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Starting my search for a SCUT

4205 Views 79 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  MARK (LI)
Just beginning my search into subcompact tractors. I've wanted one for a few years, but struggled to justify the price, as I've been getting by with my old Wheel Horse garden tractor and my Cub Cadet lawn tractor on my property that's a little over an acre. Really, the tractor would have been useful for a couple years now as we've been hit with EAB and have been working on removing the dead ash trees from my property. We started with 86, and have about 20 left to go. We also have added a greenhouse, expanded the garden, and gotten a small flock of chickens.
In the future, we are looking into possibly getting a PTO stump grinder as opposed to paying someone to come grind stumps for us.
We are planning on extending the garden once more, adding more chickens, doing landscaping (redo the paver patio, add a gazebo, fire pit, and maybe a small koi pond), and planting a bunch more fruit trees. Right now, we have pear, apple, and peach.

Things I would like to be able to do:
Move mulch, stone,sand, etc around my property so a loader is important. I'd also like to be able to use the loader to unload or load heavier objects in the back of my truck so I don't always have to ask a neighbor for help.
Add and maintain an in ground garden
Post hole digger for fence posts and probably to use to plant trees. (We will plant probably 30-40 trees)
Move logs/help with firewood processing
Use PTO to grind stumps, 4’ tiller, and maybe a chipper in the future
I will probably use for snow removal as well. I have a 38" walk behind snow blower, soI would probably start with just a bucket.
I'll also pull my utility trailer and splitter around my property.
I probably won't use it to mow as I have a nice lawn tractor and would just assume to put the $3k for a deck towards a zero turn when I'm ready to replace the cub.

I would love a grapple and a backhoe, butI probably won't get those due to expense. I will likely rent a mini excavator when it comes time to dig the koi pond, then use the tractor for everything else. I’m thinking about starting with tractor, loader and ballast (load tires and/or ballast box). I’ll use a post hole digger soon so would probably go with that and forks right away, possibly a tiller, but I may wait until after the stumps are ground before making a larger garden.

I stopped and looked at a 1025R and then went to the Massey dealer and looked at a GC1725M. Both were nice. I felt the JD was more comfortable, but I liked how quickly the MF could move the hydraulics. I haven't really looked closely at specs, but I felt both would probably do what I want. Surprisingly the MF was only $500 less than the JD and the JD dealer is way closer.
I have primarily been looking at the 25HP models to maximize PTO power for implements like stump grinding that I imagine would benefit from as much power as I had.
I was thinking about looking at Kubota and maybe LS or TYM, but those dealers are all farther away. Is there anything I should be looking at or asking about when I'm looking? I just want to make sure I cover my bases.
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Caution - personal opinions below!!!

I think you might be selling yourself short if you don’t at least LOOK at kubota and the aforementioned Kioti, and maybe the LS and TYM, maybe even Mahindra. Those last three brands will be cheaper than the others, and they’re usually great machines especially for the price. But I’m on this forum way more than I should be and have read many stories about chronic issues (major and minor) with all brands of machines. Those stories tend to be from a non-proportional ratio of Mahindra, LS, and TYM. Kioti seems to be a little higher quality than the other 3 (LS, TYM, Mahindra). You might find that the loader lift capacity for JD, Kubota, and Massey is within a few lbs, and the other brands are much higher. I feel those are inflated numbers and that capacity REALLY pushes the limits of the machines, whereas the Big 3 brands are a little more conservative to help preserve the life of the machines and safety of the operator. (Hint - loader lifting capacity can be increased without major upgrades to the machine).

If I were in your shoes, I’d look at all the brands but I’d really only consider Kubota, MF, JD, and maybe Kioti in that order but that’s just me. I’ve played with SCUT and CUT for a lot of years with a few different implements, but never a stump grinder. IMHO a stump grinder is only good for grinding stumps. A backhoe on a SCUT is a lot of power in a really small package and won’t have any trouble digging out even a medium to good sized ash stump since the roots just tend to rot. The backhoe will also do A LOT of other things, especially when equipped with a thumb, although the choice to rent the mini ex to dig the pond would likely be a wise one (I’ve run one and would take it over a backhoe any day except $$$).

Also if you ever deem your projects complete, a SCUT with loader and backhoe or even just a factory backhoe setup for a common machine (think Kubota and Deere in particular) is incredibly easy to sell. Not sure about the stump grinder. Someone looking for a used factory backhoe might not be picky about having the exact swivel seat or the exact roll bar or the other things a TLB is factory equipped with.

Controversially, I’m also a big advocate of the rear mounted snowblower. Cheap, simple, universal, easy to install, and you don’t need to choose between a front end loader or a snowblower… you can run both simultaneously. Also with the front mounted, you’re pretty limited to like one or two models the factory offers for your model tractor. You can easily run a 60” blower, but I think the largest unit the factory offers for front mounted is 54”… and prepare to pay several thousand for it. You can find a good used 60” rear mount for under $1k usually. But I don’t mind turning around to operate the tractor.

Again just my humble opinion but to summarize, I’d be after the TLB from one of the big 3.
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I forgot to mention as a bunch of others already hinted- whatever you buy, make sure it has skid steer quick attach on the business end of the loader, and quick attach for the loader frame itself. Make sure the control valve stays with the tractor when the loader is removed. I think that’s pretty standard across the board for new machines now, but on some of the early quick attach loaders the valve stayed with the loader, rendering it inconvenient to install a plow or front snowblower on the tractor without a second control valve setup. Super easy to find buckets, forks, grapples, plows, and a myriad of other attachments. You won’t appreciate it unless you don’t have it, especially if you frequently switch between bucket, forks, plow, and/or grapple.

I don’t have it on my machine and it’s somewhat cost prohibitive for me to convert at this time… about $1800 to buy the loader side SSQA bracket and covert my bucket to SSQA.

A couple weeks ago I bought a random Kubota factory loader setup for cheap partially due to the off chance I might be able to use the SSQA bracket it came with. Sadly it’s way undersized for my loader.
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The cub cadet branded SCUTs were pretty rare, just not many out there. Big reason they’re not well supported- not financially viable for the company or dealerships. The true Yanmar stuff is more common so the odds of long term support are a lot better.

There are A LOT of 20+ year old machines of pretty much all brands out there with a lot of hours on them that haven’t required much more than generic oil/fuel filters and mostly generic fluids.. basic maintenance stuff. It’s fairly rare to have lack of parts availability completely cripple a machine, but it does happen. Your odds are pretty good going with any brand, especially one that has a lot of product history, that you won’t have a major breakdown within your 20 year target, even mixing in a little abuse. Your odds are even better that lack of parts availability won’t permanently cripple your machine when something does break. Sure, maybe you’ll break a headlight or something that was discontinued and doesn’t exist on the used market. Just install an aftermarket light bar. Break an unobtanium hood latch on your 25 year old machine? Bungee cord will do just fine! if you break your transmission case or engine block that’s no longer in production and can’t be found used, well, now you might have a problem.

Yanmar isn’t nearly as common in North America as it is overseas. Lots of imported parts will likely always be available.

As far as lift capacity, I’ve always taken them with a grain of salt. Kubota and Massey I know for a fact are under rated based on personal experience. Couple examples- my L4610 is rated to tow maybe 6000-8000 lb. I’ve exceeded 30,000 lb on multiple occasions. Attached photo is my L4610 pulling a dump trailer (3000 lb) with conservatively 8 yards (27 scoops with a 1/3 yard bucket on an excavator) of soaking wet fill sand (3200-3500 lb/yard). I also had close to .75 yards of that same wet sand in the bucket on other trips with a full trailer. The trailer was far too heavy to self dump - I had to scoop out a bunch of sand as well as help it dump using the loader. And I did break the trailer(destroyed a rim and the studs) due to overloading. A Kubota L2900 is rated at maybe 5,000 lb towing capacity. I’ve exceeded 12,000 lb hundreds of times. By the way - those examples were with the 3pt hitch, not the fixed draw bar. They will lift a lot more with the 3pt than they claim in their literature. Safely? I dunno… but they will do it. I’m pretty sure the loader on my Kubota L4610 that’s rated at 852 kg will pick up more than 1000 kg (2200 lb, 24” ahead of the pins). Based on how easily it picks up .75 yards of VERY wet sand. I’ve also picked up and moved a 7’ wide 3pt twin auger 2 stage snowblower that weighs well over 1,000 lb. On a 400+ lb industrial lifting table. On a heavy duty 50 lb pallet. Using a 60 lb pair of forks. Clamped onto the cutting edge of the bucket. Center of gravity farther than 3’ ahead of the pins. Yes- my bucket is bent now, and I had to straighten and reinforce the forks. I often wonder whether or not some manufacturers include the weight of the bucket in their calculations…

Park a Mahindra and similar sized Massey or Kubota next to each other. Dimensionally they’re pretty close. Front axle housings, curb weights, loader arm dimensions, and cylinders are pretty close. How can the Mahindra be “rated” to lift so much more than the Massey or Kubota? It’s several hundred pounds from what I can recall off the top of my head. I honestly don’t know those answers but can only speculate my “rated without a bucket theory,” higher hydraulic pressure (either of which I suppose could be verified), or just a lower factor of safety being advertised because that’s how Mahindra or (other brand) handles their business. With The “big 3” Kubota, Deere, and Massey - which are pretty much legendary for dependability- similar models are spec’d really close to each other.


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I just re-read your original post. For as much 3pt work you’ll be doing (and apologies if it’s been mentioned already and I missed it), you might want to ensure your machine has position control on the 3pt. It’s been awhile since I’ve been SCUT shopping, but I’m not sure if too many SCUTs are equipped with it. It allows for much more user friendly 3pt operation. Usually it’s a feature reserved for the next step up, which truth be known don’t have a much larger footprint than the 1025r, BX, or GC size machines, such as the Kubota B series.
The knob is a “drop rate” adjustment. It only controls how fast the 3pt lowers, which is very handy for heavy implements. Common on most machines. I refer to “position control” as a control lever that relates directly to the height of the 3pt. All the way forward is all the way down, all the way back is all the way up, and anywhere in between. The height of the 3pt corresponds to where the lever is put. There’s usually a little set screw that can be easily adjusted to the minimum or maximum height you want to stop it at. Most SCUTs I’ve operated employ a momentary hydraulic valve. Push forward to lower, pull back to raise, return to center when the 3pt gets to the desired height. Good to hear that more SCUTs may offer position control! It was a feature I wished my Massey GC2300 had. That and a glow plug indicator light. And a tachometer.

The adjustable length for the lower arms I think is called “telescoping lower links.” For SCUT, most of the implements can be slid a couple inches one way or another because they tend to be pretty light weight compared to full size implements. Might come in handy for a brush hog that’s a bit heavy, though. Maybe available as aftermarket upgrades to many machines.

The added lever to raise/lower the 3pt IMHO is an unnecessary feature on a SCUT. Due to the small machine size, it’s easy to reach the control lever next to the seat from behind the tractor, or even lift the lower arms by hand. On a larger or cab equipped models, this would be an indispensable feature.

Quick hitches are great for those of us that change implements on a regular basis. I cycle through different implements that have different 3pt pin spacing so I don’t think it would be very practical for me, plus I use some drawbar implements that might require removal of the quick hitch for clearance during tight turns.

Features I wish my tractor had: universal skid steer quick attach, 3rd function loader valve (for a grapple or 4 way bucket), and rear hydraulic remotes. They can be added of course, but they’re really expensive. I wish I would have looked for a tractor that had those features from the factory (or previous owner added), or put them on 5 years ago when it was like half the price they are now! Oh yeah… and maybe a heated cab with AC.
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I have another update. I drove by three dealers today. The first, I had spoken with a salesperson a couple weeks ago, but he was not in and when I arrived they did not have anyone in sales available. I went out and sat on the tractors anyway. I sat on a New Holland Workmaster 25, the small one, and then a Kioti CS2510 and CS2520. Someone did come back and I was able to test the CS2510 and CS2520. I quite liked the CS2520, it was just a more comfortable tractor and the lift capacity was noticeably better (I played around in a snow bank). Unfortunately, the sales person bad mouthed other brands and dealers, and the sales rep I had already spoken to and liked. He also told me I was wrong when I asked about the CS2510 having lower lift capacity despite the loader having 2 curl cylinders when I thought the old ones only had one like the Kubota BX series. I said maybe I was mistaken and let it rest. This guy did give me a "lower" price, but he wouldn't put it down on a quote and just wrote it on the back of his card. Shady car salesperson tactics...

Next dealer just had big ag equipment so I didn't even go in. I didn't have time to call ahead so no big deal.

3rd dealer sold Kubota and Bobcat. Honestly, this was the best dealer so far. It's a small mom and pop place, and there was just one guy there manning both sales and parts as they were short as a couple guys were out. He was attentive and took time to ask me questions and answer my questions. He recommended a B or L series instead of the BX, which was a concern of mine due to the low lift capacity and plan to get a grapple. I played around on a B2601 and got a quote. We then got to talking about what I do for work and they asked quite a few questions so we just stood around and talked about mental health for some time. I had initially gone just to "rule out" Kubota, but now I think out of all the dealers and tractors I've looked at I'm going to get either a Yanmar SA325 or Kubota B2601. Just need to think about if the added cost of the Kubota is worth it. It did put me about $2k over the budget I had in mind.
You might like that 2601. I just sold mine about 2 weeks ago. The 3 range transmission is a great benefit. The biggest thing for me, though, was the bigger tires and more ground clearance. Wasn’t all that much bigger than my Massey GC2300, really, and a more capable machine to boot.
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Conversely, I use medium and high ranges much more than low.

Snowblowing, brush hogging, and most loader work is in medium, moving the tractor around just to get it out of the way, pull around to the back side of the barn to grab another implement, etc - all in medium range. It’s rare to get down and dirty in low range for anything, really… maybe pushing on trees and actually digging down with the loader. In low, the tires on my L4610, and my former B2601, spin and dig down long before the engine starts to lug down. Of course, high range used on flat ground when not towing anything, and moving relatively long distances on smooth levelish terrain.
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