Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation

   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #31  
One more thing regarding Kioti. They are having their spring sale. Check under Financing section on their website. We took advantage of a great savings when we bought ours. One thing to note is that at one of the dealers we checked with did not even know about the sale package we were looking at so we went elsewhere.
I have respect for Kioti. Problem is, some of their Dealers are, quite frankly, amateur hour. But that's to be expected when you're dealing with a company that's trying to get a footing in a big market.
   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #32  

With 75 acres, tractor ownership should be a condition of residency in VT. Lots of good feedback on TBN for any question related to rural survival. Before parting with too much $$ at a dealership, talk with friends, neighbors, fiends of friends who have experience with tractors. Personally, I don't buy anything new. If you do, be prepared to learn that a phD in computers will be as necessary for your tractor as for your Lexus. Fortunately I am able to do a lot of my own repairs on all my pre-1990s equipment. An FEL is indispensable, but not necessary on every machine.
   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #33  
OP, you need to PRIORITIZE. In one of your posts your mention that you want a backhoe for "convenience." That's not realistic thinking when you're specifying a ton of other things and with only $30k for all. Figure that that backhoe convenience is likely going to cost you a cab (and then some; I have zero regrets from going for a cab and not shelling out for a backhoe [I rent excavators; they can do what no backhoe can do; I PLAN my projects, something that ought to be standard practice by anyone who is serious about getting real work done]).

With equipment comes maintenance (and repairs- I once had to shell out $700 for a loader cylinder for my lowly B7800). It all adds up. Larger equipment will cost more to maintain, but it might also cost less in repairs in comparison to an undersized machine breaking from being over-strained.

You're going to have to settle on getting less OR getting stuff that's used. If you go through a dealer for used stuff you can get them to get everything up to proper working condition and still come in far cheaper than a new piece of equipment (which you will end up eating the initial depreciation on).

Unless you get a big enough tractor you're going to find that implements won't work as you might like. Consider the grade on your drive (you say some part of it is steep- how steep?), it might be that with an HST tractor you're going to find it a bit of a struggle to work in snow and go up-hill.
   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #35  
Smaller machine running a snow blower is going to be needing all the power it can get. HST tractors consume more power in their drivetrains. Plenty written about this.

I'm NOT bashing HSTs: I've got two tractors and a UTV with HST. Unless the OP is willing to go used and get a larger tractor she's going to have to make tough choices (on new).
   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #36  
Only things that I would add in all of the discussions are
Is a cab feasible in your woods. Cabs and woods are often not friendly with the cab and glass losing. I totally understand wanting the cab for the winters and snow removal, but a removal can may be a better fit for you. Do some research on that to reach a well informed decision.
I love my BB, but one of your wants was pulling stone from edge of drive back up on your drive. The BB will leave you frustrated on this task. You also need either a tradition rear blade or a landscape/root/york rake. Personally I have not used a rake, but many swear by them.
Depending on brand, many smaller compact tractors use a turbo to up the HP on smaller motors. Do your research on this as well. For EPA, it makes no difference how the HP increase was obtained, they still require the emission add-ons. Do your research on this as well as different brands deal with it differently.
While lots have focused on HP of the tractor, and I am not disagreeing that more HP is always nice, however, do not allow anyone to sell you a machine that will not physically fit where you want to take the tractor. Many suggest a larger HP tractor will do the job in less time. This is true, but only if you can get the tractor if you can get the tractor to the job. Often larger HP tractors are on larger frames (there is more weight and torque involved typically). Then you add a typically larger loader (granted more capable loader) and you may not find yourself with a tractor much longer, which takes space to maneuver. This space may not be available in your woods (at least without taking down trees)
Consider a grapple of some type. I suggest a flat bottom style. This just may be my preference on style, but I have used 2 styles and like the longer flat bottom for brush and longs.
Consider rear remotes. They can be added later, but you have to figure out the source for hydraulic fluid and return as well as the routing of the hoses. A T-N-T would be extremely helpful on a 1/4 mile long drive using a BB. TNT allows adjustments for road crowning and more or less aggressive cutting edge usage.
   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #37  
I think your current plan to keep the zero turn and ditch the old plow truck will work well. The Tacoma will be fine for your plowing needs and is great at holding it’s value. You won’t need to worry about a cab on the tractor if it’s not being used every day in the winter. Get a load of sand to spread if the driveway gets icy, but that’s about all you’ll use it for in the winter. Summer time will bring all kids of chores where the tractor will be helpful. Skip the big implements that cost a lot unless you plan to use them often. Enjoy and have fun.
   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #38  
I've got woods, and while it HAS resulted in busting out some glass (replaced a door), I wouldn't opt to NOT have a cab. I've got blackberry vines whipping all over the place. There's also heat to contend with (I have AC and it's nice). I can operate longer as it starts raining. I can have a video camera: that and everything else in the operator station is under cover. AND, not having to worry about swarms of bugs... NOTE: it took me over 550 hrs before damaging my cab/glass- $600 comes out to about $1/hr for all the protection that I've noted; this mistake was due to operator error, having the door open when I shouldn't have had it open*🙄 (I've done more damage to the loader from using my grapple [busted a tilt cylinder]- does that mean I shouldn't be working with a grapple in the woods?)

* If you're on and off the tractor a lot then a cab is going to be a hassle: that's why I'd left my door open- I was in and out a lot and it was really hot that day; running AC was meaningless as I'd have been cooling the great outdoors. I'm fortunate in that if I have lighter-duty stuff to do that requires a lot of hopping on and off the tractor I just run my B7800.
   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #39  
... My ideas of what I want were more refined today. ...
So glad to know that you are careful to consider some really good advice here. I have some notes to add. I've had my ranch for 24 years and have owned 7 tractors of varying sizes - 25 to 130 hp. Have plenty of woods.

A cab to deal with summer heat (where I am) or cold of winter makes a lot of sense if that is when you will be using your tractor. If you intend to do snow handling with a pickup, then maybe you won't have as much cold weather use. Or is that just short term?

You mention a lot of wants for tractor tasks. You don't need all of the attachments now, but you don't want to change tractors in the future to add something you think you need, so make sure your tractor 'can do it'. Assuming you want to use a snowplow/blower, normally with HP comes weight, which snow conditions need, so I would shy away from a tractor that is less than 3,000 lbs, and ensure it comes with a mid-PTO. Weight and size is also good for handling trees and tree parts. Also, for snow, watch the tires. R1 is much better than R4 or even R14, for snow or dirt or especially mud. You are not running up and down hard roads or doing a lot of loader work on concrete, so wear is a non-issue that may make some question R1.

Get the tractor with an OEM loader. Indispensable.

I bought a used a 25hp tractor with box blade (BB). Only used the BB 2-3 times because I found it not useful. It only pulls perpendicular because it cannot angle, and without adding hydraulics or manually cranking a 3 point arm, even tipping to drop the left or right edge is not going to happen. BB is not recommended unless you have an unspoken need. It will not help you with your road.

If you need help with holes for plants/trees, consider a post hole digger. It is essential if doing real post holes and can be used to dig a shallow hole for plants, then you can manually trim the edges away with a shovel until you get the diameter you want. If this is a common activity then do consider a front loader spade as you have mentioned.

A backhoe will be of limited use because if you intend to use the 3 point arms on the tractor, you must change everything out (most models). That is very time consuming and a PITA.

I bought my last 6 tractors as used on Tractors are not like cars - they are built to endure decades of use and do not become obsolete. If you target a low usage tractor, say 1000 hrs or less, you can get a lot of tractor for each dollar with low wear and high reliability. There are even dealers that can finance a used model. As for brands, some people say JD and Kubota are high dollar, but I say that through experience, customers have found out what will last, has reliability, unlikely to break or fail, has parts and service, and what has better resale value. They are willing to pay for those benefits.
   / Need Tractor/Truck Recommendation #40