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 03-20-2001, 00:35 Post: 25671
Howard



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 help need tractor size type and attachment guidance

OK, I know enough to know that I don't know what I need. So looking for help in figuring what best fits and figure a description with goals makes most sense.We recently bought 100 ac. in the Adirondacks (Warrewn County, N.Y.) with house, and it comes with mixed conditionsSo Sad1) about 4 ac. surrounding lawn (circling pond so some wet edges)and will need to mow; (2) a barn, and will be caring for horses (2 or 3)and moving and removing as necessary; (3) have about 5 acs. of mixed terrain/hilly bumpy pasture cicrcling about 1 acre of wetland (so will have need to "brush hog" in the field (that about taps out my technical expertise; (4) will want to remove a couple dozen stump/and nearly dead trees as the swampy section encroached on some old woodlands; and (5)in the remaining mixed/hilly woodlands (about 80 - 90 acres of mostly wooded but interspersed with wetlands) we have extensive but very rough and sometimes very old logging roads that I would like to improve (ruts get pretty deep in spots), clear and probably extend. In addition to forgoing, we heat with wood to supplement electric (read expensive)so would like to cut and haul my own as I clean wooded sections and have about 800 foot of gravel drive with and avg snowfall of approx 100 inches a year. Basic fix up grading also required each spring.Currently I buy all my mowing and plowing for about $2000 a year, but haven't yet started on fields or other projects. We live in the sticks in a non-ag region (only one registered working farm in the county) so not many dealers, and getting something reliable pretty important. Given that I want to do a bit of everything what do I need? Should I think packages? 4 in 1 blades? Will a brush hog do mowing or do I need a finishing mower too? Does plowing with a tractor even make sense? Nobody up here seems to plow with tractors (this is gun rack pickup country and sees the south side of zero degrees frequently enough that I can sure understand the heated pick-up preference). New, used? And how to you go about getting to reasoned prices? I am not looking to steal something, but don't want to be robbed either; and unlike cars find price comparisons less transparent. Thoughts, NYS dealer recommendations, etc much appreciated.






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 03-20-2001, 05:28 Post: 25672
Ted Kennedy



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 help need tractor size type and attachment guidance

Howard, of course you know what you've just done? You've lifted the lid off of Pandora's box. You'll probably get a tremendous response to your questions. My take on this is that you can find a tractor that does it all, but ask why would you want to when you obviously have the lawn maintenance under control by using a service? Having said that I venture the guess that you may be looking for someone to do your heavy work and just have a compact for utility uses. Or, you could buy something like the excellent Kubota L48 that has the guts to do all but the heaviest work. An alternative to the L48 is the Kubota R series articulated tractor. The L48 has rear 3pt hitch capability and rear PTO, the R series machines don't, however, they can fit into tight places. I'm also thinking skid steer loader for the barn/paddock work, compact tractor for everything else. The possibilities on a piece of land as large and diverse in features as yours is almost limitless. In snow country you'll want a hard-sided cab with heat, for plowing, it is a must, and a compact can do this work nicely. I'd buy a good used 3-5 ton mason dump truck with fwd, they plow even better, you can put down sand/salt, and around a big place they have great utility. They also make great tow vehicles. Shopping for a tractor isn't any different than shopping for a watch, what do you need (Rollex precision or Citizen dependability)? What do you like (work hard or hardly working)? What are you comfortable with (lots of flash or practical)? How much do you have to spend (remember, you do have 100 acres)? My grandfather ran a sucessful small dairy farm about the size of your place with a 1941 stake dump body GMC and a 1939 2 cylinder Johnny Popper, listen to the good folks here, with their advice and today's technology you'll have a ball. Good luck, E-mail me if you want to know more.






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 03-20-2001, 06:34 Post: 25673
TomG

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 help need tractor size type and attachment guidance

When I first started shopping around for a tractor, I think I had sort of a 'tractor = farm = all the standard farm implements' attitude. It's doesn't sound like there are plans to work the land intensively, and maybe things like cutters, plows and tillers are of marginal value. We also are in an area of few working farms and far away dealers. We have a 'let the bush be bush' attitude. We don't want to cut the bush down or cultivate a garden so large that we spend our lives canning things or trying to give it away. We do keep 2-acres of lawn, but there are bunches of trees shrubs and buildings. It's easier to mow with a riding mower than use my 24 PTO HP compact. So, why didn't we get a sub-compact: Because the building, maintenance and chores take a larger tractor? In your case, I'd start asking myself the question: Why does the bush need cutting or anything need plowing? In our case, the answers are that those jobs are small enough scales so that a compact tractor isn't very useful. It's easier to borrow stand-alones and trade for things that the tractor does well in exchange. In general, the scales of jobs has to be kept in mind to get the right size tractor and implements. In your case, keeping horses may skew the choice a bit. I bought my tractor used from a dealer. The former owner traded it in on a farm tractor when he started keeping livestock. Basically, the compact wouldn't handle the large hay bales he was getting. If managing hay bales is a requirement, then a fairly large compact may be required, and then the tractor may be too large for many other tasks. Regarding dealers, most manufacturer web sites have dealer locators. I'd phone a few of the closest dealers. A sales person will talk through your needs and work up a package according to your needs and budget. My dealer is two-hours away and it's not a problem. Dealers arrange transportation, courier parts etc. However, oils and batteries can't be shipped by courier.






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 03-20-2001, 09:22 Post: 25677
Roger L.



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 help need tractor size type and attachment guidance

You will probably eventually end up with two used tractors: One of 50/60 HP for the heavy jobs and one of 25 or so HP for the chores around the house. If you only have one, evaluate whether you will be doing any heavy work like moving machinery or logs. If so, that means to get the larger tractor first and mow with a riding mower.
Here are some common stages that tractor owners go through: ....denial at the high cost of tractors, followed by several attempts to get by for less, and finally realization that you sure have come to depend on that tractor. The good news is that tractors have always been amazingly sturdy machines. If you can afford new then go that way. Otherwise look for one in nice shape and built in the last ten or twenty years. You can expect it to last as long as you will want to own it and be worth exactly what you paid for it. Be sure to get 4wd, a loader with power up and down on both the arms and bucket, a good 3pt hitch, and power steering. Other things are nice, but you need these features for working in soft soil. Expect to pay 10 to 20K for a nice used one in the 30 hp range with those features.






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 03-21-2001, 09:31 Post: 25688
JeffM



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 help need tractor size type and attachment guidance

Howard, welcome to the Adirondacks! Your description of your land and situation is 100% accurate. I grew up in the Adirondacks and now live in Saratoga County, but my land and my tractor are up in Clinton County, so I drive through your neck of the woods just about every weekend. First, a couple of questions: do you live on this property full-time, or is this a second home or a weekend place? Are you retired or otherwise able to spend a lot of time working your land, or is this a retreat for you and your time at this place very limited? And what is your budget for tractor and implements? The answers to these questions will help steer you in the right direction. With no disrespect to Roger, I think you can buy a single tractor that will meet your needs pretty well, but if your budget allows then Roger's idea of a lawn mowing machine and a bigger work machine would be ideal. Let me guess at a usage profile for you and then you modify to fit your actual needs: You will mow the 4 acre lawn once a week on average for the 3-4 month grass season. For this a 72" finish mower (belly or rear) would be appropriate so as not to spend all day mowing. A small 48 or 54" mower will take you forever, but if you have a lot of trees and obstacles, or if you have a lot of inclines, you may have to go smaller. You will brush hog the 5 acres of rougher ground about 3 times a season. For this a 60" brush hog would work just fine. For your horses and barn a front end loader is desired - anything from a small skid-steer (e.g., Bobcat) to a tractor-mounted loader will work well here because you don't need a big powerful loader for this work. The stump removal work realistically requires a backhoe, which is an expensive implement (use $6K new as a planning number). If you don't have other needs for the backhoe you would be better off hiring this work out to an excavator or a dozer. However, if you have the time, money, and love to play on tractors, then a tractor-mounted backhoe will provide many hours of joy and I guarantee you will find other uses for it. Like your badly rutted wood roads because where they are badly rutted means you probably need drainage, culverts, etc if you want to get year-round access and use out of them. Otherwise you will only use them frozen up in the winter and maybe during a drought. Backhoes are great for culverts and ditches, especially in our rocky terrain. Fixing up those wood roads will also require a loader or dozer to spread fill, cut roads, etc. In this case a heavier duty tractor loader would be in order, not a small toy. A landscape rake will also come in handy here. As far as maintaining your 800 foot driveway: a loader and landscape rake alone will do wonders, or you could consider a box blade or a back blade also. For snow removal a lot depends on what your drive is like. Do you get a lot of drifting snow, or does the wind keep your driveway clean? Do you have room to plow snow to the side 20 feet or so, or is your drive bordered by fences, trees, etc? If you get drifting snow and there are obstacles near the drive, then I recommend a front-mounted blower with a cab on your tractor. Remember all those pickups with plows were pretty useless 2 weeks ago when we got that 3 foot snowfall. If you are part-time at your place, then I'd probably continue to hire out a neighbor with a truck plow and fall back on my loader on the tractor if needed to push back banks, etc. I will continue this in my next post.






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 03-21-2001, 10:30 Post: 25690
JeffM



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 help need tractor size type and attachment guidance

So to summarize the tractor and implements described in my last post: a 30-40hp 4WD compact tractor with R4 industrial tires, loader with 60-65" heavy duty bucket, 72" finish mower (belly or rear), 60" rotary cutter, and 84" landscape rake (total roughly $23K-28K, plus tax, depending on size of tractor and quality of implements). Optional backhoe if budget allows and desires demand (add $6K). Optional snowblower and cab if budget allows and full-time on property (add $5K-10K depending on brand, quality, and type). Optional Brush-Brute if you are going to remove LOTS of small trees and brush for many years (add $1200-1800 depending on mount and size). Strongly recommend a quality removable loader toothbar ($400-500) and rear chains for mud and snow ($100-200). Optional Freedom Hitch ($200 apiece for tractor and each implement section) if you opt for a rear finish mower and want to be able to change 3 point implements faster and more safely. All these prices are roughly right for planning and are for new equipment. If this sounds like I'm too opinionated, it's because I've just about described what I have bought or intend to buy in the near future. It turns out that your situation sounds a lot like my own and the above is where I ended up. Of course, this was based on my budget and specific desires also, which will probably be different than yours. There are quite a few "Big 3" dealers within 90 minutes of you although none in your immediate neighborhood. For John Deere I like Giroux Brothers in Plattsburgh to your north and would also consider Allen Equipment in Schaghticoke and Clifton Park Lawn & Leisure in Clifton Park to your south. For Kubota I like both Emerich Sales in Charleton to your south and Giroux Brothers again in Plattsburgh, and would also check out Capital Agway east of Troy and Randall Implements in Latham. For New Holland there is Peru Farm Center to your north and Capital Equipment with 2 locations in Latham and either Greenwich or Cambridge (poor memory) to your south. I think there is also a small NH dealer in Schroon Lake on Route 9, but I'm not sure. There are probably other dealers around and there are dealers in Vermont, but these are the ones I know. Take your time, shop around, drive them, and get to know the dealers. And have fun.






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 03-22-2001, 07:26 Post: 25719
TomG

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 help need tractor size type and attachment guidance

I was in research mode for awhile before I bought my used compact. Fortunately, circumstances knocked me into action I might still be researching away. I realized that I had to get something done, and a compact was the only way to get it done. There were only a few used compacts available, which really simplified a decision. After the fact, I realized that buying a tractor is simpler than I thought. For the most part little tractors do much the same work as big tractors. The big ones just get it done faster. However, if a lot of maneuvering is required, then little tractors get it done faster. Most of the decision comes down to how much time you want to spend and whether your work tends to be traction or maneuvering intensive. A case can be made that the main real choice is tire type. If you want a real nice lawn, then you can't have ag tires, and even a heavy tractor with turf tires doesn't do the lawn much good. However, if you opt for R3 or 4's, then traction work is going to take longer. There's a limit to how much extra traction a tractor with turfs gets by piling on ballast weight. However, the most important thing in buying a tractor is to get one you really like. Everything else except the tire choice is variable. Just be aware that when you get a tractor, you'll adapt to it and it will adapt to you through the implements purchased and how you learn to use it. No matter what tractor you get it will do the job, but there always will be stand-alones for jobs too small and contractors for jobs too big. The big four (time, tractor, stand-alones and contractors) just seem to work themselves into the right mixture for a person. If you look at and drive a few tractors, I'll bet that all the sudden an 'AHHH, THIS IS THE ONE' flash occurs. And, chances are that will be the right tractor for you. Blanks and gaps in the big four will fill themselves in later. Research sometimes can get in the way. If you don't start out really liking the tractor, it may never be quite the right one. One the other hand, the blanks sort of fill themselves in, but safety doesn't. I'd spend some time researching safety subjects before you get a tractor. Working in the woods, especially around wet land, is pretty dangerous, and you want to make sure you use a tractor safely.






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 03-22-2001, 09:23 Post: 25734
Roger L.



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What Tom says makes a lot of sense. Because all of the name brand compacts on the market are so good right now....and because they hold their value so well...then the first time buyer is in a real good position. I honestly don't think you can make a mistake on any of the new machines. Or any of the used ones built in the last ten years or so for that matter. The market is very active, so if you find that you want some feature that your tractor doesn't offer then it is easy enough to sell and buy another. Implements - except for some belly mowers and loader frame mounts - are universal.






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Size Tractor Needed Forum

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