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 06-08-2001, 03:01 Post: 29043
Andyfr



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 Used compact query - UK

Hi there everyone, I am new to this group and live in the Highlands of Scotland in the UK. I hope there are some of you out there who can help me decide what kind of compact tractor to get. We have only just over an acre of garden but there is hardly a flat piece of ground there. I intend to use it for clearing snow in thewinter and landscaping in the summer so I have been thinking about a front loader and a rear digger as attachments and maybe a rotavator(if they can deal with 15inch rocks - unlikely I think!). I will have to buy used as we couldn't afford new and for the hours per year couldn't justify it anyway. What recommendations does the group have? I know that the mainmanufacturers to go for seem to be Kubota, Yanmar, JD but which model? I would appreciate any comments and also any recommendations for used suppliers here in the UK. Thanks in advance Regards Andrew.






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 06-08-2001, 07:18 Post: 29047
TomG

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 Used compact query - UK

I hope somebody from the New England area of the U.S. will comment about rocks. We're fortunate that both places we have are in-between glacier moraines, so we've got sand rather than rocks. New England folks are experts at growing rocks. I've got a 24 PTO HP at around 2400 lbs. not including implements ballast etc. I drive on turf, so it has turf tires. Each of our properties is about 1.75 acres and the tractor may be a bit large for properties that size, but I do some heavy lifting and digging with a backhoe, and a smaller tractor wouldn't do the work as well. The trade off is that I mow with a riding mover. It gets the job done faster than maneuvering the tractor around buildings and bushes. Another trade off are the tires. Ground engaging implements take traction, and ag tires are best for traction in dirt. However, ag tires make a mess of turf. I have turf tires, but some people compromise by using industrial tires. However, it is possible to manage many traction problems through the use of ballast and operating technique. When evaluating used tractors, a tractor that has been used only for mowing can be a bargain in that mowing often stresses a tractor less than other operations. However, such a tractor probably wouldn't have a loader. A new loader and hydraulics can be pretty expensive, so I'd make sure I knew how much a loader would cost before buying a used tractor without one. In terms of other features, 4wd is highly desirable on a compact--maybe even essential for operation on hills. Another choice is between hydrostatic and gear transmissions. HST's are fairly standard in newer compacts. HST provides an ability to vary ground speed independent of engine speed. That's very handy when doing a bunch of stop n go and back and forth work. It's especially helpful for loader work or when using a PTO implement. I use a 3ph snow blower, and my transmission gives me four reverse gears. I have to run at PTO RPM to blow the snow properly, and frequently the ground speed is a little slow in one gear and a little fast the next reverse. HST's aren't as efficient as gear transmissions and the maintenance costs tend to be higher. In terms of manufacturers, a local dealer is important to most owners. I'd find a nearby dealer that you'd want to business with and start with those tractors. Basicaly all the manufacturers listed make good tractors. I'd also add New Holland to the list of possibilities if there’s dealer support in the UK. You might add fun or satisfaction and convenience or necessity to the list of reasons for having a tractor. Cost justifications can be tricky unless a person actually farms.






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 06-08-2001, 12:34 Post: 29062
JeffM



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 Used compact query - UK

Welcome to the board, Andrew! I'm in northern New York state, which is very similar in geography to New England areas that TomG referred to. We tend to grow more rocks than anything else and they present a never-ending challenge. I'm in the (slow) process of transforming 4 acres of abandoned fields and pasture to a "yard" that can be rough-mowed monthly and about an acre of "lawn" that would get finish-mowed weekly. A rototiller would self-destruct with the rocks I have right now, so I am using a tractor-mounted backhoe to dig up the visible rocks and a landscape rake to help smooth out top soil to fill in holes and ruts. A very useful attachment in this area is a removable toothbar for the loader - it helps pick up rocks as well as allows some digging with the loader. An alternative for me would have been to hire someone to plow the fields with a large ag tractor, then remove visible rocks, then disc the turned soil, and then use the landscape rake and a roller to smmoth the surface. I may end up doing that anyhow, but i'm trying my slow method first.






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 06-08-2001, 13:07 Post: 29068
Rich Luhr



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 Used compact query - UK

Hi Andrew -- welcome to the board. Nice to hear from someone on your side of the pond, where they really know how to make gardens. Five hundred or so years of experience has to count for something!

Anyway, you're right that the rotovator (I'm assuming this is what we call a rototiller) would not do much in soil with 15 inch rocks. You'll have to get the backhoe (rear digger) but fair warning: that's a lot of extra money just to dig up rocks. Be sure you need it because it will be the most expensive implement you buy! Having said that, the backhoe is a great tool. For the type of work you are proposing the front loader is indispensible.

Regarding horsepower, you might want to take a task-oriented approach. Ask yourself: what the heaviest biggest stuff I need to lift in the front-end loader? What sort of 3-pt implements will I routinely use? Then pick a tractor which physically fits in the spaces you need to work with the horsepower required to run those attachments and lift those weights. For one acre, you probably don't need a lot of horsepower, which will save you money.

I'm coming over to the UK in a couple of weeks and would be happy to bring along my tractor for you to try out, but British Airways refuses to allow me to check it in as baggage. Smile Oh well, good luck!






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 06-10-2001, 10:47 Post: 29128
Frank R Taylor



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 Used compact query - UK

I've been in Texas for 16 years but originally I come from Aberdeen and know the Highlands well. Let me say for a start that you have my sympathy. Depending on where you live, you are in for a lot of hard work. As far as manufacturers are concernrd, don't forget about Massey and the European makes that will be more common there than they are here. 4-wheel drive will also be a benefit. As far as size is concerned, for 1 acre you don't need anything too big but don't forget that the smaller it is the longer it will take you to do things although you can usually manage to get it done with a little common sense and ingenuity. For a start you WILL need a front end loader. Carrying or wheelbarrowing those rocks will make an old man of you in a hurry and you can use it to clear snow in winter. With the FEL you can either dig them out or roll them if they aren't too large. Backhoes are expensive and I don't think you can justify one. If you do need one, hire it, contract it out or befriend some of the locals with a big tractor that are close by you. If you want any kind of garden you need to get those rocks out of there. You probably need something like a middle buster to break up the soil and maybe a single bottom plough (British spelling) to turn it over. You probably don't need to buy a rototiller, they're expensive and you'll probably damage it on the larger rocks. You can hire a walk behind tiller for an acre and it'll do a good job. It'll be hard work but more cost efficient. Then you need a lanscape rake or such to gather up the smaller rocks once you have dug and dragged the larger ones out and lastly a harrow to smoothe it out (an old bed spring will work good for this). Then you are just about set to do what you want to do. I know this is pretty general advice but I hope it helps.






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 06-11-2001, 06:01 Post: 29134
Andyfr



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 Used compact query - UK

Thanks for the responses everyone, it has certainly given me something to think about.

The main reason for getting a backhoe would be for landscaping as I don't think that a FEL would be able to dig down, for a pond and other features. I realise that it is an expensive attachment but my plan is to buy a used tractor (4WD) and try to get one with all the attachmnets rather than buying them later as I think this is the cheaper option.

You have made me have second thoughts about the backhoe, I feel that I would make good use of it but would it justify the cost. How versatile is the FEL for landscaping?

I intend having a look at some of the dealers in the area to see what they have in used. I don't intend to rush in to this as I want this purchase to last a very long time.

Thanks again for all your comments, I'm sure I will be back with more questions when I have been to the dealers.

Regards

Andrew.






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 06-11-2001, 09:51 Post: 29140
TomG

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 Used compact query - UK

I think that loaders and box scrapers are standard landscaper's tools--probably a landscape rake as well. I don't find a loader very useful for digging and spreading, but some people do. There are many discussions about box scrapers, and the archives should provide hours of reading. Anyway, a box scraper is a kind of 'swiss army knife' of implements, they aren't very expensive, and they might even help with the smaller rocks.






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