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Discussion Starter #1
So the situation is a property that is just under 2 acres, however it's only about 1-1.25 mowed. I have trees and flower beds to mow around with hills in the yard. We are located in the Grand Rapids, Mi area so only 6ish months of mowing then leaf cleanup and then snow removal. I have a Ford 860 with back blade and I am going to make a front mount snowblower for it so I'll probably use that for snow but I wouldn't mind having the capability to run a snowblower. Some additional considerations are I travel for work so the Misses and kids need to be able to run it so less complicated is better, Hydrostat only for the same reason, reliability is a plus, and I am also balancing 2wd vs 4wd/awd cost.

I haven't firmed up a budget yet but for sure nothing over 10k. I kind of thinking 2-4k but I wouldn't turn down something less expensive that I could fix up.
So for Brands I have no particular loyalty and what I'm thinking of runs the spectrum from a X530/540 to a Massey GC1705/1723. I'll include a short list but I'm open to suggestions.
JD
4X0 Series
4X5 series
X530/540
X4X5 Series
X7XX Series maybe

Massey Ferguson
GC1705
GC1723

Simiplicity
I'm not sure their model lines so feel free to fill me in. Anything that fits a heavier built garden tractor definition.

Wheelhorse
520H-I'm no sure how this would cope with the hills.






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X530/540/580/590- all are relatively new and reliable, PS easy for wife to use- all can be had inside your budget
XT3- same as above
X7xx maybe but going to be hard to get everything you want in your budget-- I mean you can do it with a older high hour machine, but with you gone and ease of use for wife I'd stay away from older 700 series and 4xx series
 

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X530/540/580/590- all are relatively new and reliable, PS easy for wife to use- all can be had inside your budget
XT3- same as above
X7xx maybe but going to be hard to get everything you want in your budget-- I mean you can do it with a older high hour machine, but with you gone and ease of use for wife I'd stay away from older 700 series and 4xx series
I live in Lowell, MI..so we're neighbors... I have had an X530 for about 9yrs. I have 3.5 acres and cut about 2 1/4. Driveway is 650ft and an 80x50 pad by the house...so I plow a lot. The X530 with 48" blade does it in about 2 1/2hrs for a 5-6" snowfall. Any X500 series tractor will be good. They handle hills well and have power steering and cruise control. Very reliable. Mine is coming up on 1100hrs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I live in Lowell, MI..so we're neighbors... I have had an X530 for about 9yrs. I have 3.5 acres and cut about 2 1/4. Driveway is 650ft and an 80x50 pad by the house...so I plow a lot. The X530 with 48" blade does it in about 2 1/2hrs for a 5-6" snowfall. Any X500 series tractor will be good. They handle hills well and have power steering and cruise control. Very reliable. Mine is coming up on 1100hrs.
sschesser what deck are you running on the X530? I know they could come with the 54" deck and that's about as small as I'd want to go. We as a family like cutting grass but don't like to spend hours on the mower unnecessarily. We are in Alto so your really just down the road from me.
 

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I would suggest a zero turn if it's task is mowing, perhaps with a bagging attachment for leaf cleanup.
 

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What have you been using to mow it?

I have just under 2 acres plus another .75 acres next door at my mother-in-law's which I and my wife maintain, and it is all hilly, with a couple of spots steeper than anything in your picture, even that short steep part in the right rear of your picture.

We have an X500 and an X530, both with 54" decks, so my wife and I both mow at the same time to cut down on time and both tractors handle all of the hills just fine. There's almost 300 feet of driveway between the two properties and I have a 48" snow plow for the X500 which I use for anything under 6" of snow, and then I have a Kubota BX25D TLB for heavy landscaping projects and a snow blower for the Kubota which I use for any snowfalls deeper than 6".

So I think that a X530 or X540 will do fine for your needs, and you can probably find a used one in pretty good shape for the 4k end of yur 2k-4k range.
 

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sschesser what deck are you running on the X530? I know they could come with the 54" deck and that's about as small as I'd want to go. We as a family like cutting grass but don't like to spend hours on the mower unnecessarily. We are in Alto so your really just down the road from me.
I have a 54 inch deck. If we want to get done quickly, we use my wife's 50 inch toro zero turn in tandem with the JD. I also have a ProMow 7 gang finish mower that really cuts the time down(10ft cut). BUT the grass needs to not have grown much to use it. 1-1 1/2 " or less. Great for late summer.
I didn't use the deck at all last summer. I broke the PTO bolt for a second time in 3 yrs (a not uncommon occurrence on lots of different models of JD).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
What have you been using to mow it?
Nothing yet, We closed on the house in November and I paid a guy $50 to run over the yard once to knock it down and mulch a few leave since the sellers neglected the last mowing/leaf cleanup before they moved out.:rolleyes:

I currently have a 90's Lawn-Boy Gold series and a Hitachi String trimmer for actual yard equipment. The previous owner had a JD D or L series which I didn't want anything to do with. I had thought about buying a finish mower for the 860 but its got ag tires and I think using it for regular mowing would tear up the yard. Its also manual steering/Trans so that increases the driving difficulty over what I want the wife dealing with.
 

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I'm a big Simplicity fan. A Prestige will handle everything you ask of it and more. The Legacy is out of your price range and just about a commercial machine.....almost. The biggest perk with Simplicity is the quality of cut, it's hands down the best on the market.

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Maybe consider the Cub Cadet XT3 GSX. I've owned one for 2 years and I live on top of a hill with a 180 foot stone driveway with a 10-11% grade. The engine is 25HP horiziontal shaft drive to a cast iron tranny with a BDU hydro drive. I've hulled numerous load of stone (14 ton in total) up and down the driveway with my cub hauler cart (full loads), used a brinly box scraper frequently all without a hiccup. Another great feature is the differential lock; comes in handy and I use it often on my driveway. The tractor also has wheel weights, front weights and tire chains. My mower deck is the 48 fabricated model. Next month or two, I'm going to try out my new plow. In short, it's a pretty rugged tractor for the price point and it offers what I need....a durable drivetrain without too many bells and whistles that I don't need like blue tooth for my phone. The attached photos: an early box scraping photo before I got the wheel weights, they really helped out getting a better bite, pulling a plow/drag/cultivator type device, pulling a tire up the driveway, and the business end of the tractor...cast iron tranny. I'm not affaid to use the tractor, but not abuse it.
IMG_9489.JPG
Hope this helps you with your decision.
Photo May 27, 11 07 54 AM.jpg
 

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wel just a little something to add, you said you travel for work. do you not travel when it snows? the reason i ask is because does your wife or kids know how to run the 860? is your wife going to be plowing the snow? i see you're not too far off from one of the lakes. how much snow does that area get?

what dealers do you have in the area? if you break something, i don't want to have to run 3hrs to the dealer for a part

the price of the massey 1723 bare bones with no attachments at all is 11k.
i would say if not 4wd, at least something with a locking diff.
What about a used sub compact? in our area 10k will get you a low hour 4wd used compact of all colors with usually a loader, deck and a blade. i prefer a blade over a loader for snow removal, you can't angle a bucket, so you have to make lots of passes for clean up. even if you don't use the loader put it in the back of the building, i wouldn't own a (sub) compact without one but not everyone is not me.

JD gx335/345's with low hours and locking diffs are around 3k with a mix of attachments. my 345 has a plow, snowblower and 54" deck and has a nice cut. attachments are everywhere and cheap, and maintenance is easy. my wife likes my 345 btw.

you are going to be getting alot of different answers for these type of questions, but in my opinion it's what works best for you and your family and gets you the best bang for your money. if you don't spend all of your budget consider this setup also. why not say a blade capable gt with a big deck and a nice size zero turn. then you can mow grass with your wife and really cut down on time.
 

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If you were adding buildings, then a 10XXE/R or 20XXE/R with backhoe/bucket/MMM/ blower/plow for the FEL. But you have a Ford with back blade. JD has removed getting a FEL on the X7 series in the last few years, I guess I'd lean toward maybe a zero turn for half the mowing duty and high end x5 or low end x7 series with the attachments for work around the property and snow duty.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
One thing I should have added to the original post was that I don't want to have more than one mower/tractor besides the 860. Right now I don't really have much storage space. I could go on a long rant but I'll save it for now.

On the FEL side I'm keeping an eye out for a one armed bandit for the 860 since it would be more capable than a GT FEL and I should be able to pick one up fairly inexpensively at some point.

Snow : I picked up an older 1 owner Toro CCR2450 for $50 that I cleaned the carb on and put into service. My wife loves using that. 1st pull starter light and handy. Though my 12yr old is supposed to handle snow removal so my wife shouldn't really have to be out messing with it. The remainder of this winter my plan is slog through with the 2450 or call the guy that does my neighborhood and have him do it if we got a big dump. Next year my thought is to get my son running the 860 for the driveway and mount a snowblower on the front since I'm not a fan of plowing.

Back to Garden tractors I've been on the fence about buying a Scut new on financing vs buying something out right with cash. I haven't made my mind up yet. I guess I really don't want to be on payments but if the right tractor came along I might pull the trigger. A few things have come up that I'm watching but nothing that has got me wanting to pull the trigger on yet.
 
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