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post #1 of 17 Old 03-13-2019, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Recs on tractor/equipment for multiple uses

Hi everyone,

Excited to join the forum - we have just moved onto 10 acres of land in upstate NY (roughly square layout) and have been struggling to decide what approach on tractor choice would be best investment for the type of land. Hoping the forum here can help with guidance!

As far as land type:
  • about an acre and half currently of mown lawn
  • five or so acres of fairly flat land with about 50% coverage of pervasive bush/shrubs that stand up to 6 ft tall and have branches protruding from the ground i.e. no main trunk, and with branches around 1-3" in diameter - we haven't yet figured what these are but intention is to clear a lot of it out
  • an acre roughly of steeper sides most of which has the shrub/bush kind of cover mentioned above

Needs as we've figured them:
  • regular mowing of a traditional flat suburban-type lawn during the season
  • clearing of the shrub/bush to develop into more grassy field/hillside - with this we'd increase the amount of mown lawn area to about 2-3 acres overall, and also need to maintain mown paths
  • ability to haul wagon or similar for moving cut wood, earth, garden items etc.

We do have a lengthy drive but are happy to just rely on local service for plowing, and we already have a Troy Bilt 30" blower so pretty much set there.

Thoughts so far:
  • Some people have suggested DR walk behind along with a ride on lawnmower with ball hitch for wagon. Question we'd have is how steep can the DR go and would the DR really only be applicable for one season before we just used lawnmower thereafter?
  • Is a small tractor that can drag a tough mower to cover the lawn and then the field for brush clearing etc. better?

Any suggestions would be very helpful! And if any other details would help I can easy provide.

Many thanks,

JW
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post #2 of 17 Old 03-14-2019, 02:38 AM
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Re: Recs on tractor/equipment for multiple uses

Budget??

I'd suggest two tractors. One being a light to medium weight GT (garden tractor) for mowing and cart pulling, and the other either a heavy weight GT or a SCUT (sub compact utility tractor) for land clearing. A DR mower is not going to pull even small stumps.

With 10 acres to play with, a loader on either of the heavy tractors will see no end of work to be done.

You can try with the light duty equipment that you suggested, but you will be purchasing bigger and more capable equipment in short order.

Bob

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post #3 of 17 Old 03-14-2019, 03:37 AM
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Re: Recs on tractor/equipment for multiple uses

I rarely recommend Zero Turn Mowers, but they have their place which is a few acres of mostly flat land to be finish mowed. You don't have to go top end though.

A walk behind field and brush mower could probably clear the brush. None of them are low priced, but some are less than DR for better quality. Unless you think you'll have need for that in future seasons, that process might be one to consider having a company come in and do it though.

If you decide to also get a small tractor, you can add a towable brush mower to maintain that area until the brush dies off and grass takes over. A towable tiller will help there and in many other ways.

The initial brush clearing on the slope is also something to consider having done. There are special machines for that and people that know how to use them with less risk. Once that's tamed, you may be able to use a zero turn mower if the slope isn't too steep.

A small tractor (SCUT) will weigh close to a ton with the machine, mower, loader bucket and operator (you). That WILL leave ruts in softer ground.
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post #4 of 17 Old 03-17-2019, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Recs on tractor/equipment for multiple uses

Hi guys - thank you very much - really appreciate the comments and thoughts.

What would the benefit be of a Zero Turn over a standard lawn/garden tractor with fitted mower - is that down to speed and ease of moving around lawn edge? (may be a question for another forum).

We have a lot of viney ground cover (low - only 6" high or so) across parts of the more open field - we want to cut that down and grow more wild grasses etc.

I attached couple of images:
  • 7787 has the tougher brush/shrub - height typically 5-7' and branches up to 2-3" in dia
  • 7789 has some other kind of shrub/tree with stalks sprouting from the ground

We need to get rid of both of the above in various locations. People would suggest a tractor to pull out the #7787 example? i.e. just haul out the trunk. And the second one #7789 probably could be mown over with DR or similar.

Thanks for the help!

JW
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post #5 of 17 Old 03-18-2019, 06:45 AM
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Re: Recs on tractor/equipment for multiple uses

ZTRs will cut open spaces faster, and are somewhat more maneuverable around obstacles. But that's all they do ... mow, and maybe pull a small trailer/cart. There are a few attachments for them, but they are no where near as versatile as other machines.

How many of each are we talking about? The brush can be mowed over with a field and brush mower or rotary cutter behind a tractor (back in over it).

The bush, I would cut down with pruners and/or a chainsaw, then either dig the stump out or cut it flush to the ground and mow over it. That will eventually kill it off by mowing the suckers it sends up.

But if you have lots of those bushes ....
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post #6 of 17 Old 03-27-2019, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Recs on tractor/equipment for multiple uses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Obscured_by_Clouds View Post
....
Ah - great - thanks re ZTR. (been traveling a lot so reply time here was a bit extended...)

Of that brush, we have 5-6 maybe 10ft square spots in a clearing, but the main target is similar brush on a short sloped hillside - drop is about 15ft. Slope is I think a bit steep so you'd have to run up it vertically with a walk behind mower and then come back down in reverse - something like that.

Of the larger bushes - I'd say 12-15 or so, some are smaller and some bigger. I think it's feasible to hack it back and then chainsaw off the top and pull stump out the ground for each. That sounds best method.

If we assume rental of a brush mower (or get a service to do it if the hillside too steep) - then question is what kind of tractor to cover the mowing and at least help with stump pulling or hauling stuff around. We'd prefer to go lower budget as this is first item - but at same time would like it to be as general purpose as possible. A typical ride on mower with some kind of tail hook would be best and most cost effective to start? Any immediate thoughts/reactions or indeed brand/model suggestions? Ideally in low $ks.
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post #7 of 17 Old 03-28-2019, 01:40 AM
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Re: Recs on tractor/equipment for multiple uses

Mowing slopes requires a GT if you expect a decent service life. A ride on mower (LT) does not have a strong enough transaxle and will overheat.

Likewise, stump pulling is a task better reserved for the larger GTs. A typical LT can produce 170-250 ft-lb of axle torque. Depending on which transaxle, a GT can produce 300-650 ft-lb, and if it has a 2 speed final drive, over 1300 ft-lb. I've had my GT doing a cake walk (front wheels off the ground) for several feet while pulling a 2" white birch stump and its roots. My neighbor was standing in the 210 lb bucket of the loader at the time. That tractor has a 2 speed final drive and it was in LO range (1300+ ft-lb of axle torque). Total tractor weight was over 2600 lb when pulling that stump.

There are no new GTs on the market with the same capability, but older models can be had for under $2000.

Bob

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post #8 of 17 Old 03-28-2019, 08:16 PM
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Re: Recs on tractor/equipment for multiple uses

My advice would be to purchase a SCUT (Sub-Compact Utility Tractor), with 60"+ mower deck, a front-end-loader (FEL), and possibly even a backhoe (BH). Examples would be the John Deere 1025R or the Kubota BX23S.

A SCUT is a very versatile machine tool. Standard features are diesel engine, 4WD, rear 3-Point-Hitch (3PH), and on-board hydraulic valves to operate/control attachments. With readily available attachments, it can mow, dig, dump, haul, brush-hog, push or blow snow, split wood, drill post holes, plow and till soil, etc etc.

We have no idea what your budget is. But even a new SCUT can be surprisingly affordable. John Deere, Kubota, and others routinely offer promotional rebates and 0% financing. For someone new to tractors, having a fully-warranted and dealer-supported platform can take a lot of the hassle out of ownership.




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post #9 of 17 Old 04-02-2019, 09:45 AM
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Re: Recs on tractor/equipment for multiple uses

Quote:
Originally Posted by jw12866 View Post
Any immediate thoughts/reactions or indeed brand/model suggestions? Ideally in low $ks.
For that budget, I wouldn't even think about trying to buy a machine capable of doing the clearing work especially given that once its done you have a heavy machine you are mowing your lawn with. I'd find someone with a decent sized tractor or skid steer and brush hog to clear whatever you want cleared and focus your spend on something that will mow that much lawn in a reasonable period of time.

There are a lot of good mowers that fit the 2-3 acre market. It would be helpful if we knew if we are talking new or used, how fast you want to be able to get the mowing done, how long you want the machine to last and how tolerant you are of maintenance especially on older used/abused machines.

JD x595 62c 54" blade with extensions

Soon to be former:
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JD F1145 72" deck 47" blower Cozy Cab
JD 4410 420 Loader 59" blower Curtis Cab tiller box blade rake

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Ford 1910 4WD Loader Backhoe
Kubota L245 2WD 72" finish mower 5' front blade
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post #10 of 17 Old 04-02-2019, 10:45 AM
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Re: Recs on tractor/equipment for multiple uses

Quote:
Originally Posted by jw12866 View Post
...Ideally in low $ks.
Oops, sorry I missed that. But I still suggest exploring a new SCUT with 0% financing.




SOLD: 1966 JD 110 Round Fender Integral Sleeve Hitch, Model 42 Blade,

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post #11 of 17 Old 04-02-2019, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanTractor View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by jw12866 View Post
...Ideally in low $ks.
Oops, sorry I missed that. But I still suggest exploring a new SCUT with 0% financing.
I agree with UT. what you've described is a lot of work for any garden tractor if you can afford it I would get a SCUT.

I've had five acres and trying to manage it with garden tractors and it's difficult. Can be done though. but you will never really feel like you own that 10 acres until you get a tractor with a loader.

Plant 5 acres of switchgrass and let the pheasants go at it.
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post #12 of 17 Old 04-04-2019, 05:50 PM
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Re: Recs on tractor/equipment for multiple uses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Country1966? View Post
....you will never really feel like you own that 10 acres until you get a tractor with a loader...




SOLD: 1966 JD 110 Round Fender Integral Sleeve Hitch, Model 42 Blade,

1972 JD 140 H3, 1972 Cozy Cab Model 14 JDX (2nd Ed.), Front-, Mid-, and Rear-PTOs, Model 54/48" 4-Way Blade, Model 48 MMM, 542 Front PTO, 3-Point-Hitch, Heavy-Hitch, a bunch of Model 80 Carts, MTF Dec. 2013 Machine of the Month
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post #13 of 17 Old 04-14-2019, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Recs on tractor/equipment for multiple uses

Hey everyone - many thanks for all the replies. Very helpful indeed. Where I've got to is 1) having to figure near-term solution - which is a used lawn tractor - so we can keep control of the lawn as a first step and then 2) in a year or two figure a SCUT.

The major task is getting rid of the ground cover (for which a walk behind should suffice for the main areas) and then the various bushes (which we've learnt are honeysuckle), and those I can hack back with chainsaw etc. and pull out the smaller ones. There's a stretch of more expansive growth - but may well get a service in to clear that out in one shot.

Hear you loud and clear on this:
Quote:
....you will never really feel like you own that 10 acres until you get a tractor with a loader...
Am just a step or two behind that!

To Country1966 - we are planning on leaving fair amounts untouched and planting grasses etc. Pheasants welcome, and will handle them same way we did back in Scotland
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post #14 of 17 Old 04-14-2019, 07:43 PM
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Re: Recs on tractor/equipment for multiple uses

I tame honeysuckle but don't eliminate it. Makes a great hedge and the bees love it.
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post #15 of 17 Old 04-15-2019, 08:14 AM
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Re: Recs on tractor/equipment for multiple uses

Quote:
Originally Posted by jw12866 View Post
Hey everyone - many thanks for all the replies. Very helpful indeed. Where I've got to is 1) having to figure near-term solution - which is a used lawn tractor - so we can keep control of the lawn as a first step and then 2) in a year or two figure a SCUT.
For that much land especially with a lot of it in transition, I would be thinking used garden tractor instead of lawn tractor. You will get a bigger tougher deck to help with the mowing time and the machine will take a lot more use/abuse. Most also give the option of mowing higher if you want to maintain some of it more like a field.

JD x595 62c 54" blade with extensions

Soon to be former:
JD x300 42"
JD F1145 72" deck 47" blower Cozy Cab
JD 4410 420 Loader 59" blower Curtis Cab tiller box blade rake

Former:
JD F910 60" deck
Ford 1910 4WD Loader Backhoe
Kubota L245 2WD 72" finish mower 5' front blade
Jacobsen GT14
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