it's mostly about the convenience...

So I do have an appointment with the Kubota dealer this afternoon. It's not my first time. I've done quotes two years ago with Kubota twice, and Kioti once. But I think this time I'm actually ready to pull the trigger, and maybe have worked out a decent-ish plan.
   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #10  
Cool. Post pictures when you get it home.