Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Compact tractor  (Read 4480 times)


  • Joined Aug 2016
Compact tractor
« on: September 09, 2016, 10:05:01 pm »
Hello, complete newbie to tractors.
Appreciate advice on choosing and pricing up a compact mini tractor to work our 13 acres smallholding. 4.5 acre woodland and 8.5 acre semi improved pasture. It would need to run from diesel which could be converted to veggie oil. Moneys tight and we need a reliable machine.

More specifically looking to:
1) mow alleys in a newly planted 2 acre orchard and other meadows, at same time collect grass for bio mass compost.
2) Empty grass into drive in composting bays.
3) Dig and move compost occasionally.
4) Pull out sawn logs from woodland.
5) Shred cuttings and chopped wood for woodchip / compost

Any specific make / model to look at?
What accessories would I need to purchase?
Am I best buying budget new machine or good quality second hand?

Thank you!

« Last Edit: September 10, 2016, 11:18:05 am by Taliesin »


  • Joined Jun 2016
Re: Compact tractor
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2016, 07:30:58 pm »
I recently met a guy on a pig keeping course who had just started out and had invested in a new John Deer compact. I challenged him on whether this was an extravagant option but he claimed he had done a lot of research and come to the following conclusion.

He had bought the machine outright (no finance) and the deal came with 2 years warrenty parts and servicing included. After 2 years he would part ex it for another new machine.

He reckoned the difference when offset against the cost of servicing and the risk of minor ongoing maintenance requiring the odd part was not that great, even less if you factored in new tyres every few years.

He was not claiming to save money over an older second hand machine just that he got piece of mind and a new machine every two years for not much more. His further argument was he only needed one expensive repair on an older bit of kit for it to break even - given he was not confident in assessing a second hand machine or doing his own services he felt it was a good option for him.

Certainly made me think about dropping into a dealership and looking at the figures myself.

Might be worth considering if you have enough cash to do this route!


  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Compact tractor
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2016, 09:34:13 pm »
I cannot see how that can be cost effective for a small farm or small holding.
We bought a 40 year old Zetor for 1500 last year, with a loader. We've spent another 750-1000 on oil, ram seals, batteries, battery cables and hoses and other parts (including a modern euro8 headstock), But it's ticking over nicely now month to month.
It's a 68Hp machine that will lift 1/1.6ton (front/back).


  • Joined Jun 2016
Re: Compact tractor
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2016, 11:37:26 pm »
I don't think he was claiming it was cost effective just that on balence it was the best option for him.

Guess it also depends on how much you lose on the part ex and that you have that sort of start up cash available to avoid finance.

He very definitely didn't have the skills and knowledge you clearly do and that's a big factor.

If he added the labour costs to what you can do yourself let's say it costs him on average a grand a year over time for an old machine. If he loses 3 grand on part ex it has cost him 500 a year to drive around a shiny new bit of kit.

Then factor in that if something goes wrong you might be able to sort it in a couple of hours - he will spend time getting the problem diagnosed then more getting it sorted which could mean several more days a year of the machine being out of action and him not working/being productive, as opposed to a quick call to the dealer. Suddenly that 500 extra/year becomes less.

Time is quite important when you are setting up and I think he just felt as he didn't have the mechanical skills (or the confidence to assess a second hand machine) that removing that risk was worth the little extra cash. I suspect also he could lose the VAT in his business that he was still planning to keep an interest in a couple of days a week!

Never going to be the cheapest way and the figures are all supposition on my part, but it interested me and I guess could work for some people.


  • Joined Jun 2016
  • Blairgowrie
Re: Compact tractor
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2016, 08:47:21 am »
related to this thread:

I am in India and the price of a brand new New Holland 40hp tractor is 6000 pounds - list price before haggling.

I get shipping free with my personal belongings when I return in April and as I do not need to road register it and I have owned it for 6 months, I think import duty is nil.

No idea of prices in the UK only that used tractors seem expensive to me.

Most spares should be quite standard?? (but I could bring a clutch and exhaust) and anyway I can get anything I need shipped from India.

Is this a worthwhile deal?

By the way, New Holland are the most highly rated tractors in India and they have all the international and local competition to contend with.

1500 pounds gets you a second hand tractor with lots of equipment/attachments - also under consideration.


  • Joined Feb 2014
Re: Compact tractor
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2016, 10:17:56 am »
Getting back to the original post...

Is it really a small tractor you need or would a larger ride on mower work for you?  especially as collecting the grass and shredding cuttings is mentioned a few times.  I'm happy to be corrected but if you want a tractor attachment that will both cut the grass and lift the cuttings...that could be an expensive piece of kit.  And then you need a tractor powerful enough to use it.

Would another alternative be - dont buy anything and get someone in periodically to do the work?  Not as much fun as you dont have a new toy to play with but it would be cheaper in the short term.

When I first got my smallholding I bought a small second/third hand Kubota (24Hp) which has been pretty bullet proof.  The only problems I've had have been of my own making due to ignorance and/or lack of mechanical knowledge.  It came with a topper and a flail mower which have been great but they wont lift the grass. 

I would also have suggested getting in some four legged woolly mowers, the initial purchase costs wont be as high, service costs are typically a lot lower and best of all they wont leave any cuttings behind.  The catch is   it can be a real pain trying to empty into the compost bins  :roflanim:

If you still think buying something is the way to go, it might be worth speaking to someone in the local councils park maintenace dept, landscaping companies to see what they do with old stock or if they know of anyone that might be selling up.



  • Joined Oct 2016
Re: Compact tractor
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2016, 11:03:04 am »
I have a ride on mower that mulches the grass so you do not need to collect the cuttings.  It has a tow bar on the back which I pull a trailer with and also a boom sprayer for killing weeds and fertilising my land, and driving around with trailer picking up horse poo.


  • Joined Aug 2016
Re: Compact tractor
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2016, 09:37:06 pm »
How much land do you have to mow Heidi, and will the mower cut long grass? :)


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