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Advice needed, tractor models to consider

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JohnKempf
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:22 pm    Post subject: Advice needed, tractor models to consider Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Hi Friends,

I have worked on farms for decades, but always with horsepower of the four footed kind, and am very unfamiliar with tractors. I am in need of advice on which tractor models I should consider as possible options to fit our needs. I would love to get your opinion. Thanks!

I expect to use a tractor for the following:

- Moving/ piling/spreading wood chips and compost
- Pulling a trailer carrying 3000-4000 lb weight on highways and off road for 15-20 mile round trips (transporting honeybees)
- Load and unload honeybee hives on trailer
- Planting and frost seeding 60-80 acres annually
- Brush hogging/mowing 60-80 acres once or twice a year
- Possibly, in the future, make hay in between wide orchard rows with small hay equipment. Will need to fit in 10-12 foot row spacing if possible.
- In the future, possibly spraying orchard/tree crops and hauling out harvest

I dont anticipate using this tractor for tillage or soil preparation work.

Considering that I am moving a trailer or wagon off road with honeybees, it seems to me I will likely want 4 wheel drive.

I will want a loader, ideally one with a larger bucket option for lightweight materials, and forks for loading and unloading.

Given that this tractor will possibly be using for tree crops and orchard in the future, I prefer a lighter weight tractor to minimize compaction from repeat traffic on paths. However, need enough weight to manage trailer on roads, etc.

I have a preference for a tractor that is reliably built, and is relatively easy to work on, with minimal/no electronics, although I am open to a newer model tractor if needed/better.

I have good local mechanics able to repair and service most brands. I have access to dealerships for parts of most tractor brands within 30-60 miles. The closest one is a Kubota dealership, with a reputation of being difficult to deal with. I prefer to avoid them, I think.

I am budget conscious , but I am not sure what to consider reasonably priced.

With this context, what tractor models would you advise us to consider? Do any of our objectives seem out of alignment or in possible conflict? What is a reasonable budget for the tractor model you would suggest?

Thank you!
 
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Bruce from Can.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:40 am    Post subject: Re: Advice needed, tractor models to consider Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Not sure what you can spend? So if you are thinking 5-7
thousand, I would recommend that you buy a tractor with at
large numbers of these tractors built. Example, MF 165, IH
584, Ford 5000. All of these tractors are 40 or so years old, in
the 50 go range , can do the various jobs you listed. And parts
are readily available, and fairly easy to repair.
 
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DRussell
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 3:46 am    Post subject: Re: Advice needed, tractor models to consider Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I agree with Bruce's comment. A 50-60 horsepower machine would be plenty for what you are looking to do. Of the ones Bruce listed I would go with a Ford 5000.
 
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showcrop
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 3:53 am    Post subject: Re: Advice needed, tractor models to consider Reply to specific post Reply with quote



towing a 4,000 lb trailer safely on the road requires a tractor of around 5,000 lbs. Frequent loader use with minimum soil compaction calls for four wheel drive. A two wheel drive needs to be considerably heavier to do the same loader work as a four wheel drive.
 
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Jim.ME
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 4:29 am    Post subject: Re: Advice needed, tractor models to consider Reply to specific post Reply with quote

In what general part of the world are you located? Do you have a "not to exceed" budget in mind?

I am confused with: "Possibly, in the future, make hay in between wide orchard rows with small hay equipment. Will need to fit in 10-12 foot row spacing if possible." What type orchard? What average foliage spread from the plant base? To me row spacing is from the root stem, not tips of foliage, I would not consider 10-12 foot row spacing wide, but narrow. Even trimmed and trellised I would think travel area would be down to 8 feet or less, without brushing the plants. At that spacing I think you will have trouble trying to make hay even with small equipment, especially hooked to a tractor of the size required for your other needs. Maybe you will need a second tractor, small, for some of your work.

Light weight, loader, pulling a 3,000 - 4000 (+) trailer can be in conflict. Is the terrain flat or hilly? Any wet spots? Depending on what you spray in the future, you may want a environmental cab tractor, or you will be suited up in protective raingear and and full face respirator, not fun in hot, humid weather. Just some thoughts.
 
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ss55
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 4:33 am    Post subject: Re: Advice needed, tractor models to consider Reply to specific post Reply with quote

If working around trees a lower profile utility tractor with an under slung exhaust to the rear might catch fewer branches than a tall row crop tractor with a vertical exhaust. Some manufacturers offered orchard models with extra streamlined sheetmetal and low profile, but that may not be compatible with a loader. Also look for a quick attach loader, removing the loader when working around trees greatly increases your manuverability. A loader needs adequate counter weight on the rear axle for traction and safety, wider and taller tires increase the soil contact area to reduce compaction.

Probably the biggest factor is: what is your budget? Four wheel drive pushes you into more modern tractors, 1980's and newer.
 
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JohnKempf
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:04 am    Post subject: Re: Advice needed, tractor models to consider Reply to specific post Reply with quote

CVPost-Bruce from Can. wrote:
(quoted from post at 02:40:07 09/23/21) Not sure what you can spend? So if you are thinking 5-7
thousand, I would recommend that you buy a tractor with at
large numbers of these tractors built. Example, MF 165, IH
584, Ford 5000. All of these tractors are 40 or so years old, in
the 50 go range , can do the various jobs you listed. And parts
are readily available, and fairly easy to repair.


Thank you Bruce!

I am thinking the 5-10k range, but would be willing to go higher if absolutely necessary.
 
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Hay hay hay
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:10 am    Post subject: Re: Advice needed, tractor models to consider Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I do a lot of what you do with my tractors. I think you need at least a 50HP tractor and 65 HP or more would be better. I do not like
4wd. If the fields are wet enough to need 4wd, I am going to make nasty ruts that will never heal. For your mowing, plan on using an 8
to 10ft mower, to reduce mowing time. That again needs at least 50 HP, 65 would be better. I have a John Deere 5420...2wd...very
reliable for the 18 years I have owned it (bought new). Minimal electronics . Around here they sell used with a loader for $20K. Any
brand tractor of that size and HP will do what you are looking to accomplish. My tractor is surprisingly agile for its size.
 
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JohnKempf
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:10 am    Post subject: Re: Advice needed, tractor models to consider Reply to specific post Reply with quote


Ah, you are correct Jim, I didn't communicate clearly, guess that's what happens at 1:40 AM.

I am located in NE Ohio.

The width on orchard rows is likely to be 18-20 feet from tree row to tree row, with likely crops being chestnuts and elderberries. I anticipate having 10-12 feet between shoot tips.

The terrain is flat to slightly rolling with some wet spots, large hills are rare.

I don't expect to spraying pesticides, but a cab is still a proactively good idea.
 
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JK-NY
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:14 am    Post subject: Re: Advice needed, tractor models to consider Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Sounds like you would need a 50-70 hp utility tractor. If you want a mfwd (4wd) loader tractor you will probably be looking in the
mid 1980s thru approx. 2010 time frame. Much newer gets you into more complicated engines due to emmissions requirments. A few
models to consider would be Ford 4600,4610 .5610 . JD 5105,5205 5210,5310, 5410. Kubotas of similar size. Newer loaders usually
have a system that allows for easy changing of loader bucket to forks, many use skid steer type attaching , John Deere has its
own system. Good parts/dealer support is important if you buy something and plan to keep it for a while.
 
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JohnKempf
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:14 am    Post subject: Re: Advice needed, tractor models to consider Reply to specific post Reply with quote


My budget preference would be to be in the 5-10k range, but am willing to go higher if necessary.

I expect to use this tractor for some time, and want to buy right while I am at it.
 
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JohnKempf
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:16 am    Post subject: Re: Advice needed, tractor models to consider Reply to specific post Reply with quote


Thank you for your guidance! Will take a look at the options with the models you recommended.
 
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ss55
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:28 am    Post subject: Re: Advice needed, tractor models to consider Reply to specific post Reply with quote

A $5K to $10K budget will probably limit you to 2 wheel drive tractors with a loader. Run away from any tractors from feed lots or dairy farms, they are often beyond worn out.
 
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rockyridgefarm
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:28 am    Post subject: Re: Advice needed, tractor models to consider Reply to specific post Reply with quote


It is not what you are asking, but I thought I would throw in my two cents about loader tractors -
I had a beekeeper place hives on my farm for a number of years. They owned a pickup, cattle trailer, skid steer, and skid steer trailer. No tractor. Obviously, a skid steer won't pull a wagon or equipment with a PTO, but it will outperform a loader tractor in almost every job requiring lifting. They make an amazing array of attachments for skid steers these days. I have a mower, wood splitter, pallet forks, brush grapple, log grapple, 100"snow bucket, 66" tooth bucket' 80" light material bucket, 72" heavy material bucket, truss lift, super sack holder, fence unroller, bale forks, triple bale forks, bale hugger, etc. And there are MANY more attachments available. I would not farm without my skid steer. I have owned loader tractors in the past, but have not had one for about 5 years now. I have a Deere 317. If anything, I would buy a second skid steer a little bigger.

If you are hard set on a loader tractor, get one with a reverser. Since you will not be doing row crops, consider an industrial like a John Deere 401. They are more likely to have a reverser, and can be had for less money. Be aware that some do not have 3point or a hydraulic remote or a PTO, and be sure to get one that does. Also be sure to get a loader with a joystick control. These two features make or break a loader tractor.

To keep them light, you can take the fluid out of the tires and build a 3 point counterweight. When you need it light, you can remove the loader and drop the counterweight. but DO NOT use a loader tractor without some sort of ballast in the back. They can be very dangerous.
 
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rrlund
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 6:22 am    Post subject: Re: Advice needed, tractor models to consider Reply to specific post Reply with quote

You're kind of putting the cart before the horse. Instead of just doing a nationwide search for a few brands and models, it'd be
best if you found a few tractors that are for sale and then ask if those would be a good choice. This post could go on forever with
folks just telling you what their personal favorite tractor is.
 
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