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post #1 of 13 Old 10-13-2019, 07:57 AM Thread Starter
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The usual CUT suspects versus a Ventrac

Buying a little over 25 acres, stream at the bottom, beaver dams, planted in pines, previously clear cut, overgrown with brush and briars, 30' of slope over property length.

I've already ruled out SCUTs, though I could eventually get a lot of work out of a little Kubota BX25 with loader and hoe, and you can get them used for $10-$12K all day long.

Looked at CUTs, but JD is pricey and poorly designed, Kubotas are ok, but weak for the tasks at hand and forget Mahindra and these other off brands as they are too trouble prone. Additionally, one of my big tasks is brush cutting, and I want a front mounted brush cutter. You can get them, but really need to jump up to something like a 45hp utility tractor.

Big tasks are brush cutting, moving material and old brush piles, maybe a little digging later. Will do some food plot preparation.

Initial thoughts are to get a forestry mulcher out there to cut the property lines - these guys run $1,500 - $2,500 per day but there is no more cost effective option for getting some clearing done quickly. They can do 2-5 acres per day, and while expensive up front, the job is done.

So for the rest of the stuff, I'm leaning towards a Ventrac (ruled out Steiner because they don't have a dealer close enough). They seem expensive up front, but if you look at what they can do and how you would have to outfit a CUT do do the same things, they really aren't more expensive. Nor are they really limited, rather with the articulating and oscillating frame, they have some advantages over a CUT.

The questions then are:
Who has used/owned a Ventrac?
What are your experiences if so?
Am I missing anything by leaning towards a Ventrac versus a CUT (btw, Ventrac considers their tractors a CUT)?

Thanks,
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-13-2019, 09:36 AM
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Re: The usual CUT suspects versus a Ventrac

Never used a ventrac, but my buddy is going to pick one up next week for his landscaping business. Serious pieces of lawn and snow equipment, but I'm not sure about acreage maintenance. I hope to get to use is sooner or later.
I grappled with the same basic issue last year, but a ventrac never crossed my mind. For me, it was between a CUT (used, of course... Much cheaper) and a used skid steer. Due to cost and serviceability, the CUT won out, but the skid steer would have been much better for many of the tasks I do, which may be on the list of things you want to do. Have you considered a skidsteer?


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post #3 of 13 Old 10-13-2019, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The usual CUT suspects versus a Ventrac

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Originally Posted by steddy View Post
Never used a ventrac, but my buddy is going to pick one up next week for his landscaping business. Serious pieces of lawn and snow equipment, but I'm not sure about acreage maintenance. I hope to get to use is sooner or later.
I grappled with the same basic issue last year, but a ventrac never crossed my mind. For me, it was between a CUT (used, of course... Much cheaper) and a used skid steer. Due to cost and serviceability, the CUT won out, but the skid steer would have been much better for many of the tasks I do, which may be on the list of things you want to do. Have you considered a skidsteer?
In a money-no-object world, I'd already have a skidsteer with a mulching head. There isn't a lot you can't do better with a skidsteer.

But, since a CUT and a Ventrac similarly equipped cost about the same, therein lies my dilemma. Other than running a backhoe (and the Steiner look-alike has one), I just don't see what I would be missing with a Ventrac.
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-13-2019, 10:12 AM
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Re: The usual CUT suspects versus a Ventrac

Loader capability and capacity. Especially when used with 3rd function for grapple.
Implement cost 6’ brush hog for CUT can be easily had for under $1000.
Ground engagement capability is also much greater with the CUT, but that really doesn’t sound like one of your intents.
A Ventrac, by comparison, is probably the best piece of all-around (established) grounds maintenance machine on the market, and will get through the woods and operate on slopes that a CUT simply won’t. That maneuverability wasn’t critical in my selection. Sounds like it might be important to you, though.

Last edited by steddy; 10-13-2019 at 10:54 AM.
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-13-2019, 10:47 AM
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Re: The usual CUT suspects versus a Ventrac

You may want to try a Ventrac out on that property first. In my opinion, the articulated lawn mower does not have the ground clearance, loader capability, or the grunt pulling power necessary.
What the implements for the Ventrac are going to cost would cover the price of a used skidsteer.
Tiller, loader, brush cutter, mower. What’s the price of those add up to?
Ventrac can label their machine a CUT if they want, it’s a free country. They say that because they run higher hp engines than tractors in the SCUT class.
Sounds like the most helpful tool will be a grapple bucket for the loader. Ventrac doesn’t have those.
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-13-2019, 10:55 AM
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Re: The usual CUT suspects versus a Ventrac

I've used and maintained a fleet of Ventrax in a Golf Course environment mostly. I think that is the most versatile piece of equipment I've used& maintained. Very durable machine. Presently they are set up with rough cut and finish/contour cutting decks. FANTASTIC.... Takes a beating....Keeps on ticking. Implement changeovers are quick and EZ. They offer a dual wheel setup on all 4 corners, making it an 8 wheel drive extreme slope crawler. I've seen it climb a 40* slope. The weakest point of these setups seem to be the PTO belt when using the Rough cut-Brush cutting decks..... a quick simple change out when it shreds. Again, it seems as it only occurs during brush cutting as it's fairly exposed under the front and seems to shred during backing up.... although it could be operator error. The Golf Course is investing in a Winter Kit...... Snow Blower, Blade, Heated Cab, Sander on back. I've heard great things about this arrangement, but have yet to operate it. The sickle bar attachment looks.... Just plain Sick!!!! Again, haven't used one yet. Pricey, but what good piece of equipment isn't. Ventrax has great video's online of their equipment in action. I watch just for the entertainment value. Just check out the Snow Blower video..... In the Pumpkin Patch.
They are EZ to service. They have the 4500's with the Kubota gas engines. Probably my favorite piece off equipment to service and use, along with durability..... and I service many.

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post #7 of 13 Old 10-13-2019, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The usual CUT suspects versus a Ventrac

Oddly, the pricing isn't as different than what you would think.

So to get the Ventrac with the front bush hog, bucket with toothbar and grapple, front end loader, 3PH with hydraulic link, I'm looking at around $45K new. And nope, those soft tires won't pull much, but will float over mud that would send the CUT straight to China.

To get a CUT which will support a front mounted bush hog, I'm in the same neighborhood, as the FEL mounted cutters are hydraulic and need a rear mounted hydraulic pump and sump to get the required 15+ GPM. (and BTW, if you upgrade to a backhoe, the subframe eats a lot of your ground clearance). And with these front mounted cutters, you really need a cab and a boatload of weight).

Best price on a skid steer (up to the task) I could find was a 10 y/o Terex with 4,000 hours and a mulcher head (I'd imagine both need work), was about $42K. Skid steers don't look like they have tons of ground clearance either.

I will look to see if I can rent a Ventrac with their rough cut mower to see if I really like it. It might be hard to find one as rental companies around here shy away from renting "professional" equipment to homeowners.

Very glad to hear the reassurance on the reliability.
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-14-2019, 02:34 AM
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Re: The usual CUT suspects versus a Ventrac

Do you need a front mounted bush hog? Rear mounted ones powered off the PTO should be much cheaper...
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-14-2019, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The usual CUT suspects versus a Ventrac

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Originally Posted by dave_r View Post
Do you need a front mounted bush hog? Rear mounted ones powered off the PTO should be much cheaper...
They would in-fact be a lot cheaper, but this property is totally overgrown and mowing backwards isn't fun.
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-14-2019, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BufordT View Post
They would in-fact be a lot cheaper, but this property is totally overgrown and mowing backwards isn't fun.
I very often brush hog overgrown areas with a rear mount. I run the loader real close to the ground to knock stuff over before tractor passes over it. I go real slow in case of a stump that stops the machine quick.
Front mounted would be nice though.

Last edited by steddy; 10-14-2019 at 07:57 AM.
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post #11 of 13 Old 10-24-2019, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The usual CUT suspects versus a Ventrac

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I very often brush hog overgrown areas with a rear mount. I run the loader real close to the ground to knock stuff over before tractor passes over it. I go real slow in case of a stump that stops the machine quick.
Front mounted would be nice though.
That may well be what I end up doing, but I'm still processing ideas.

I might see about some skid steer training and just rent a track loader with a mulching head. Looks like I could rent the track loader itself for $2k for the whole month - I'd sure a mulching head would add a lot that, but a good operator is going to charge me nearly $2K per day.
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post #12 of 13 Old 10-24-2019, 08:52 PM
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Re: The usual CUT suspects versus a Ventrac

You will need very little training to run that skid steer. They’re incredibly intuitive and easy to use.
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post #13 of 13 Old 10-24-2019, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The usual CUT suspects versus a Ventrac

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You will need very little training to run that skid steer. They’re incredibly intuitive and easy to use.
Hopefully you are correct, however only a fool would hop into a 10,000lb machine he has never operated before, and turn on a 2,500lb attachment, capable of shredding a 12" oak tree in a minute or less, without some professional training.
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