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Matching tractor needs to your land

 
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Having a generator for the 2 wheel tractors is a really good deal. I say that because a lot of times, people buy the portable generators, but because they are seldom used, when they go to use them on a power outage, they find the fuel has gunked up, or they just won't start. But because a 2 wheel tractor is always in use, in every season, it will always start. But the best part is, no lugging some massively heavy generator around, those are self propelled.

Myself, I have a 20 KW pto generator for my 4 wheel tractor. The last time the power went out, the kids did not even know we were out of power until like 5 hours into it.
 
pollinator
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James Whitelaw wrote:

Richard Cleaver wrote:We use a twin-wheeled BCS 740 walk-behind diesel, on 20 acres to make hay, dig swales and ditches, plough, chip wood, mow, grade, and move tools and stuff around the site on a trailer.  This is all great but my favourite bit is the 0.13 gals p/h



This! One of the things I dislike about the idea of having a full size tractor is then I am dealing with full size fuel stuff. Go on the tractor forums and you see all sorts of strategies for moving or storing fuel, so not needing to keep a lot around is good for us. Ethanol free is available nearby. That and I finally found a fuel can that works reliably w/o spillage.



I really don't like gas, compared to diesel... but fuel handling is indeed a thing with the larger equipment.

A lot of pickups around here have a tidy-tank permanently taking up 1/5 to 1/2 of the back. I don't want to use up that much space permanently, so hoping to mount one on steel skids with a lifting point so it can easily be pulled out...

Until I find the right tank, I fill 4 jerry-cans, totalling 20 gallons of diesel, pretty much every single time I am in town.. it has definitely gotten old.
 
pollinator
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Back in 2005 when we bought this property. We felt that we needed a decent sized but compact tractor and settled on a Kubota B7800with a front end loader, 4’ bush hog, Auger, box blade, 4’ Tiller and a few types of plows, a spreader and a drag harrow. We also got a Kubota RTV 900 with hydraulic dump bed. Only just last week I picked up a Yanmar Vio 35-6A. Loving it!
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Travis Johnson
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D Nikolls wrote:I really don't like gas, compared to diesel... but fuel handling is indeed a thing with the larger equipment.

A lot of pickups around here have a tidy-tank permanently taking up 1/5 to 1/2 of the back. I don't want to use up that much space permanently, so hoping to mount one on steel skids with a lifting point so it can easily be pulled out...

Until I find the right tank, I fill 4 jerry-cans, totalling 20 gallons of diesel, pretty much every single time I am in town.. it has definitely gotten old.



Every fuel company delivers diesel fuel. They take their trucks to construction sites all the time, they will swing by your house and fill up your tank for sure. Just buy a 275 gallon oil tank from Home Depot, or find a used one and buy that, and have your fuel delivered. I do that, and have a hand cranked fuel transfer pump to move fuel from tank to tractor. It takes 30 cranks of my hand pump to fill my tractor...

You might even be able to get away with a few 55 gallon drums. Here we cannot because the fuel companies do not like to dump diesel fuel into 55 gallon drums, but we used to do it that way.



 
Travis Johnson
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I do not think you can get the diesel engine with the 2 wheel tractor's any more. I think it has to do with import issues of small diesel engines. I noticed in the last few years that Joel (of Earthway) no longer shows the diesel engine as an option on his website. Maybe now that the trade war is over, that regulation has been lifted though, and they are available again.

As a side note on those 2 wheel tractors, you can repower them for better fuel economy too. Mine is supposed to have a 13 hp engine on it, but mine has only an 8 hp engine. It would seem underpowered, but it will spen the tires long before it stalls the engine even though it is 1/3 smaller than it should be.
 
pollinator
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One thing about the diesel 2 wheel tractors - when it's cold outside they can be difficult to start, the farm owner says it simply will NOT start under 40F. I haven't tried to start it yet in that cold of temp, but eventually I probably will just to see for myself.

We keep it in a shed out by the fields so there is no electric available to run a heater by it...guess we could store it by the house in the cold season but they don't really use it all winter for anything, just take the battery out and it sits there unless someone decides to give it a few pulls.

The machine has electric and pull start. If the battery or starter fails it's nice to have that backup option but it takes a strong arm to pull start a diesel engine  

 
D Nikolls
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Travis Johnson wrote:

D Nikolls wrote:I really don't like gas, compared to diesel... but fuel handling is indeed a thing with the larger equipment.

A lot of pickups around here have a tidy-tank permanently taking up 1/5 to 1/2 of the back. I don't want to use up that much space permanently, so hoping to mount one on steel skids with a lifting point so it can easily be pulled out...

Until I find the right tank, I fill 4 jerry-cans, totalling 20 gallons of diesel, pretty much every single time I am in town.. it has definitely gotten old.



Every fuel company delivers diesel fuel. They take their trucks to construction sites all the time, they will swing by your house and fill up your tank for sure. Just buy a 275 gallon oil tank from Home Depot, or find a used one and buy that, and have your fuel delivered. I do that, and have a hand cranked fuel transfer pump to move fuel from tank to tractor. It takes 30 cranks of my hand pump to fill my tractor...

You might even be able to get away with a few 55 gallon drums. Here we cannot because the fuel companies do not like to dump diesel fuel into 55 gallon drums, but we used to do it that way.





My driveway is not something a fuel truck will risk, and while this will work for fueling the tractor once the driveway is fixed, much of it goes to the excavator, which I am not willing to drive back to the shop area for refuelling...

There are some pretty tight regulations about the tanks that fuel can be stored in up here, so legal tanks are not cheap.

Otherwise a better idea for sure..
 
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Ty Greene wrote:One thing about the diesel 2 wheel tractors - when it's cold outside they can be difficult to start, the farm owner says it simply will NOT start under 40F. I haven't tried to start it yet in that cold of temp, but eventually I probably will just to see for myself.

We keep it in a shed out by the fields so there is no electric available to run a heater by it...guess we could store it by the house in the cold season but they don't really use it all winter for anything, just take the battery out and it sits there unless someone decides to give it a few pulls.

The machine has electric and pull start. If the battery or starter fails it's nice to have that backup option but it takes a strong arm to pull start a diesel engine  



Ty, you're right, my pull start diesel is difficult to start below 50F.  When the de-compression valve engages the engine just stops dead.  It's a bit better if I keep it in a shed overnight.  30 minutes in direct sunlight in the morning usually works.

I'm thinking of trying a thinner oil for the winter.  What do you think?
 
Cole Tyler
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I think thinner oil in winter is a good thing if the temperature is regularly staying below freezing.

It allows things to spin easier, and goes through the system faster at initial startup to get the lube where it needs to be quickly.

But, the adverse side of that could be the thinner oil working it's way off the internal parts faster when not in use...and once the machine is warmed up it may consume more oil, or be too thin and cause some extra clatter noise (which in that case I would drain it immediately and put the normal viscosity back in!)

I would love to find the spec book on the particular engine to see what the manufacture recommends. My gas powered ATV actually has an ambient temperature range chart calling for different oil weights!

A full synthetic usually has better extreme weather properties also, but some small engines don't suggest using it - it's a tricky science that usually boils down to "if it ain't broke don't fix it" kind of thing

If you are currently running something like 15W40, then maybe try 10W30 or even 5W20 if it's especially cold and see if that makes a difference...

Of course you should probably put in some solid research before taking my advice, and maybe even try emailing or calling a dealer of 2 wheel tractors and ask their service department for a suggestion, too.
 
Richard Cleaver
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Thanks Ty,

I don't want to break anything so I reckon I'll be lighting the stove in my shed in the early hours in the winter

I already had a chat with the dealer where I bought the tractor and he is emailing Yanmar with some questions.

Cheers.
 
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> diesel... hard start

I have started a diesel regularly with WD40 as a starter fluid sprayed into the intake. People also use gasoline starter fluids, but the dose has to be kept very small at risk of toasting the engine. I stick to WD40. The engine will actually run on WD40, so it's possible to "start" it for 10-20 seconds by maintaining the spray into the manifold.

FWIW.


Regards,
Rufus
 
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Travis Johnson
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What some of you are referring to is something called "being either bound". Some engine makes are worse at this than others. Starting fluid (something also called either) does not compress, so as the piston comes up from being turned over by the starter. If the air is not hot enough to ignite the starting fluid, and the incoming air is saturated with starting fluid, it literally binds the engine up, and it cannot turn over fast enough to fire.

It is interesting that the skidder I have now, I can dump a can of starting fluid in the engine and it will never get either bound, it just sucks it right up. But it is a 2 stroke Detroit Diesel so it LOVES its either. It takes starting fluid to start it even in the summer. I have 2-3 cans of it in the cab all the time.

But my last skidder, a Caterpillar 225 grapple, that one was VERY easy to get either bound. I used starting fluid on it, but VERY gingerly.

In my tractor I never use starting fluid, and really cannot, because it has glow-plugs. With that tractor I just plug in its block heater, and then use glow plugs and can generally start it down to 0 degrees (f). A person should NEVER use starting fluid with a machine that has glow plugs.

The best method of starting a diesel engine is a block heater. I generally start my machines from 7-9 AM, so I have them on a timer. The block heater comes on at that time, and so it saves me a lot of money in electricity instead of having the tractor plugged in 24/7.

The other thing is a really good battery/batteries. Since a diesel fires from the heat of compression, it takes a strong battery to really get that engine spinning. A weak battery will often times fail to spin the engine fast enough.

As a side note: below zero degrees (f), I seldom start a tractor because it is just not worth it when it gets that cold.
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Hard to Start Skidder
 
Travis Johnson
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D Nikolls wrote:My driveway is not something a fuel truck will risk, and while this will work for fueling the tractor once the driveway is fixed, much of it goes to the excavator, which I am not willing to drive back to the shop area for refuelling...

There are some pretty tight regulations about the tanks that fuel can be stored in up here, so legal tanks are not cheap.

Otherwise a better idea for sure..



Okay, I understand now.

Could you buy a 30 gallon drum, and then use your tractor or excavator to load it on and off your truck, and then fill that at the gas station?
 
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My go-to tractor for snow-blowing is in an unheated/uninsulated garage.  I considered replacing the block heater when that item died, but then got into the habit of just throwing a tarp over the tractor and running a space heater underneath it for a couple of hours.  The heater is directed mostly onto the oil pan, but the heat drifts upward and is captured under the tarp so that ultimately the entire engine compartment is warmed up.  Starts quite easily at that point.  I only take this measure when the temperature in that garage is below 10F.....tractor seems to start fine above that temperature.  

One other note on stand-alone generators.  I too got tired of the gunking up from old gas that occurs in those from lack of use.  Finally, bought a fuel-diverting stop-cock that lets me drain the tank when not using the unit regularly.  So now I use the fuel shutoff to kill the engine if I know it's going to sit for a while and then follow up with turning the stop-cock to drain the tank.  Seems to help at this point.
 
Travis Johnson
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John Weiland wrote:One other note on stand-alone generators.  I too got tired of the gunking up from old gas that occurs in those from lack of use.  Finally, bought a fuel-diverting stop-cock that lets me drain the tank when not using the unit regularly.  So now I use the fuel shutoff to kill the engine if I know it's going to sit for a while and then follow up with turning the stop-cock to drain the tank.  Seems to help at this point.



If people have a tractor with a PTO, they might consider getting a PTO Generator.

I have one, and it is 20 KW which is pretty big, but the prices for a PTO Generator are very cheap. For instance you can buy a 15 KW generator BRAND NEW for $1400. And you can find plenty of rebuilt ones for half that. That is a pretty big generator for the price. The reason for that is because you are NOT paying for an engine, you provide that via your tractor.

The really good thing about a PTO generator though over that of a portable generator, is that they provide clean power for those sensitive electronics now.

And as long as your tractor will start, you will have back up electricity. No extra engine to maintain, nor fuel to go to crap, etc. I really like mine, so I thought I would pass the information along.

Edited to add: If you have heavy equipment, a lot of times they have hidden PTO's. My John Deere 350 D bulldozer had a PTO for instance hidden behind a access plate.
 
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My tractor setup is a 35HP HST Kubota with FEL and class 1 3point with mid and rear PTO. It’s a great small tractor. My neighbor has a similar age and capability JD HST and it’s a very capable machine. The annoying thing is that we have two machines that basically do the same thing. Last year I got a 20 year old 72 HP Zetor tractor which is a manual transmission and 4WD. It’s a simple machine but parts can be an issue. I use it primarily for subsoiling and root pruning, but I am considering doing some upgrades to make it a more functional machine to replace most of the skid steer functionality.

What that means is replacing the 2spool hydraulic relief with a 3 or 4 spool and buying hoses and a skid steer quick attach pin-on adapter. It’s a bit of a risk as the combined expense is about $1100 and the flow rate on a tractor that old is low. The good news is that this tractor is very hard to get stuck. Making the electric plug work on skid steer attachments is not in the cards. So it would run the grapple, plow, etc but can’t run a bunch of other implements. So I would have to rent a machine by the week for that stuff. I have a friend that will rent me a tracked skid steer for $800/week including delivery. I can sell my skid steer for 10k which means 12 weeks before it makes sense to own one- except the depreciation (or maintenance) costs on a tracked skid steer are around $15 an hour. So more like 40 weeks.

Just another option to consider if you aren’t needing (not just wanting) near 100% reliability. If you are careful you can get a very capable tractor for <10k and have some different capabilities than you would get from what might be available from a neighbor or friend.
 
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“One thing about the diesel 2 wheel tractors - when it's cold outside they can be difficult to start.”

Years back I had a 6kw Chinese Chang Fa diesel generator (that had electric start plus hand crank). It’s the same engine they use on their 2 wheeled tractors (way beefier than bcs), and in fact had a headlight. As you mention, at lower temps when the decompression valve is flipped it stops dead. I found that taking off the air cleaner assembly and holding a rag lit on fire (soaked in a little diesel first) as it cranked would result in quick starts as it sucked the fire into the engine. Probably could use a propane torch too. If you were hand cranking it would take a second person to hold the fire. I also switched to 5w40 synthetic oil in winter which made a big difference.
 
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I have a JD 2210 for my 11 acres.  I purchased a tiller that I seldom use.  I do use the front end loader almost daily.  I have a post hole augers that may finally see some use.  My wife pushed me to buy it, but it isn't worth the struggle of hooking it up to replace a single post. This summer I will be putting in at least 100, so maybe there will be a return on it.  

Even if I had 25 acres, I can't see getting a larger tractor.
 
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John,

I almost had that very tractor.  I acted just a little too late and got the 2305 which is almost identical, really only cosmetic differences.

I don’t know if you mow (bush hog) with yours, but I do with mine and it was beating up my back on my rough, uneven ground.  I moved up to the 2038r mostly for smoother mowing.

But that 2305 did a LOT!  It did far more than I ever expected.  It is a huge tractor in a small package.  The nice part of moving up in tractors is that I sold the tractor to my neighbor.  We cooperate on our projects all the time.

Great tractor you have there in that 2210!

Eric
 
John F Dean
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Hi Eric,


Yes, I have the mowing deck. I just had  the deck worked on pretty extensively.  I bought it new, but now its is around 20 years old.    Now that I am into raised beds, I have little use for the tiller. Every few years, I replant a pasture area.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Eric,

I just had a flashback.  You probably got the better machine as opposed to mine. If I remember, the 2210 had PTO issues that cost a fortune to fix. That said, mine has worked perfectly.
 
Eric Hanson
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John,

I owned my 2305 for 13 years and only ever had one problem and that was partially my fault.

I noticed that my tractor was leaking hydraulic fluid.  I frequently checked the sight glass and sure enough, it was low.  I would put more in, but it just leaked out.

Now I had fears of a multi thousand dollar repair from some crack in the case or some other disastrous repair.  When I got the call to pay for the repair, the price was under $100.  I went in to the shop and they handed me a little baggie with what looked like an O-ring made out of grass!  It turns out that while bush hogging my tall grass, I bumped the PTO selector lever into the both mid and rear position.  The little exposed mid PTO shaft wrapped up grass as I was mowing and it ground out the O-ring!  Actually the grass O-ring was doing a half way decent job.  I got lucky.

From then on out I was always very careful about where the PTO lever was positioned.

Eric
 
John F Dean
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As a late reply, my only complaint about the 2210 is the bucket capacity weight wise.  I think it tops off at 600 pounds.  I really wish it was double that.  That said, it is good enough for 98% of the work I want to do.  Every couple of years I hire someone to do the more serious jobs.
 
Eric Hanson
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Hey John.

I am curious what you are lifting that is greater than 600 pounds.  On my little 2305, I am pretty sure that the 600 pound rating was highly conservative.  I once lifted over 900 pounds, although I did not try lifting it very high (landscape bricks—I was experimenting just to see how big a load I could lift).  In fact the biggest problem I had was that the balance of the tractor was shifted drastically forward.

I never once came close to maxing out a scoop of anything.

Eric
 
John F Dean
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I seldom seriously pressed the limits.  As a hindsight guess I would say firewood and dirt.
 
John F Dean
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Large round hay bales come to mind as a future need.
 
Eric Hanson
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When I lifted 900+ pounds I was moving a bunch of landscaping bricks from the front of my house to the back.  Each brick weighed 40 pounds and I wanted to see just how much I could lift.  I stacked in till just over 900 pounds was in the bucket—loaded full.  I started the tractor expecting that the hydraulics would be totally unresponsive.  To my surprise I easily lifted the bucket—a couple inches.  I am sure that it would be lifted further but the balance was massively off.  I SLOOOOOOWLY crawled the tractor to the back.  I was a little concerned about the front axels so I tried to do this as gently as possible.

But other than that particular load, I cannot imagine what I could scoop up with the bucket that would come close.  Maybe if I was scooping up lead shot—maybe.  But a bit heaping load of fine gravel dust for filling holes in a driveway—no problem.  Load up and bunch of firewood, easy.  A round bale might have given me some trouble but nothing else ever did.

Eric
 
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“It is pretty hard to get perfect grazers. Inevitably they will leave some of the grass and weeds that they do not like behind. Most of the time weeds are late in going to seed over that of grasses, so it is nice to go out and "clip" pastures which kills the weeds before they go to seed. Doing this really improves the field because it is both Chop and Drop, and Rotational Grazing. Within a few years of clipping pastures at the right time, you will get really thick stands of sward.

The maintenance on a tractor is not that bad. As I said, I put a clutch in mine for $300 in the 20 years I have had it. A few front tires, and some odds and end mechanical work. Its been under $1000 in maintenance costs in 20 years; or the equivalent of buying about 5 sheep at todays prices. It will take well more than 5 sheep to mob graze any pasture! I bought mine in 1999 for $14,200, and it is worth about $9,000 today. So in twenty years it has a total cost of about $6,200. It also has just shy of 3000 hours on it, so it has an average cost of around $2.00 per hour. To me, my time is worth more than $2.00 per hour.

As for my BSC, I bought it used for $500“ - Travis

Thanks for the thoughtful and enlightening reply!
 
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This was such a helpful post. I'm trying to size a tractor to my 10 acres, mostly mowing, but some bucket and blade work. Thanks to all who contributed. Any suggestions on HP? I have no idea where to begin.
 
Julie Reed
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That’s somewhat a question of time, Cory. How fast do you want to get things done? Gearing and hydraulics allow us to ‘cheat’ to get more out of small equipment, but overall, the more HP, the faster you can work (to a point). If you do a lot of mowing, the size of the mower you can run, as well as ground speed at which you can mow, are directly tied to net HP of the tractor. I mean, you could mow 10 acres with a 5hp push mower, right? So, you can do a lot of work with one of the little Iskei or Yanmar 15hp size tractors, but in bite size pieces. The bucket moves a few cubic feet of dirt per load, instead of half a cubic yard.
Having run everything from 12hp to over 100, I really think 35-40 is the sweet spot for a small homestead. You have adequate power to run attachments, good fuel economy, and enough weight to give stability. It’s not fun to constantly feel like the tractor is unbalanced. I also would lean strongly toward 4wd, if you will be operating much in mud or snow.
And if you ever scale up your operation, there’s still not going to be much you can’t do with 40hp of diesel tractor. The flip side is that it’s still small enough to be fuel efficient, maneuver easily, and not ridiculously heavy if you do get it stuck.
I think the best question to ask yourself is what is the most need for power you plan to have, then add 30%. It’s never good to be operating equipment at its limit all the time. Maybe even consider renting a couple different size tractors for a day and see how they feel?
 
D Nikolls
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Julie Reed wrote:That’s somewhat a question of time, Cory. How fast do you want to get things done? Gearing and hydraulics allow us to ‘cheat’ to get more out of small equipment, but overall, the more HP, the faster you can work (to a point). If you do a lot of mowing, the size of the mower you can run, as well as ground speed at which you can mow, are directly tied to net HP of the tractor. I mean, you could mow 10 acres with a 5hp push mower, right? So, you can do a lot of work with one of the little Iskei or Yanmar 15hp size tractors, but in bite size pieces. The bucket moves a few cubic feet of dirt per load, instead of half a cubic yard.
Having run everything from 12hp to over 100, I really think 35-40 is the sweet spot for a small homestead. You have adequate power to run attachments, good fuel economy, and enough weight to give stability. It’s not fun to constantly feel like the tractor is unbalanced. I also would lean strongly toward 4wd, if you will be operating much in mud or snow.
And if you ever scale up your operation, there’s still not going to be much you can’t do with 40hp of diesel tractor. The flip side is that it’s still small enough to be fuel efficient, maneuver easily, and not ridiculously heavy if you do get it stuck.
I think the best question to ask yourself is what is the most need for power you plan to have, then add 30%. It’s never good to be operating equipment at its limit all the time. Maybe even consider renting a couple different size tractors for a day and see how they feel?



To me, about 45-50hp is the sweet spot for most uses.

Specifically, the lowest HP version of a tractor big enough to have a cat2 3pt hitch. This will tend to go along with a loader able to lift around 2000lbs.

This is big enough to carry an IBC mostly full of water, a good sized log, a short pallet of bricks, a minibulk bag of feed, etc. Wide selection of implements. Not too big to use cat1 stuff, but able to go bigger. Not a lot more thirsty than a 35-40hp cat1 unit, but a LOT more traction and steel, meaning strength.
 
John F Dean
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HP seems to be like room dimensions when one is building a house.  You always wish you had a little more.  
 
Eric Hanson
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Cory,

Julie and others have given some good information.  For my part, your 10 acres sounds a lot like my 9+ acres.  How often do you plan to mow?  I have to mow my 6ish acres once per year per local covenants.  I also have to maintain a 450' gravel driveway and the bucket gets used almost every time I turn on the tractor.

I don't know how tight your money is, but when I bought my first tractor, money was a bit tight and I bought a JD 2305 subcompact.  I already mentioned this earlier in this thread, but just for a refresher, that tractor with a loader and 4' bush hog was what I could reasonably afford at the time.  I eventually added a super-cheap, very light duty 5' grader blade for $150.  I used that blade for clearing snow and for occasionally moving gravel on the driveway.  It was not a particularly good grader blade but it did the job.  That tractor did a lot of work, but mowing was a slow and tedious chore.  The tractor worked extremely well for me for 13 years, but I did want to move up in both frame size and hp.

I now have a JD2038R which is a much larger frame and a 37 hp engine.  It can power a 6' bush hog easily and I now have a 7' grader blade for clearing snow.  This is the last tractor I will ever own and I love it.  I think Julie had a good point about the 35-40 hp range being ideal for your type of situation.  Mowing my 6 acres of tall grass used to be a day-long affair.  While the 2305 could do it, it was really undersized for the job.  I sat lower that the tops of the tallest grass and all that seed, chaff and dust would fall in my face and on the front grill of the tractor.  The front grill of the tractor acts as a type of pre-filter for the engine, and by blocking it, the engine would overheat.  Frankly, it was a hot, dusty unpleasant chore.  To make matters worse, my land is very uneven, with lots of chuck holes.  The smaller frame and tires of the 2305 seemed to amplify each and every bump over the ground and took its toll on my back.  My 2038R rides right over these holes barely even noticing them.  Even better, my new tractor never ever overheats, mows faster and cuts a wider swath with each pass.  That previous all day chore is now done in just over an hour!

But your money is your money and really, only you can make the decision.  One of the reasons I liked the 2038R is that it had the frame size of the next series of tractors in the JD lineup.  It had a few nice bells and whistles without being inundated with features I would never use.  Also, the purchase price was about 10K less that the next up 3 series.  I can't speak for other manufacturers, but the 2038r hit a sweet spot for me.

Good luck,

Eric
 
D Nikolls
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John F Dean wrote:HP seems to be like room dimensions when one is building a house.  You always wish you had a little more.  



Except when you wish you had a little less!

For loader work, my 50hp is every bit as good as the same frame with the largest available motor, which was at least a 75hp.

Running a subsoiler,  or grader blade, I will run out of traction, with the tires ballasted in 4x4 with the diff locked, before running out of torque. Or, break the subsoiler... done that too.

Hauling trailers, unloading equipment, skidding logs, etc, etc.. all just as good as limiting factor is not HP, but rather weight/traction.

The only times I've noticed that the extra HP would help are running mowers, brush cutters, a big rototiller... power hungry PTO or hydraulic driven implements, where a 50% boost to HP will translate pretty linearly to a 50% wider max implement size...

So, how much of your tractor time is spent on that category?


Plenty of things on many farms could be done with a 30hp unit; if all you have is an 80hp, the operating costs are definitely higher. The 50 is a good midpoint imo, if you aren't gonna own a fleet.


(The same motor in the 75hp version, actually, set up different; I believe injectors, fuel pump, and it has a turbo.)
 
Cole Tyler
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Well, we finally got approval on a tractor purchase. Haven't signed any papers yet but Kubota L2501 HST 4x4 is ultimately what I decided on. Various reasons, I wasn't interested in the highest spec'd machine at the cheapest price...I was looking at other things like...
Dealer locations
Warranty/insurance
# of models made and for how long
Real world capability of machine (size/weight in regards to transporting to off-farm jobs, etc)
Simplicity, reliability, serviceability, (Kubota L2501 is pretty legendary in those regards, especially the sub 26hp non DPF/re-gen machines)

Brushogging and tree work (moving logs/brush from job sites to trailers and ultimately to my farm) are the main tasks but also whatever earthworks it can hadle in creating raised beds and swales, along with micro ponds, and moving rocks, etc.

Here is the list so far of wants, but might change a few things at actual time of signing.

Rimguard (beet juice) in rear tires and moved out to widest setting
HST
Tooth bar for bucket
Pallet forks
60" brushcutter
3rd function loader valve for future grapple or snow plow
AG tires
Quick attach couplers
Grader blade/ripper bar (maybe a box blade, dont know whats best for cutting into hillsides so the loader can get into the ground better?)
 
Julie Reed
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Congratulations Tyler! A new tractor is always exciting stuff. Sounds like you’ve got a well thought out list of specs. For a small tractor, that’s still a very capable machine. You can do a lot with smaller equipment, just ‘one bite at a time’ style. One thing you mentioned was cutting into hillsides. Not sure exactly what you have in mind, but rippers might be able to help you do that, although having the tooth bar on the bucket would probably be adequate. Depending on the soil type and angle of the land, there may be no good substitute for either a backhoe or excavator to do that. Maybe add the backhoe attachment to your wish list? 🤫
 
Cole Tyler
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Julie Reed wrote:Congratulations Tyler! A new tractor is always exciting stuff. Sounds like you’ve got a well thought out list of specs. For a small tractor, that’s still a very capable machine. You can do a lot with smaller equipment, just ‘one bite at a time’ style. One thing you mentioned was cutting into hillsides. Not sure exactly what you have in mind, but rippers might be able to help you do that, although having the tooth bar on the bucket would probably be adequate. Depending on the soil type and angle of the land, there may be no good substitute for either a backhoe or excavator to do that. Maybe add the backhoe attachment to your wish list? 🤫



Thank ya Yea a backhoe would be awesome, but super expensive and bumped my payment higher than I'd like. Also, there are a few downsides to consider when using a backhoe on a compact tractor from what I've been reading. Maybe once I pay off the tractor I could try to get one, I think Kubota has a program to finance just attachments if I recall correctly?
 
Julie Reed
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A backhoe attachment on a tractor is not quite as good as a backhoe itself. But, I’ve rented that size tractor with the hoe attachment and it worked great. An option might be watching Craigslist and other online ads, as well as estate sales and auctions. You can sometimes find a Woods or other brand that will fit for a few thousand dollars. Once you dig with a backhoe you get spoiled quick!
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