Agri Vehicles Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: To buy a tractor or not.  (Read 6671 times)


  • Joined Nov 2011
  • Methlick, Aberdeenshire
To buy a tractor or not.
« on: April 29, 2012, 11:53:55 pm »
I need some advice about compact tractors. 

Just before Christmas we brought a 3.5 acre smallholding in NE Scotland.  Both the house and land in poor condition, house not lived in for a while, land has been abandoned for about 10 years with wild raspberry, willow herb, nettles, and ground elder, plus granite rocks and other debris.  We have a half acre paddock at the front in good condition with grass that will need cutting soon.  We have a few chickens and collected two Tamworth weaners last week that are presently clearing a small patch f ground at the back.

My wife understandably says no more animals until more of the house is done (I do get distracted as soon as I go outside). 

But grass at the front needs cutting to keep it in good shape, do I buy myself a sit on lawn mower, or spend a little more in a second hand compact tractor and topper?  Will the extra expense pay for itself with the extra use I can put the tractor too?  I donít have any experience with a smallholding of this size, previously I had just a very large garden with veg and poultry.

My eventual plan is to keep a few lambs and pig weaners each year, together with chickens, ducks and a large vegetable plot.  And of course to finish the house.

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: To buy a tractor or not.
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 08:54:27 am »
cast all  thoughts of a tractor aside just now and get a sit on lawn mower :farmer:


  • Joined Jun 2011
  • Banchory
Re: To buy a tractor or not.
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 01:58:21 pm »
Also in NE Scotland, not that it makes a difference I guess? We inherited a compact tractor when we bought our property and I would say it really depends on what you want to do long term. What I would say is having the right equipment for the job (if funds allow) makes a lot of the work much more enjoyable (personally speaking). We found the compact tractor so useful we have upgraded to a larger one. We have rear forks for it, a post hole borer (as we had loads of fencing to replace and 1000's of trees to plant) a topper, a round bale spike, a chain harrow and a front loader. For us it has certainly made a lot of work much easier.  :farmer:


  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: To buy a tractor or not.
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 02:20:24 pm »
If you have plans for the neglected land, buy a tractor.

If you are just planning to leave that and you just want something for the half acre, buy a rideon lawnmower.


  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: To buy a tractor or not.
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2012, 08:37:20 pm »
We've sold our 11HP ride on mower. Now cut half an acre with a self propelled 4HP. Does it in the same time but uses a quarter of the fuel. Problem with ride-ons is the grass collection. We had a brush type collector, the suction types don't work if the grass is wet. But it doesn't compact it much, so you are forever driving over to the compost heap to dump it. With the push/self propelled we just empty the basket into a wheel barrow and when full push that to the heap.

I'd get a self propelled unit and put the money you have saved into a 'tractor fund'.


  • Joined May 2010
  • nr Lauder, Scottish Borders
Re: To buy a tractor or not.
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2012, 08:47:00 pm »
From experience my OH would agree with chrismahon above, the emptying is a pain and he wrecked it quite regularly - it always seemed to need to go in for something and just couldn't cope although we bought it new.  He now has a big industrial mower called a Great Dane which is cheaper but better (seemingly) than a Scag which he bought on ebay (a walk behind) which is great.  He does however, like the sound of uppermillfarm's tackle.  ::)
registered soay, castlemilk moorit  and north ronaldsay sheep, pygmy goats, steinbacher geese, muscovy ducks, various hens, lots of visiting mallards, a naughty border collie, a puss and a couple of guinea pigs

Small Farmer

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • Bedfordshire
Re: To buy a tractor or not.
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2012, 12:05:03 am »
Ride-on mowers are mostly designed for lawns.  They can cut close and tidy or to a maximum height of perhaps 4".  Ground clearance is necessarily limited and mowers can rarely do other tasks, though some can tow a trailer.  A good grass collector is bulky, expensive and prone to blocking if the grass is wet.

A compact tractor will have flexibility, not least hydraulics, but even a finishing mower won't get as good a result, while toppers can leave tramlines of cut grass.  Those hydraulics will allow for a lot of toys to be used for other things.

I have a 17hp mower with a 54" deck and it is surprisingly good on level pasture.  But grass tyres are useless on wet grass on even a slight hill, and can't deal with rabbit holes.  Nettles of any scale require at least two passes, not though lack of power though.  It will struggle with stuff that a grey Fergie with a topper will attack with ease.

So it largely depends on your plans.  Golf course or pasture.

Being certain just means you haven't got all the facts


  • Joined Sep 2010
Re: To buy a tractor or not.
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2012, 01:54:55 pm »
It depends on what you can afford.

My choice would be a small tractor but by the time you've bought all the kit for the back you will have spent a pretty penny.

Some mowers allow for a small trailer, so you can move stuff about, but they will never be more than that.

In my opinion a tractor will hold it's value better, and you can buy the additional kit you might need in the future (eg, trailer, sprayer) as and when you need it.

Or buy a secondhand quad bike, and again, buy the kit for the rear as and when.



  • Joined Mar 2012
  • Mintlaw
Re: To buy a tractor or not.
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2012, 07:23:01 am »
The thing with a tractor is you can use it for so many jobs.
Once you have it you will be surprised how much it can do for you.

Of course you need to get a topper and maybe a transport box if you can, but when I started
neighbours leant me a fergy plough, ridgers etc, even a tatty planter.

Small Farmer

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • Bedfordshire
Re: To buy a tractor or not.
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2012, 05:45:31 pm »
Depends if you need an excuse to go outside: much more potential with a tractor for fettling, getting extra implements etc.
Being certain just means you haven't got all the facts


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