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Which tractor do you recommend?

Posted by miscindy 5 SW MI (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 29, 09 at 22:22

We finally closed on our property! Now we have 10 acres and about 5 of those need to be mowed. We also want the ability to purchase a snowblower attachment to eventually clear the driveway once the house it build. We're estimating the driveway will be 300-500 feet. We live in Michigan and have some fairly heavy snows.

We plan to garden, but don't necessarily need to own a tiller, we could rent one once a year.

We're looking at John Deere 300 series or 500 series. We prefer the price of the 300 series, but want to make sure it's going to be enough machine for the job. The main use will be lawn mowing. We'll also do snow blowing and hauling firewood perhaps.

Do you have either of these series of tractors? Which do you thing will meet our needs?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Which tractor do you recommend?

Try your question at this site. For as much as you're talking about, might as well leave the 2 JD's you're looking at alone. Probably get you a nice older tractor and mower that will handle what you have and then some and still be able to add on later and will be better quality cheaper than these will run you. Save some bucks and preserve history at the same time. Just a thought.


RE: Which tractor do you recommend?

I think that you should also look at the zero turn radius mowers. Since you will be mowing 5 acres, a ZTR will allow you to mow that in a decent time, not the may hours that a regular tractor will mow it. It won't allow you to use all the fancy add ons to do the garden, but I think you'd be better off with the ZTR and dedicated gardening implements. Just my 2 cents.

RE: Which tractor do you recommend?

We decided to go with the 500 series. We're used it everytime we've been out there working to pull the trailer to haul water for the trees, carry ladders and equipment to different sites, and to haul trash to the dumpster. We're glad we bought the larger one!

RE: Which tractor do you recommend?

The ZTR mowers are worth considering. I have both a 6' JD brush mower that I run from my Deutz 6250 tractor, and a grasshopper mower. The grasshopper is only 4' wide, but it is FASTER for doing my tree farm. Mind you, the brush mower doesn't stall out on heavy grass.

At one point I had a riding mower. Not bad, but the main yard took me 3 hours with it. (about 3 acres.) It died.
I was stuck with a push gas mower. I did the yard once that way. 8 hours.

Then I decided just to do paths. They were about 5 mower decks wide. Path along the rock garden, path to the veg garden, 20 feet around the house. 6 feet on either side of the driveway. The rest I let go.

And this neat thing occurred.

I discovered grass. I didn't have one kind of grass, I had about 6. Some tiny fine fescues, and some giant reed canary grass. One patch of lawn is being taken over by wild strawberries. Another by creeping charlie. A third by mutant forget-me-nots that bloom at 4" tall.

I mow the tree farm, to reduce the mouse population. I don't mow 80% of my house yard because to me it's more beautiful this way.

Anyway: For winter and spring work you want 4 wheel drive, or in tractor speak - FWA front wheel assist (they aren't as big, so they only assist) A 500' driveway means a decent snowblower. Get one that is a foot wider than your tractor. Makes cleaning up the corners easier.

Hydraulic controlled chute on the blower is a good idea.

My dream tractor for this would be the Newholland tractor that has a PTO at both ends. Neck aches after a lot of sitting twisted using a snowblower looking over my shoulder.

Avoid anything that says, "Cat 0 hitch" they aren't consistent from brand to brand. Category 1 and 2 hitches are pretty standard so you can use other companies attachments on your tractor. For a 500' driveway, I'd want a tractor with cat 2 hitch so I could run an 84" snowblower. (You can use cat 1 implements on a cat 2 tractor with bushings, and caution.)

PTO (Power take off) comes in two speeds 540 and 1000. They should be independent of the movement of the tractor. (very old tractors aren't) Some can have their speed set independent of the engine speed.

If you hate manual transmissions, don't get a manual tractor. My Deutz has 3 shift levers: One that is Low, High, Reverse, one that is 1,2,3,4; and one that is normal neutral, +20%. If you are going to mow with it, a 'shuttle shift' is nice.

Don't be put off by 20 or 30 year old tractors. Tractors generally don't get used as many hours per year as a car does, and they are simple beasts at heart. My Duetz was 22 years old when I bought it, (8 years ago) and it cost me 20,000 then. To replace it with a new (admittedly nicer) tractor today would cost the best part of 100,000 (Canadian prices)

A front end loader comes in handy for a bunch of things besides the obvious ones: Platform for picking apples at the top of the tree; pulling small stumps; getting yourself unstuck after trying to dig a pond

Around here a 50 HP or so tractor is called a 'utility tractor' It's the one that pulls trailers around, moves hay, cleans the corral. "Real tractors" are used to grow crops. For your purpose, 30 would be lots, and 20 might do. Give a serious look to the the smaller New Holland and the Kubota line.

Make a list of everything you want to do with the tractor.

Take that list with you when you talk to your neighbors, when you have coffee at the local cafe.

Ask around for dealers. Who's fair? Who's a crook? Who helps newbies. (I drive an extra 30 km because my local tractor dealer treats me like a black man a Ku Klux Klan meeting) It's worth paying extra to have a local dealer who is on your side.

Build yourself a shed for the tractor whatever you get. Keeping the rain and snow off it will lengthen it's life a lot.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Front Yard

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