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Country Discussion Topics
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What compact tractor to choose?
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wasabi    Posted 03-26-2002 at 11:13:06       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Ok, at the risk of attracting a volley of arrows for being such a dumb, yuppie (well not any more...I'm over 50 now), city-slicker (who would dare post an investment business e-mail address on a tractor site anyway), I must beg for input. I've been researching tractors for our mountain farm terrain for many moons and still have more questions than answers. I've narrowed it down to 4X drive, 30plus HP, Diesel, but now am further challanged to decide priorities of implements. I'll want some heft in the loader for dirt, rocks etc, would also like to be able to push over smaller trees and drag logs, will need to prepare rocky mountain soil for pasture, orchard and (yes) vinyards, have over 5 miles of old logging road to improve/maintain and don't want too many maintenance headaches. I'm leaning toward Kioti or Kubota. ANy helpful feedback appreciated.


Texas Al    Posted 03-27-2002 at 20:46:20       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I recommend Kubota, New Holland, and John Deere compacts, in that order. All of these compact tractors are pricey, but you can use the heck out of them and they will still bring a large percentage of the original cost. I can tell you first hand that the Kubota is very reliable and well made. Kubota and JD are Japanese, not sure about he NH. Kubota makes the entire tractor, whereas JD subs out some of the assemblies.

I have a Kubota B2710, a wonderful tractor. You would probably want a little bigger one - about an L3010 or L3410.

Don't buy a gear tractor until you try the hydrostat. I wouldn't take for mine - its much easier to use, and I generally lose traction before I run out of power. Plus, you'll have a hard time selling the gear tractor later on. Or so I'm told.

The best place to get advice here is www.tractorbynet.com. The very BEST compact tractor site on the web. Some very nice folks there - sorta like here.


goober    Posted 03-26-2002 at 22:29:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
75 acres, Cashiers,nice,,, When you are up in the mtns one day run by and see Todd at Blueridge Equipment in Franklin. If you haven't already. He is on hwy 64 just before you get to Franklin. He is a Kioti, Mahindra, and Long agribusiness dealer.He will treat you right and help you find what you want or need. BTW, don't pay any attention to the list prices that he has on his tractors. He WILL sell way below that on most of them. :-)


CJC    Posted 03-26-2002 at 20:03:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
Any tractor that you get new in this class will be foreign, Deer is yanmar, etc.

Though I recently stopped by the New Holland Delaer and they have a new "old" tractor, I think it was a TC30, looks like it is built to take it. It is foreign made also...but they are moving DOWN in price to compete, or so I was told.

I think they told me that with a NH 7308 loader it was $12k. Front wheel assist and r1's all around. manual Transmission ( I think gives the best performance )

Not to bash anyone, but I have always heard to stay away from Massey 165's, the parts being the issue. Never tried to get them myself, but have been told that.

Good luck, wonder about the post that recommended a crawler and a tractor, sounds pretty sound, even a bobcat has much more umph than a tractor if you need to doe a lot of pushing and rock moving.

Generally a good used tractor is a great investment.


screaminghollow    Posted 03-26-2002 at 19:16:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
What Mike said. A few tractors were built with wide front ends, low center of gravity and big fat rear tires and for about a fourth of what them foreign domestic jigsaw compacts cost. Even the damn American made blue, green orange and red tractors have foreign engines. Look around for awhile. A local dealer had a Massey ferguson 165 deisel with low hours and a loader for 5,000. Thats a fairly stable 60hp tractor and the center of gravity isn't too high for its wheel base. Them little compacts are sometimes so narrow, they will roll over easier than the big boys. Also, there were some industrial tractors made in the 60's which were even lower to the ground than the Agricultural models. Generally they are painted yellow. An International Harvester 154 lo-boy might be just the ticket. A good gage of how reliable an older model tractor may be is by checking how many of them are still out there chugging along. There are probably more 50 year old ford n's out there in running condition than any other. The other very reliable old tractors were the farmall's, but they have a higher center of gravity and are almost always NFE's (narrow front ends, i.e tricycle tractors) very unstable for hills. My dad used to have a Case VAIW, can't get much lower to the ground than that. It had 16inch rears wheels and ten inch fronts, with a (approx.) 22 hp draw bar 4 cyl engine. It was an industrial tractor built on the VAC ag frame, but lowered to the ground. Our local deere dealer had an old wide front Case with loader, high hours, but ran good. He sold it for the first $3,700. Good luck and remember, you may not want a "compact"


DeadCarp    Posted 03-26-2002 at 18:34:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
There never is a "perfect" tractor - the new ones are too expensive and the old ones are too dangerous. Your mention of hillsides reminds me of how many times i've had tractors up on 2 wheels, and i'd like to never do that again. Width and center of gravity are everything when you're pulling and turning. Once it starts tipping, the rollbars will help save whatever stays inside. I use an old B John Deere to skid logs, although it's NOT user-friendly and is an open-top, top-heavy disaster waiting to happen.
Dam near donated it to the lake one day when it got stuck in gear. At least i was smart enough to chain the fence-post across the BACK of the wheels before easing it back out. (Strapping a log in front of a drive wheel is like high-barring - it'll wheelie up & swat you like a fly - however you got there, once the engine's pointed straight up, you better read fast or you'll never get to the punchline:)

You mentioned a loader too - depending on the design, they ALWAYS raise the center of gravity (make it tippier) but can make a rollover safer as well. Take your time picking one and always be careful.



Mike in Va.    Posted 03-26-2002 at 13:37:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hello wasabi,
Looks like your mind is set on a 30 hp. 4X4. For what you'll pay for it you can find a decent crawler/loader AND and 50 hp. tractor. We have a Case 450 loader. It will run on a trickle of diesel, and do all the grading, tree clearing, and culvert digging a 30 hp. 4X4 could only dream of. They are easy enough to keep running, keep filters on 'em. The choice is wide open on the 50 - 60 hp. tractor, alot of people are selling them private for less than yuppie types are buyin Ford 8N's at auction. Might not look as pretty as that newer orange overseas tractor, however, you'll have enough hp. to do what you will inevidably find needin done... just my 2 cents worth... but been there. Mike


Tom A    Posted 03-26-2002 at 12:38:22       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I've got hills and rocks too, and bought an old essentially abandoned farm a few years back, so have maybe a little insight into what you're doing. My thoughts, for what they're worth, in no particular order:

Look for a tractor with a low center of gravity. It gets really hairy on the hills sometimes, so lower is better. Keep seeing news stories about tractor roll-overs, so keep this in mind.

Buy American if at all possible. Generally better made, even if it is more expensive (there are exceptions).

Talk to neighbors to find out what dealer has the best maintenance and support. This is a biggie, and is a good reason to buy one brand over another. Locally we have one dealer with good equipment, but probably the world's worst customer service...so there's a lot of good equipment down for long periods of time. You don't want that. My neighbor gave me that advice when I bought a baler, I ignored it, and regretted it from about the second day.

I've got an old Ford that I love dearly, low CG and does everything I need. *But* if you aren't pretty handy, the first year will be costly (takes about that long to get all the bugs worked out of an old tractor). I get parts from my local New Holland dealer, and in passing I've looked at some of their new tractors and would consider one of those when "Molly" finally wears out.

I bought a Cub Cadet garden tractor 2 years ago: I believe they also make some compacts now-adays too. I would steer clear of them. Had lots of problems with little/no help from either dealer or CC Corp. HQs.

OK, enough rambling from me. Good luck,
Tom


Spence    Posted 03-26-2002 at 11:29:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
There's also a US version of those tractors. I
think they're Branson or Bradson, something like that. You can also get the same class in the American make ie: Deere,Ford,etc. If you can stay
American might just as well help our own in their jobs, why send your cash overseas.


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