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dgeesaman
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 9 PA
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2007-09-29          146254


Sorry to bring you guys with big iron down to this level, but my wife and I are considering buying a hobby farm for keeping/boarding horses. Living now in a condo, this will be a big step, especially in equipment.

One property we're considering is 10 acres with three pastures and a decent stone dust outdoor riding ring. No hay fields.

Running down my list I'll need to:
- clear snow (we get a few storms/year in the 6" range)
- drag the ring
- mow grass
- rough mow the pastures
- maybe pull a small trailer to move around stall muck?

The pastures have only been mowed along the fenceline all year so the grass is a few feet high. It seems to me that anything I buy won't do that job, so I think we'll need to hire/borrow gear to brush hog them.

Value is a big issue for us, and I expect to maintain/repair the equipment myself as much as possible.

I'd appreciate your inputs - I know somewhere between a tiny bit and squat about tractors right about now.

Dave

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2007-09-29          146258


Your brand choices are very broad and as varied. IMHO it all depends on your budget, so work backward from there. If money is an issue, the last thing you wanna hear is what you really should get---and know it's out there---but is out of reach. If that's the case, you'll be kicking yourself when the neighbor drives by and you think, "I wish I had that." I like to tell myself that I don't miss what I don't have (knowledge) about. And for example by that I mean if you can only affrod a gear transmission, but you test-drove a hydrostatic trans, you will be saying that. Or 2-wheel-drive versus 4-wheel-drive, or a suspended operator's seat versus hard-mounted. Or cruise control versus NONE. Or tilt steering versus none. And the list goes on.

Once you get that established we can give you some choices. Not much we can do if you "have a champagne taste on a beer budget", as the saying goes. :) ....

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bloggins
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 103 Kingston, Ontario
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2007-09-29          146276


Take a look at the CASE DX25E or the New Holland Boomer equivalent. They are easy to use, excellent on fuel and very reliable. With the front-end loader (FEL) you can scoop the poop and clear snow with ease, it will tow the heaviest loads and has a strong 3 pt hitch w/PTO. The mid-mount mower (MMM) is robust and will cut fields that have been cleared of heavy brush/debris. I have 15 acres and I'm pleased. Good Luck! ....

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dgeesaman
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 9 PA
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2007-09-30          146290


Well I can say for sure that $10k is the max. I would expect to be buying used. I hope the recent ag boom hasn't boosted the price of this class of equipment.

Those subcompacts sure look nice (hydrostatic) and definitely handle any attachment I could want. At that size I could still drive it down the barn aisle and load muck directly into the FEL.

If you had to suggest something in the next size-class down, what would it be?

Thanks,

Dave

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2007-09-30          146291


Dgeesasman,

For the things you need a tractor for, I'd say that you should be able to find something in the $10k range, quite easily.

Look at the smaller tractors in the 18-24 horsepower range. You have many makes and models to choose from.

My only suggestion would be to stay away from those imported Gray Market tractors, for which there are no manuals, and worse yet, no parts here in the U.S.

Stick with the tractors that have dealerships here in the U.S.

I wouldn't rule out the Kioti line of tractors. Kioti seems to offer a whole lot of tractor for the money, but you shouldn't have any trouble finding a used tractor, of any make, in your price range.

Take a look at the link below. Tractorhouse has many small tractors listed. At the top of the home page, please click on the link "Under 40 horsepower". There are many tractors for sale......both new and used.

Joel

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Link:   Tractorhouse.com -- New and Used Tractors, implements, etc.

 
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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2007-09-30          146293


To me, if you have $10,000 CASH--not credit--to work with do yourself a favor and go one size up for a few thousand more. You might even want to forget about used and go new---put that $10,000 down on a new one that's bigger, stronger and can do more AND costs about the same or less in the long run as keeping a used one in tip-top condition (tractors aren't like cars where they require constant attention anyway). I found that used tractors can cost literally $10-$20 a month less to finance than a brand new one with a full warranty. New ones sometimes even offer 0%-interest too. I'm paying 3.9% on a $47,000 machine---that's like FREE money all things considered! ....

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mobilus
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 171 Clay County, TX
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2007-09-30          146297


I agree, new and financing with 0%.

Take that same $10K and buy certificates of deposit at the highest rate of return your bank or credit union offers, with a certain percentage maturing at specific intervals over the life of the loan (and at which time the money is deposited into a savings account that the payment is drawn from). That way your money is working for you until it is needed to make a tractor payment.

My dad was going to pay cash for his new Kubota, but the model fell under the 0% interest financing program. So I convinced him to do what I described above, and he's using the 0% financing to MAKE MONEY. Sure it is a little more work, and it isn't really big money, but everything helps, right? If $9K at 5% interest returns $450 over just one year, you can see the benefit gained.

At least check into it.

And you know that the tractor will have a warranty the length of the three-year loan term. There's always the possibility of that $10K tractor with no warranty ending up costing $15K or more...you know?

Just my opinion. Good luck.
Mark



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dgeesaman
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 9 PA
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2007-09-30          146310


So even for simply mowing around pastures and in pastures (at 4-5" cut height), light FEL work, you guys think I'll wish I had more power?

While I truly appreciate using a tool that cuts work like a hot knife in butter, I know that I will need to conserve cash as much as I reasonably can. I have a sports car to spend my toy fix on.

So, if you'll pardon my raw ignorance, how would I find myself wishing I had spent more? Fast mowing? Pushing snow? Do the lighter/smaller ones just do everything slower? Do they break more often?

Dave ....

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mobilus
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 171 Clay County, TX
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2007-09-30          146311


Dave,

I think you'd be happy with the B7800...or maybe any of the Kubota B-series.

Don't worry about the power issue. My friends rag me for having a 355ci engine in my 65 Nova...they say I need a big block. I don't care, I'm happy with the small block. I think that is a lot of what you'll experience with tractor talk as well. Kind of a Tim "The Toolman" Taylor kind of thing, you know...ugh, ugh, ugh!

Get what you can with what you can afford...only you know your finances, right?

Mark ....

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
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2007-09-30          146314


Dave,

I wouldn't say that the bigger tractors break down less often, nor would I say that you couldn't handle your chores with a smaller tractor.

Rather, I believe most of the people who have responded here are trying to tell you that you will often regret not getting a bigger tractor, had you been able to afford one. In other words, don't settle for a small tractor, especially if you can afford a slightly larger one.


We're not talking about monstrous machines here. Fact is, most machines up to about 40 horsepower are all about the same size. It's just that the more powerful machines will handle bigger projects a whole lot easier......and finding implements to use with tractors 25hp and more, is a whole lot easier than finding implements to match up with a 20hp horse tractor, or less.

Joel ....

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dgeesaman
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 9 PA
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2007-10-01          146317


OK, thanks.

Truth be told, I'm pretty certain we could maintain the place with a medium sized riding mower and in the winter maybe a snowblower. Mucking can always be done by wheelbarrow. So a compact tractor is going for the higher end, it seems. (Turning back to the thread title).

A very local guy has a B7300 HSD with 500hrs on it, 54" finishing mower, and he's asking $5900. I think this kind of thing is what I'm hoping for.

Thanks again everyone,

Dave

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2007-10-01          146321


DG, I am not in snow country so no attempt to address that by me.

No doubt tractor over mower. I would suggest Cat 1 over Cat 0 due to amount of equipment for Cat 1. As to each piece of equipment you have to look at what works for you, such as a Front End Loader (FEL), little value if it would not fit in the barn for removing manure. At same time you may prefer a manure spreader or trailer pulling it with the tractor. As to what you can afford, don't skip on horse power. A 25 or larger HP will do a lot and will find a good bit of used equipment for that size. As to Agi boom affecting the prices, these are not Agi size or used equipment. If you are looking at used which can provde a good deal or a nightmare, you might be able to test it on your place depending on how near to you it is.

I think you will find the need to keep mowing your pasture and thus will need hp for that and possibly a rough cut mower depending on the type of grass and such.

An issue that might affect your pocket book on this, will this "Hobby Farm that boards horses" be a business? If so talk with you accountant (you need one now if not before). It may be the equipment would be a business expense, helping you afford it better. It could also affect the way your purchase it. Now, get out there and enjoy it!. kt ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2007-10-01          146323


For years I drove 2WD, stick hift, regular cab, Jeep Comanche pickups. They worked fine for getting me around and the ocassional Home Depot lumber run.

Then I bought a 4x4 Ranger automatic. How did I ever get by all those years with 2WD and a stick?

I put on 30 pounds. Then I bought full-size 1/2 ton Dodge Ram, gasser, 4x4. How did I ever get by--let alone FIT in-- all those years in a little pickup.

Then I bought a diesel, automatic, 4x4, quad cab Ram. You see where this is going...

Then I bought an Oshkosh 6x6----ha! Just kiddin'


My point is, it might be okay for today---but maybe not for tomorrow. As a contractor, that's how I have to approcah life. Maybe as a homeowner you won't have to do that. But think of this: what if you move to a bigger place or get a cabin that needs work? You're prepared. ....

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AnnBrush
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 462 Troy OH
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2007-10-01          146331


You will not be able to maintain and cut 10 ac. with a riding mower. Most if not all are rated for YARDS - not pasture - that are 4 ac. or less. I see the following problem:

Your requirements suggest a compact tractor in the 18 to 40 horsepower range with associated equipment.

Your budget suggests a upper end riding mower unit.

Folk with little experience in things agrarian are often astounded at how MUCH agricultural equipment costs. I too was one of those - I tried for 2 years to maintain my 5ac lot with a riding mower. At the end of it all I had a once new riding mower that had it's best years behind it and a 35hp compact tractor. The money spent on the riding mower was all but wasted as I beat the thing up doing jobs it was never designed to do. Take these folk's advice and get the right tool for the job. ....

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mobilus
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 171 Clay County, TX
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2007-10-01          146333


I agree with AnnBrush here. I did the same thing. You will destroy the garden tractor/riding mower and spend countless hours doing jobs that can be handled quickly with the right equipment. I have two acres of lawn, and if I ever took a vacation I'd be so far behind on mowing that I cussed myself for not getting a small tractor instead of the riding mower. Time is your most valuable asset, use it wisely...undersized equipment for the job is a good way to waste time. From my experience... ....

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dgeesaman
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 9 PA
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2007-10-01          146360


Annbrush,

Thanks for the feedback on overusing a riding mower. While the horses would keep most of the grass eaten down (10 acres, 7.5 is pasture) it's still a lot of mowing.

As for the budget of a mower and the needs of a compact tractor, in what manner would something like a B7300 Kubota 17hp with FEL and mower deck be undersized? Heavy snow?

Earthmvr,
I see your point of wanting/bigger/better/more. But $5k more spent in a tractor is $5k not spent in improving the barn, the fences, the driveway, the house, the mortgage, the truck, etc. I see using this tractor 1 day/week for mowing, 1 day/week in winter clearing the driveway, and light use daily for moving muck and dragging the riding ring. If I move to a larger farm, upgrading the tractor is part of the cost.

We do plan to purchase this and write-off as much as permitted as a business expense. The important thing is that dollars spent will come back to us in a reasonable period of time.

Dave ....

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
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2007-10-01          146362


To mow those pastures you really need to use a brush hog.

And really you need a Kubota B Series or a Deere 4100+ tractor to use one without issue.

A sub compact will do it but depending on how smooth the pasture is the low clearance of the sub's can be problem.

From the pix below you can see how a brush hog just looks like it is driving the tractor instead of the other way around on a subcompact sized tractor.

Dennis
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dgeesaman
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2007-10-01          146367


No offense, but that is a horrible pasture in that pic.

One of our pet peeves as horse boarders is pastures that grow tall with weeds that choke out the grass. Mow the pastures every week or two in summer is part of our plan to keep the pastures in the best possible condition.

Thanks for the point about brush hog on a subcompact. That is definitely one tool that we may benefit from in the future. I'll consider a brush hog in my purchase plan. ....

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